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Cursed out the one nice driver in SF. Whoops.

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Cursed out the one nice driver in SF. Whoops.

Old 04-12-12, 12:16 AM
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zaventh
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Cursed out the one nice driver in SF. Whoops.

I commute to work daily. This is San Francisco, so not only are there are a lot of other cars in the road, but also cars parked on the street, cars parallel parking, delivery trucks stopped on the right lane, delivery trucks stopped in the center lane, other bikers, runners, motorized skateboarders (you'd be surprised how many I see), and just about every other road hazard you can imagine... Needless to say, I'm a little edgy while commuting in the city.

So I'm riding down the bike lane of one particular stretch of road that is in horrible condition. I need to turn left, so I look behind me and see I should have plenty of remove, and make the hand signal to merge into the driving lane and finally into the center turn lane to turn left. It's difficult to even take one hand off the drops to signal the road is so mangled, but I do anyway because I don't feel like getting run over today. As I am about to turn, the truck I merged in front of paces me, rolls down his window, sticks out his hand in a gesture and starts yelling something. Immediately I let out the usual "!@#$ you" with the appropriate hand gesture. About 3 seconds after I complete my turn, I realize the guy's hand gesture was actually a peace sign and what he was yelling was "THANKS FOR THE SIGNAL".

Whoops.

But really. Throwing your hands out the window and yelling a compliment? The best compliment you can give me is not running me over. Still, I suppose I should not be so reactive to drivers in general.

Have you guys ever had a curse or a compliment yelled at you while biking?
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Old 04-12-12, 01:49 AM
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Normally is a thumbs up, peace sign, the horns, or yelling something like "Nice bike". In SF I've seen drivers who are WAY more tolerant of cyclists than other places of the country. The cycling community is so strong in SF that I think there are a lot of nice drivers out there who understand.
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Old 04-12-12, 07:07 AM
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That's why I smile and wave for everything. Cursing doesn't help anyone including me, when I yell at someone it only makes me more angry. I got over it.
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Old 04-12-12, 07:35 AM
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Been there, done that too....

I actually met a new riding partner that way last year, and we still laugh at how we met.
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Old 04-12-12, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
That's why I smile and wave for everything. Cursing doesn't help anyone including me, when I yell at someone it only makes me more angry. I got over it.
+1
same here, I stick with just a wave of the hand, makes me feel better.
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Old 04-12-12, 11:18 AM
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Yeah. It made me realize I need to calm down a bit.

It's true in the city I've never really had any drivers act aggressive toward me, but I in the East Bay where I live it seems to happen almost every other time I ride...
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Old 04-12-12, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by zaventh View Post
Have you guys ever had a curse or a compliment yelled at you while biking?
Don't recall having anything yelled at me. I've had a lot of drivers yield to me when they didn't need to, and they tend to get a wave. I've had a few drivers pass very close or refuse to yield when they should have done and they usually get a wave too, just with fewer fingers.

As a rule I don't make unpleasant gestures to drivers unless they've done something truly boneheaded and only shout at pedestrians if they are doing something stupid.
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Old 04-13-12, 09:40 PM
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Just a little while ago I had a small straight-truck pass me, a bit more closely than I'd have liked, with a bit of horn. Mid-way between a 'toot' and a blast. I gave him the finger and yelled something. Then I realized that I recognized the truck. I don't really know the driver, but we recognize each other. It's pretty clear that he was just saying 'hi'. I don't often react to people passing closer than I'd like, or even when they do it with a bit of horn. I've got better things to do. But this one just seemed so rude and hostile that I did react. But I'm pretty sure that I mis-understood.

I also cursed out a driver once. In San Francisco, as a matter of fact. But this was something more than 25 years ago. And he didn't deserve it. He was going a bit slow. But his reason was that he was not sure of just where he was going. There's no sin in that. But traffic pressure there was very tough and it made even the nicest of us turn mean sometimes. It wasn't the only time that I got into arguments-and worse-with other drivers. But it's the only time I remember when I tore into someone who was not being a jerk. I'm not a road rager, but that day I came right up to the edge.

By evening I had calmed down and was starting to feel bad about it. I still feel guilty to this day. It's one of those memories that has never really gone away.

Thinking about it, I don't think I've gotten into any bad traffic arguments since. It might be that that episode taught me to be more eager to give the benefit of the doubt. If so, then at least one good thing came of it.
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Old 04-14-12, 01:48 PM
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Coming up on a light, I got in line like I normally do, but when we got a green the car in front didn't move, despite a honk or two, and when I finally decided to just go around it was too late and I missed the light. I gave an exasperated "what the heck..." which was answered by a _very_ irritated woman yelling that her car was broke down, etc., etc. She had two kids in the back who weren't enjoying it any more than she was, and after a moment to gather myself, I had to go back to apologize. I offered to help push her car out of the way; it would have been easy, but she didn't want to, so I didn't press the issue.

In retrospect, it should have been obvious that her car was broken down, but hopefully I cancelled some of my asshattery by trying to help out.
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Old 04-14-12, 04:52 PM
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I don't think that people in cars realize what a horn can sound like to someone on a bike. Unfortunately we've been conditioned to expect the worst when it comes to a honk, so my reflex is to get my defensive armor up when I hear one.
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Old 04-14-12, 05:21 PM
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The few times I've found myself reacting that way in my life has embarrassed me so completely that I couldn't tell the story here. We are just SO conditioned to expect the worst of drivers that we often can't recognize the kindness some/few extend. I feel your pain.

Originally Posted by zaventh View Post
I commute to work daily. This is San Francisco, so not only are there are a lot of other cars in the road, but also cars parked on the street, cars parallel parking, delivery trucks stopped on the right lane, delivery trucks stopped in the center lane, other bikers, runners, motorized skateboarders (you'd be surprised how many I see), and just about every other road hazard you can imagine... Needless to say, I'm a little edgy while commuting in the city.

So I'm riding down the bike lane of one particular stretch of road that is in horrible condition. I need to turn left, so I look behind me and see I should have plenty of remove, and make the hand signal to merge into the driving lane and finally into the center turn lane to turn left. It's difficult to even take one hand off the drops to signal the road is so mangled, but I do anyway because I don't feel like getting run over today. As I am about to turn, the truck I merged in front of paces me, rolls down his window, sticks out his hand in a gesture and starts yelling something. Immediately I let out the usual "!@#$ you" with the appropriate hand gesture. About 3 seconds after I complete my turn, I realize the guy's hand gesture was actually a peace sign and what he was yelling was "THANKS FOR THE SIGNAL".

Whoops.

But really. Throwing your hands out the window and yelling a compliment? The best compliment you can give me is not running me over. Still, I suppose I should not be so reactive to drivers in general.

Have you guys ever had a curse or a compliment yelled at you while biking?
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