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Self-control techniques, or, how not to lose your **** in traffic?

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Self-control techniques, or, how not to lose your **** in traffic?

Old 04-12-14, 01:44 PM
  #1  
brianinc-ville
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Self-control techniques, or, how not to lose your **** in traffic?

Hey. I'm a grown man, usually pretty much in control of my emotions, but when a car driver harasses me in traffic, I find that something just snaps and in a split second it I'm riding after them at top speed, ready to knock on their window and start a confrontation. This tactic never helps anything, and I have a feeling that one of these days it'll get me shot. People have guns around here. I'd like to stop doing that kind of thing, but it happens so fast. All the usual yoga-breathing relaxation techniques don't seem to work on that hair-trigger adrenaline response.

Anybody have experience with impulse-modification techniques that might work?
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Old 04-12-14, 02:11 PM
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Open carry ?
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Old 04-12-14, 03:04 PM
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OP, I was that way years ago. I used to chase after drivers' with absolute rage to get even for what the cops would probably ignore. They still ignore it. But, My response is, my road position.

Sure I get the close pass. But I 'take the lane'. So if I get a close pass, I have the room to move, instead of being shoved into the curb.

So, I am still within the traffic code.

Last edited by Chris516; 04-12-14 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 04-12-14, 04:06 PM
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I guess I'm lucky. I usually manage to find the humor in the situation. I'm also more than a little arrogant, so I pity them for their poor behavior.

I have ridden after motorists to chat them up about what they just did, but I usually do it in a friendly way and it has always ended well with each of us at least seeing a little bit of the other's perspective. My goal is not to win the argument, just to put a friendly human face on what they are likely seeing as some "other" creature on a bike. Human nature does the rest. Even the truck driver who came at me with a crow bar many years ago ended up apologizing for his actions. (No, he didn't take a swing.) He wasn't really mad at me, but since I was the only cyclist among the hordes of cars and he was frustrated at being stuck in traffic after a long night, he went after the "other".
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Old 04-12-14, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
Anybody have experience with impulse-modification techniques that might work?
I think it is just a need for a change of point of view really. This is what worked for me anyway:

Instead of blaming the ignorant, dozing, aggressive, hostile, (whatever) motorist I just blame myself. No one is making me ride a bicycle in a motor vehicle world. It is MY choice to be swimming with sharks. The instant I throw my leg over the top tube ALL of the responsibility for my safety and happiness falls on ME. So when a motorist almost kills me with ignorance I don't get angry at them - i KNEW there were ignorant, stupid motorists out there when I made the choice to go play with my toy in the road where they live. So it is MY fault and MY responsibility to either make a different transportation mode choice or just learn to live my bicycle life near wild animals. Yes, one day I might be killed by one of them. MY fault. I could take a bus, taxi, or a Humvee and perhaps be safer. My choice...my fault.

So as soon as I realized that the only thing I can easily change is ME - and I am solely responsible for all of my risky behaviors and decisions - I stopped getting mad at THEM.

Try it.

I also have no remorse for tilting the field of battle in my favor by selectively obeying/breaking traffic laws that help to make me safer in my opinion. Whatever it takes to survive. If I were obeying the traffic code to the letter and almost getting killed because of it I could see getting even more angry and rageful due to EXPECTATIONS of being treated fairly, lawfully...as an equal. I have no such expectations. Only if you have expectations can you be disappointed.

Last edited by JoeyBike; 04-12-14 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 04-12-14, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I also have no remorse for tilting the field of battle in my favor by selectively obeying/breaking traffic laws that help to make me safer in my opinion. Whatever it takes to survive. If I were obeying the traffic code to the letter and almost getting killed because of it I could see getting even more angry and rageful due to EXPECTATIONS of being treated fairly, lawfully...as an equal. I have no such expectations. Only if you have expectations can you be disappointed.
Ok, Having the expectations can lead to disappointment. But at the same time. I won't settle for the status qou of, motorists' killing cyclists' voluntarily, or involuntarily. Resulting in the most meager of judgments, when compared to if they had been driving a motor vehicle.

In some of the same 'behaviors', of Caucausians during the race riots' of the 1950's/1960's, cyclists' are treated the same.

1. Motorists' yell at cyclists' to get off 'their' road
2. Motorists' yell at cyclists' to get off the road
3. Motorists' yell at cyclists' to get the **** off the road
4. Motorists' yell at cyclists' for slowing up traffic, when they don't do the same to another motorist in the same situation
5. Motorists' yell at cyclists' in an attempt to get them to crash
6. Motorists' honk at cyclists' in attempt to get them to crash
7. Motorists' feel entitled to 'be first'. Because of being bigger, heavier, and faster
9. Despite what it says in the traffic code, authorities further engender the discrimination, by minimalizing the penalties for motorists. Because the motorist did not injure/kill another motorist.

I know that not every motorist does the stuff mentioned above. But when you get hit multiple times, regardless intentional or not. You begin to not like the discrimination(and yes it is discrimination).

So, I have a right, to have an expectation.
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Old 04-12-14, 07:25 PM
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I think this is one the benefits of a minimum passing law. It gives you something very clear to "discuss" with someone after they buzz you.
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Old 04-12-14, 08:36 PM
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Smile and wave.



Last edited by Machka; 04-12-14 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 04-12-14, 09:21 PM
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A homeless guy came in the co-op the other day, and his nose was at about a 45 degree angle to the side. After warming up to us while we helped him fix a couple flats, conversation came around to biking in traffic and he said he'd had eight concussions. I asked him how that happened, thinking it had been collisions, and he said 'fighting'.

Don't be that guy, he can't get a job.

Borrowing from the airplane quote: "Any interaction with a car that I can walk away from is a good interaction."
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Old 04-12-14, 09:46 PM
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And if by "harassing" you mean "shouting something from a moving car" ... 9 times out of 10 we (cyclists) can't hear what they're saying anyway. It's actually really funny ... there they are with their heads hanging out of the window and jaws flapping like some large dog blowing in the wind ... and we're cycling along laughing.
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Old 04-12-14, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
Hey. I'm a grown man, usually pretty much in control of my emotions, but............ I'd like to stop doing that kind of thing, but it happens so fast. All the usual yoga-breathing relaxation techniques don't seem to work on that hair-trigger adrenaline response.
Anybody have experience with impulse-modification techniques that might work?
I sure do have a suggestion. First..... learn what your dealing with... and call it by the right name. I am a big believer that the first step in solving a problem is defining the problem. Hair-trigger adrenaline response and impulse-modification techniques?!?!?!? I've never heard of such things.

What you are experiencing is the good old-fashion (old as mankind) fight or flight response. Traffic is scaring the bejeebers out of you at times... and the minds natural defense is the fight or flight response. In your case... you want to fight. Once you've caught on as to what is happening with your mind/body you should be able to accept that the base emotion there is fear.

Deal with your fear.... face your fear... and the anger (fight or flight response) goes away. Accept that it isn't the traffic.... it isn't the car.... it isn't the motorist. The outside influences you blame are all in your mind. The fear/anger is all you. Take a deep breath and forgive yourself your fears.... and keep pedaling.

OK... if you are drinking and/or drugging heavily, heavily medicated, or living with otherwise extremely stressful situations you may need a doctors assistance.


Last edited by Dave Cutter; 04-12-14 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 04-12-14, 10:43 PM
  #12  
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For me, it's one word....cameras. Ever since I installed cameras on my bike, it's had a calming effect on me, since aggressive motorists seldom now can use their vehicle's faster speed to get away with their dangerous driving actions, and I have more info to give to law enforcement.
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Old 04-13-14, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I think it is just a need for a change of point of view really. This is what worked for me anyway:

Instead of blaming the ignorant, dozing, aggressive, hostile, (whatever) motorist I just blame myself. No one is making me ride a bicycle in a motor vehicle world. It is MY choice to be swimming with sharks. The instant I throw my leg over the top tube ALL of the responsibility for my safety and happiness falls on ME. So when a motorist almost kills me with ignorance I don't get angry at them - i KNEW there were ignorant, stupid motorists out there when I made the choice to go play with my toy in the road where they live. So it is MY fault and MY responsibility to either make a different transportation mode choice or just learn to live my bicycle life near wild animals. Yes, one day I might be killed by one of them. MY fault. I could take a bus, taxi, or a Humvee and perhaps be safer. My choice...my fault.

So as soon as I realized that the only thing I can easily change is ME - and I am solely responsible for all of my risky behaviors and decisions - I stopped getting mad at THEM.

Try it.

I also have no remorse for tilting the field of battle in my favor by selectively obeying/breaking traffic laws that help to make me safer in my opinion. Whatever it takes to survive. If I were obeying the traffic code to the letter and almost getting killed because of it I could see getting even more angry and rageful due to EXPECTATIONS of being treated fairly, lawfully...as an equal. I have no such expectations. Only if you have expectations can you be disappointed.
Post of the year award!
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Old 04-13-14, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Worknomore View Post
Post of the year award!
Not even close..
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Old 04-13-14, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
For me, it's one word....cameras. Ever since I installed cameras on my bike, it's had a calming effect on me, since aggressive motorists seldom now can use their vehicle's faster speed to get away with their dangerous driving actions, and I have more info to give to law enforcement.
I believe that YOU believe.... your post to be authentic. But [I think] most of us are aware that human emotions just don't work that way. Human emotions are internally generated. Unless of course... you're saying that your emotions are outside of your own span of control?!?!

I live with security cameras.... and have for years. I am well aware of the advantages and benefits of video. None of which... has ever created an emotional response.

I think JoeyBike has a mature and rock-solid understanding of human emotions.
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Old 04-13-14, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I believe that YOU believe.... your post to be authentic. But [I think] most of us are aware that human emotions just don't work that way. Human emotions are internally generated. Unless of course... you're saying that your emotions are outside of your own span of control?!?!

I live with security cameras.... and have for years. I am well aware of the advantages and benefits of video. None of which... has ever created an emotional response.

I think JoeyBike has a mature and rock-solid understanding of human emotions.
Read my post a little more closely, I said the using of cameras had a calming effect on me, not a controlling one, and Joey is not a person that I personally would look to for advice, or as a mentor.
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Old 04-13-14, 10:27 AM
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dynodonn is correct with regards to the use of cameras. I also went out with the assumption that if I could get the %$%%$# on camera.....
The first incident after fitting my camera and seeing my reaction on video made me realize that I could end up in jail: the term berserker comes to mind.
So, the bicycle-camera does have a calming effect.

For the past month I've also been carrying a body-cam: its taming my temper.
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Old 04-13-14, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Hyperventilate View Post
..... the term berserker comes to mind.
In my case, my level of frustration has diminished considerably, especially when motorists use up to a 40 mph speed "differential" to their advantage in getting away with their dangerous/aggressive driving decisions.
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Old 04-13-14, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Hyperventilate View Post
dynodonn is correct with regards to the use of cameras. I also went out with the assumption that if I could get the %$%%$# on camera.....
The first incident after fitting my camera and seeing my reaction on video made me realize that I could end up in jail: the term berserker comes to mind.
So, the bicycle-camera does have a calming effect.
So you succeeded in capturing the "%$%%$#" on camera and it turned out to be YOU. Now that is brilliant and scientifically proven to alter behavior. My wife is a psychotherapist (like a psychiatrist that can't prescribe drugs) who often does couple therapy. One technique that is helpful to certain couples is to film their interactions (with their permission of course) during one session, then playing that video back to them a week or so down the road. Let them both see how they act - in effect exposing a huge blind spot in how they perceive themselves.

So...you got a peek at your own reactions and, if I got this right, said to yourself basically: "I can't continue this behavior."

I am not a therapist but it sounds to me like you are already well on your way to being happier on your bike in traffic. Congrats!
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Old 04-13-14, 01:34 PM
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i politely ask them to get out of the car, whenever they feel they should endanger my life or otherwise try to **** me over, take away their only safety and they turn into fuzzy little kittens..
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Old 04-13-14, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by italktocats View Post
i politely ask them to get out of the car, whenever they feel they should endanger my life or otherwise try to **** me over, take away their only safety and they turn into fuzzy little kittens..
I could never to get them to stop, or get out of their car......no matter how rude the gesture , hence my switching to the use of cameras.
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Old 04-13-14, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by italktocats View Post
i politely ask them to get out of the car...
I New Orleans they will get out of their cars alright......bullets first.
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Old 04-13-14, 02:54 PM
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The easiest way to deal with these kinds of idiots, is simply not to let them get to you. Instead, congratulate yourself for not sinking to their level, as well as using your skill to stay safe.
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Old 04-13-14, 03:48 PM
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Seek professional help, and/or get your meds adjusted.
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Old 04-13-14, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Hyperventilate View Post
dynodonn is correct with regards to the use of cameras. I also went out with the assumption that if I could get the %$%%$# on camera.....
The first incident after fitting my camera and seeing my reaction on video made me realize that I could end up in jail: the term berserker comes to mind.
So, the bicycle-camera does have a calming effect.

For the past month I've also been carrying a body-cam: its taming my temper.
Did you also find that some of those too-close-for-comfort passes weren't really all that close?
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