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letting drivers know you aren't happy with their driving choices

Old 10-26-12, 07:00 AM
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UMassAm
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letting drivers know you aren't happy with their driving choices

commuting in this morning, i was in the road signaling a left turn. a truck driver got right up behind me closer than i wouldve liked. how would you let this person, or other negligent or raging drivers, that their driving choices are not acceptable things to do with cyclists? apparently flipping them off doesn't fix the problem.
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Old 10-26-12, 07:10 AM
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I usually will just throw mt arm and hand backwards indicting for them to slow down. Works everytime.

Or sometimes I swerve and the drivers give me plenty of room.
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Old 10-26-12, 07:41 AM
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Most times I will give a look back at their bumper and then my back wheel and that's it. They may or may not be aware of what they did, but I think that let's them know it was noticed. On the motorcycle I give a look back (if being tailgated) and for the most part they back off. If I have a passenger I will instead use a hand signal that indicates I'd like them to give more room (never a middle finger). Other times I ignore it.
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Old 10-26-12, 07:46 AM
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yeah i admit the finger was not thoughtful- ive found i get more road rage than other people around me, working on it. but these are good ideas.
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Old 10-26-12, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by UMassAm View Post
yeah i admit the finger was not thoughtful- ive found i get more road rage than other people around me, working on it. but these are good ideas.
Of course, it can be uncomfortable and intimidating to have a car sitting close behind like that. It is not necessary either. What I witness is that a car provides so much anonymity that allows people to do things when behind the wheel they'd never do when in person. Say you are standing with a few others at the entrance to an elevator (or in line for a movie) and another person steps in and walks in front of everyone when the door opens. That is rare in my book, but go to a roadway where one of the lanes has to merge into another and tell me what you experience (I/we know the answer to that).

Easy to get upset and raise the middle finger - been there and done that... I have regretted it often and find that it does not get the reaction/action that I would benefit from.

Hey, how 'bout a story to make us all feel better!? This is like an old Billy Jack movie where he gets revenge on the bad guys - and I don't condone this type of behavior anymore, but it was sure fun to watch.

Travelling with another cyclist across one of the local bridges. A dude in the passenger side of the pick up truck (PU) sticks his head out of the window and yells profanities at my riding partner from inches away. We were climbing at about 15 mph and they doing at least 40.

Well my riding partner wasn't impressed and got what I would say was a massive dose of adrenaline and starting cranking up and then over the bridge. The PUwas way down the road, but my partner must have seen them up ahead. I'd say he was up over 30 on the flat part of the road after the bridge. The PU was heading for some traffic and up the road made a left, but the other cyclist wasn't far behind (about 3/4 mile from incident to their turn). When I came on scene the PU had pulled into a beach parking lot and was looking for a vacant space to park. My partner came along side the passenger and leveled a fist into the side of his head. He hit him so hard the guy bumped into the driver on the other side of the PU. Neither of them would get out and attempt to do anymore damage since my riding partner was ready to kill.

Again, not condoned by me anymore.
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Old 10-26-12, 08:16 AM
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I try not to convey anything like this, especially anger. If I think I can't get them to change, I'll just pull over. If swinging my arm with my palm faced backwards might work, I'll try that.

Best to ignore bad behavior. There's really very little we can do about it, and it's better not to get too annoyed. It's guaranteed to happen again, so why get angry every time?
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Old 10-26-12, 08:30 AM
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Being on a bike doesn't exactly allow us to share our discomfort for drivers from a position of strength. You will not win a pissing contest with a car and especially not with a truck. Being a former motorcyclist I recall a story about 2 yrs ago where a truck driver was upset with a motorcycle in front of him at a light. When the light turned green the bike didn't move fast enough for the truck driver so the truck just drove right over top of the bike. You never know.....some people are just nuts.

I too will try the flat hand gesture and try not to use the middle finger wave.
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Old 10-26-12, 08:41 AM
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Simply achieving eye contact seems to work sometimes.
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Old 10-26-12, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I try not to convey anything like this, especially anger. If I think I can't get them to change, I'll just pull over. If swinging my arm with my palm faced backwards might work, I'll try that.

Best to ignore bad behavior. There's really very little we can do about it, and it's better not to get too annoyed. It's guaranteed to happen again, so why get angry every time?
+1 I chased a car down once because the passenger yelled something at me. I got this crazy adrenaline rush and caught the vehicle about 3/4 mile down the road when they were stopped at a light. I didn't hit the guy or anything like that but I asked him why he yelled at me that way because it really scared the cr@p out of me. It turned out to be a 15 yr old kid with his Mama driving the car. He and his Mama were laughing saying they thought it was real funny. The light turned green and they drove away leaving me with the confirming thought that The apple dosen't fall far the tree...
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Old 10-26-12, 08:58 AM
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I carry a Russian made and loaded RPG7 launcher swung over my shoulder, cars give me a huge berth and treat me with loads of respect.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:00 AM
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I have tried doing the mental telekinesis thing to push the vehicles around like the kid in the movie Chronicle. Tried real hard. Haven't gotten it to work yet, but I keep trying.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:04 AM
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I ususally do not let them know, there is no winning for me in that situation. Also I am not sure that they are all that interested in my thoughts.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:11 AM
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Raging against idiots is something that I struggle with constantly. Once while fighting a headwind and a hill, a pickup passed too closely and the passenger flicked a cigarette at me. Instant rage. I caught up to them at a light and kind of sneaked up to the passengers open windows. I gave him my best howling banshee scream just inches from his face. The look on both of their faces was priceless. I laughed all the rest of the way into work.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:12 AM
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I just heard a story yesterday. There's a cop here in Vegas that commute to work and had a holster for his gun made. It now sits on his back across his shoulder. According to his friend, he never has problems with traffic. I guess if you can't change their thinking, just scare the bajesus out of them.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:19 AM
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Start carrying grenades.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:50 AM
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cyclefreak six (and everyone else), how often are drivers ragingly and loudly angry at you? I don't get this often at all, maybe once a year. Are you talking about encountering this once a week or more?
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Old 10-26-12, 10:06 AM
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I did call Fed Ex, when a driver they pay, right hooked in front of me
on a downhill residential street. I was not going slow..

i also got one of the Drivers replaced, riding passenger in the DAV/VAMC medical shuttle Van,
and seeing the guy cutting corners into the Bike Lane on the right handers on Terwilliger in PDX.

He was also 'afraid' of the center line, so was always well to the fog-line edge most of the time.
I called the county VSO, who co-ordinated the service..

it is a volunteer situation , the old guy didn't seem to drive much anymore , anyhow..


But the OP, if you dont have any idea of how to get thru a rolled up window,
with the driver listening to the radio(etc). may just have to be more aware..

a small % think the other larger % of people don't matter,
and should not be in Their Way.


We are more than 47%

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-26-12 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 10-26-12, 11:35 AM
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Usually I thank drivers for giving me room or waiting behind when they cannot pass safely. Positive reinforcement is a great thing on a daily commute especially if you see the same drivers every day. Drivers recognize specific bikers a lot easier than the other way around just because there aren't as many.

Unfortunately the way I respond to someone passing too close is to take the whole lane. It is an inconvenience to everybody else behind the person who was acting like an idiot, but I usually take that as me not portraying myself in the way that I should to drivers, so I quickly correct it as soon as I can to let them know I'm a vehicle.

Now the semi that tailgated me within 7 feet and laid on the horn....he got the angry look and stern point into the other lane (which was open btw) He's lucky I didn't stop and get his information, which in hindsight I should have done.

simple point gestures seem to work well. Also sometimes when i'm blocking a car and can't go anywhere I throw my hands in the air in disapproval. Kinda a "what the heck!?" symbol.

It's easy for cars to not consider you a vehicle and immediately think of you as a nuisance, even if you're waiting how a normal car would. Anything you can do to let them know you disapprove of stupid behavior as well is a plus. I often throw up my hands at other bikers breaking road rules. . . usually be yelling at them. All the cars immediately respect you more for recognizing the fellow biker's actions were wrong.
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Old 10-26-12, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
cyclefreak six (and everyone else), how often are drivers ragingly and loudly angry at you? I don't get this often at all, maybe once a year. Are you talking about encountering this once a week or more?
Tom - it really depends on where you ride...almost without fail if I ride in certain areas, no matter how politely, I will get harassed annoyed, etc.
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Old 10-26-12, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
cyclefreak six (and everyone else), how often are drivers ragingly and loudly angry at you? I don't get this often at all, maybe once a year. Are you talking about encountering this once a week or more?
I live in one, if not the most bicycle un-friendly cities in America. I get crap about once a week, often more frequently.
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Old 10-26-12, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
I carry a Russian made and loaded RPG7 launcher swung over my shoulder, cars give me a huge berth and treat me with loads of respect.
Bad thing is that you'd look crazy enough for them to run you down as a preemptive strike... or at least to get their hands on the cool hardware.
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Old 10-26-12, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
Usually I thank drivers for giving me room or waiting behind when they cannot pass safely. Positive reinforcement is a great thing on a daily commute especially if you see the same drivers every day. Drivers recognize specific bikers a lot easier than the other way around just because there aren't as many.

Unfortunately the way I respond to someone passing too close is to take the whole lane. It is an inconvenience to everybody else behind the person who was acting like an idiot, but I usually take that as me not portraying myself in the way that I should to drivers, so I quickly correct it as soon as I can to let them know I'm a vehicle.

Now the semi that tailgated me within 7 feet and laid on the horn....he got the angry look and stern point into the other lane (which was open btw) He's lucky I didn't stop and get his information, which in hindsight I should have done.

simple point gestures seem to work well. Also sometimes when i'm blocking a car and can't go anywhere I throw my hands in the air in disapproval. Kinda a "what the heck!?" symbol.

It's easy for cars to not consider you a vehicle and immediately think of you as a nuisance, even if you're waiting how a normal car would. Anything you can do to let them know you disapprove of stupid behavior as well is a plus. I often throw up my hands at other bikers breaking road rules. . . usually be yelling at them. All the cars immediately respect you more for recognizing the fellow biker's actions were wrong.
I agree with the positive reinforcement idea. It's pretty easy for us to get pretty miserable on this forum.
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Old 10-26-12, 12:56 PM
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Someone just reminded me where I did confront someone who really mistreated us on the road. The road narrowed leaving one lane in each direction, and each lane was not wide enough for both a bike and a car. A woman driving a car came up behind us and couldn't pass until she pulled fully into the wrong lane, the lane of opposing traffic. She did, and then a car oncoming came close, so she cut right back in front of us. Basically, she had a choice to be killed by the oncoming car or kill some cyclists by running us off the road. So she chose the latter. But she pulled right in front of us so she didn't actually hit us. She just came close. Yi-yeeeeee. I caught up to her at a stop sign and looked in her passenger window with a smiling face. She rolled down her window saying "it" wasn't her fault. The problem was that the driver behind her honked at her to get moving faster. I explained that it's easy. Don't pass us until it's safe and legal to do so, and until then, just wait behind us just like we're any other kind of slow moving vehicle. She apologized and thanked me for the useful information and went on her way pleasantly.

But I got lucky in that I could catch up to her and talk to her. Those opportunities are rare.
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Old 10-26-12, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
But I got lucky in that I could catch up to her and talk to her. Those opportunities are rare.
Even more lucky that it was someone who listened. I think the worst incidents are cases where both people think they're right and are mad about it.

Your experience just goes to show how keeping cool and informing rather than getting angry can go a long way. Either side could have made that into a youtube-level incident.
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Old 10-26-12, 03:20 PM
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Yeah, if it had gone that way with her, I would have backed off. What would there be to gain by continuing to engage someone like that?
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