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Had my first "words" with a motorist this morning...

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Had my first "words" with a motorist this morning...

Old 03-06-08, 07:53 AM
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riddei
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Had my first "words" with a motorist this morning...

...after 18 months of bicycle commuting. I was coming to a four way stop sign. There were 2 cars stopped. I looked over my left shoulder and could see no-one "rapidly" approaching. I signalled that I was going to move left to take the lane. As I was moving left, it became apparent that a car was not going to let me over. A guy in a Honda civic just slowly crept around me, and "wasn't going to let a bicycle get in his way".

I yelled HELLO, and shrugged my shoulders (basically saying, "don't you see me here") as we both tried to occupy the same space. The Honda guy yelled out his window "WATCH OUT FOR CARS", at which I responded "WATCH OUT FOR HAND SIGNALS". Not very original, but it was all I could think of.

We were all doing less than 10 mph, because we were 100' from a stop sign. I hope he was happy that he beat me to the stop sign .

Last edited by riddei; 03-06-08 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 03-06-08, 08:43 AM
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Maybe your reply wasn't original but it was excellent, IMO.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:47 AM
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Last week I signaled to merge left on a 4-lane road, to get into the proper lane to turn left at the stop light 200' ahead, which was red. The guy in that lane, who was way bhind me, didn't take this standing still. He gunned it, and crossed the yellow line to pass me. Unbelieveable. I could see him in my mirror. He must have an inferiorority complex, I thought. So, I keep pedaling away and naturally beat him to the light, since he was so far back. He swerved in behind me, but didn't honk. He was too close to me, though, at the light, which got my dander up. But the light quickly changed and I only had to wait a moment to turn. Naturally, the guy gunned it past me, showing the impressive power of him mighty car.

The fact is people are used to cars. They are uncomfortable with us, especially when we assert ourselves.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:53 AM
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Society is composed of sheep. You are doing something different than the norm. Expect crappy things to happen.

The OPs retort is significantly more original that what poor little me comes up with when my temper is raging. My responses tend to feature more 4 letter words than anything else.
However, I had one incident that involved taunting the motorist where I came up with a few gems due to the fact that my temper was under control and I was finding the motorist's outburst amusing.
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Old 03-06-08, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by riddei View Post
I yelled HELLO, and shrugged my shoulders (basically saying, "don't you see me here") as we both tried to occupy the same space. The Honda guy yelled out his window "WATCH OUT FOR CARS", at which I responded "WATCH OUT FOR HAND SIGNALS". Not very original, but it was all I could think of.
Excellent, well done! I had a taxi push me out of my lane yesterday morning, so as he steered into me, I yelled "YO!" which is, I believe, Manhattanese for "hello." He slowed down and let me have my lane, and I waved some thanks in my wake. When done right, confrontations like can be pretty non-confrontational.
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Old 03-06-08, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by riddei View Post
We were all doing less than 10 mph, because we were 100' from a stop sign. I hope he was happy that he beat me to the stop sign .
Funny how a few motorists are so "competitive" against a cyclist. This reminded me of a motorist coming up fast behind me in the wintertime as I approached a stop sign 100 feet ahead. I even had a hand signal out indicating a left turn. This tool was so hell-bent on beating me to the stop sign that he locked up his brakes and went half-way into the intersection. People were honking horns due to the scene he created. Fortunately no one was injured as a result, but I would have gladly been a witness for the police report if he did cause a crack-up.

Some of the stuff you witness commuting....geesh.
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Old 03-06-08, 10:22 AM
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Yeah, I learned to drive in NY. It's funny, if your lucky enough for someone in NY to put on their turn signal, it means "here I come!". In Maine, if your lucky enoughfor someone to put their turn signal on, it means "I am contemplating turning, may I, pretty please?".

Guess it's the same on a bike.
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Old 03-06-08, 11:13 AM
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riddei, I'm a former NYer (Long Island version) who lived in Maine for 5 years. I agree with your assessment!

But there's one kind of car you ALWAYS need to watch for in Maine--the dreaded dark blue small old pickup truck (usually Ford or GMC). Those frigging things are indestructible. I once saw a Honda Accord skid out on ice and run into the back of one. The pickup was undamaged; the Honda was all smashed up.
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Old 03-06-08, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by riddei View Post
Yeah, I learned to drive in NY. It's funny, if your lucky enough for someone in NY to put on their turn signal, it means "here I come!". In Maine, if your lucky enoughfor someone to put their turn signal on, it means "I am contemplating turning, may I, pretty please?".

Guess it's the same on a bike.
On a freeway in Philadelphia a signal means "That's the lane I just changed to"
You have to watch carefully because you only get one blink – and that's after the lane change.
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Old 03-06-08, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by thdave View Post
Naturally, the guy gunned it past me, showing the impressive power of his mighty car.

The fact is people are used to cars. They are uncomfortable with us, especially when we assert ourselves.
Now now, you didn't realize what immensely studly ankle power he showed by pumping the gas pedal like that.
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Old 03-06-08, 12:14 PM
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I should also add, that there is a strong possibility that the guy in the Honda didn't see my hand signal because he barely scraped the frost off the divers side of the windshield.
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Old 03-06-08, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul L. View Post
Now now, you didn't realize what immensely studly ankle power he showed by pumping the gas pedal like that.
So that's what was always meant by the phrase, "Pumping gas."
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Old 03-06-08, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by riddei View Post
...after 18 months of bicycle commuting. I was coming to a four way stop sign. There were 2 cars stopped. I looked over my left shoulder and could see no-one "rapidly" approaching. I signalled that I was going to move left to take the lane. As I was moving left, it became apparent that a car was not going to let me over. A guy in a Honda civic just slowly crept around me, and "wasn't going to let a bicycle get in his way".

I yelled HELLO, and shrugged my shoulders (basically saying, "don't you see me here") as we both tried to occupy the same space. The Honda guy yelled out his window "WATCH OUT FOR CARS", at which I responded "WATCH OUT FOR HAND SIGNALS". Not very original, but it was all I could think of.

We were all doing less than 10 mph, because we were 100' from a stop sign. I hope he was happy that he beat me to the stop sign .
A signal does not give you the right of way to merge in front of a faster moving vehicle. The driver has to choose to yield to you before merging in front of then which apparently they didn't want to. That may be anti-social, but not illegal.

Also if you were traveling at the same speed as other traffic why were not you in the lane long before this?

Al
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Old 03-06-08, 01:17 PM
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In Michigan, a turn signal means "I'm already halfway through the turn, I just bump the signal a bit so the cops can't say I didn't use them."

If you find a very courteous driver, it means "I'm turning, but I put the signals on too late for anyone around me to react to it."

There's nothing like having someone come up behind you when you're going to be first at a light, seeing that they have no signal on with only 30 feet to go before stopping at the light, so you move right to allow them to proceed straight when it turns green, then have them stop 2 feet behind you and THEN turn on their right turn light and try to nose around you. Dude, if you'd put your signal on 100 feet back I'd have been in the far left corner and you could have just gone through. When someone does that and I'm feeling pissy sometimes I pull as far up as I can on the right. I've also been known (when I know it's a while until the light will change) to look pointedly at their turn signal, dismount, walk my bike in front of them over to the left corner, then get back on my bike and wave them through on the right.
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Old 03-06-08, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
A signal does not give you the right of way to merge in front of a faster moving vehicle. The driver has to choose to yield to you before merging in front of then which apparently they didn't want to. That may be anti-social, but not illegal.

Also if you were traveling at the same speed as other traffic why were not you in the lane long before this?

Al
I guess by the letter of the law, you are correct regarding the yield. I wasn't going the speed of traffic long before 100' from the stop sign.
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Old 03-06-08, 01:27 PM
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I don't understand the scenario. If you checked the lane and saw that it was clear, how did there suddenly manage to be a civic there? If you did see the care in the lane, why would you try switch lanes. If you didn't, perhaps you need to check more carefully.
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Old 03-06-08, 01:44 PM
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Hand signals are nice only if the person behind you acknowledges it. I've personally stopped using any form of hand signals. It creates too many scenarios like the one you described.

Nowadays I will just check behind me way before I need to make my left turn. If its safe and clear I'll just swerve into the lane and try to be quick about it. If its not clear, I will then slow down and wait for the cars to pass me, then take the lane to make my left.

Lastly, keeping myself on the right tire tracks on the road helps a whole lot too. Drivers notice me right away and my turning my head constantly to check, I think, makes them aware of my intention to go left.
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Old 03-06-08, 01:47 PM
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I'm suprised it took 18 months before you had words with a driver. i get yahoos every month, sometimes more than one. got some honks and yells out the window while riding on a four lane 30mph city street earlier this week- JAM telling me to be off to the side if they honk at me from behind.

in my case, why didn't the motorists simply move to the next lane over?? Because there are JAMs that disrespect bicyclists on every road, every time you ride.....
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Old 03-06-08, 02:07 PM
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That doesn't really sound like you had "words" with him. More like a friendly exchange. Nice way to keep cool!
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Old 03-06-08, 02:18 PM
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You were legally in the right, as bicycles (at least in MA) have the right to use as much of the lane as is necessary for their safe travel. The fact that you were the leading vehicle gave you the right of way to move to the center line to make your left turn.
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Old 03-06-08, 02:29 PM
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I am lucky. In general people I encounter are friendly and courteous. Perhaps I'm becoming complacent. I did turn my head, I knew the car was there. We were both moving slowly to a stop at what I though was the same speed. I signalled and moved over. Perhaps he was moving a quarter of a MPH faster than me ?

Until now I haven't thought that I needed a mirror. I think I'll get a helmet mounted mirror so that I'll have a better idea of where people are.

I know if I was still in NY, I would have many more words for people. My 7 mile (one way) commute has only a few stop signs and one light (on my winter route, no light on my summer route).
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Old 03-06-08, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by riddei View Post
...
We were all doing less than 10 mph, because we were 100' from a stop sign. I hope he was happy that he beat me to the stop sign .
Isn't it funny how often these operators drive really small, old cars with really big exhaust systems
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Old 03-06-08, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MIKEnDC View Post
So that's what was always meant by the phrase, "Pumping gas."
I was under the impression that "pumping gas" was the after-effect of a Taco Bell experience.
But it appears you are correct after all.
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Old 03-06-08, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
I'm suprised it took 18 months before you had words with a driver. i get yahoos every month, sometimes more than one. got some honks and yells out the window while riding on a four lane 30mph city street earlier this week- JAM telling me to be off to the side if they honk at me from behind.
Depends on where you are. It's been about 2 years since I've even been honked at, longer than that since I was yelled at (not that I could hear anything other than ...bawaaaaaa...).
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Old 03-06-08, 09:05 PM
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I usually have little trouble myself, but in the last couple years I can think of two idiots.

One was truly stupid. I stopped in the right lane (goes straight or turns right) of Schoolcraft at Inkster one morning facing a red light and had some moron behind me blow his horn for a good 45 seconds. A car going straight holding up this right turner might have been OK, but to be slowed for a bike for crissake!!!!

The other was taking the left (straitght or left) lane on Hubbard north at 5 mile one day I had a woman pass me on the right (the right only lane - and really no conflict between us) who called out "don't ride in the middle of the road" to me. I simply called back "Thanks MOM!!!".
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