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why do drivers treat bikers like crap?

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why do drivers treat bikers like crap?

Old 09-09-07, 05:30 PM
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dusted
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why do drivers treat bikers like crap?

I'm on the absolute edge lately when dealing with my "confrontations" and drivers in general. I want to hear some thoughts about it.
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Old 09-09-07, 05:37 PM
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Motor vehicle drivers treat other motor vehicle drivers like crap, why should you be any different?
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Old 09-09-07, 05:40 PM
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The drivers around here don't treat cyclists badly at all. They give me lots of room, slow down when they go by me, stop to let me cross the street even if they've got the right of way (that took a bit of getting used to).

I just came back from a month of cycling in Europe, and drivers there generally treated me the same way. The drivers in Belgium would make a point of telling us to use the bike path if there was one, but other than that, they treated us very well.

For my part, I try to follow all the rules of the road, and to ride predictably, and I am courteous to the drivers even to the extent of pulling over and letting them go by if I realize that I'm holding up a lot of traffic or something like that.

I actually cannot remember the last "confrontation" I've had with a driver, and I can only think of maybe a handful of occurrances which might be considered "confrontations" over the past 17 years of cycling.

Where do you live?
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Old 09-09-07, 05:42 PM
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yeah but if they hit another car at 20mph there is damage to a car. They hit me at 10mph I could have damage or die. I think that fact alone should earn us a bit of respect.

I'm in Chicago. I've been involved in two confrontations in the past month that required me to get off my bike and pull my U-lock out to feel safe.

1st, I took the lane without anyone behind me, a new vette comes up behind me as im slowing to make a left turn into my apartments. he rides his horn hangs out the window and starts yelling. I was startled by the horn (it was loud and he was on my ass) I turned around and raised my arms like wtf. He gets out of his car I dropped the bike and pulled out my u lock and told him he needed to get the f back in his car and leave. he turned around and peeled out as he left.

2nd, I was riding down a street with no bike lane the driver pulled out without looking and forced me into the other lane. I hit my brakes since I wanted to get behind him and not ride in the other lane. he tells me to "get the f out of the way or he will do it again" we pull up to the next light im behind him he stops short I hit the brakes hard and put my hand out to keep from hitting his car. he lost it and got out screaming at me about touching his car (a beat to hell tiburon lol). again I pull out the u lock and tell him to leave me alone.

Last edited by dusted; 09-09-07 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 09-09-07, 05:46 PM
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It's because they're frustrated. They're not driving because it's something they like to do. They're driving because they want to get someplace else. Consequently, they get upset with all of the little aggrivations, bike riders included, that slow their trip.

If, realizing that, you can find ways to minimize your impact on them without surrendering your own rights, you'll find that you have far fewer such confrontations.
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Old 09-09-07, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post

If, realizing that, you can find ways to minimize your impact on them without surrendering your own rights, you'll find that you have far fewer such confrontations.
What do you do?
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Old 09-09-07, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dusted View Post
What do you do?
Not very much. I use a mirror to keep aware of traffic conditions behind me. I make it easy for cars to pass me when it's safe for them to pass. I give a friendly "Thank you" wave to drivers who stop or wait to let me pass at intersections.

Probably most important, I remind myself that the vast majority of drivers are good, friendly folks who are just trying to get to wherever they're going. Probably only around 7% or so are the jerks that we talk about all of the time. If you took 100 bike riders at random, probably 7% of them would be jerks too.
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Old 09-09-07, 06:24 PM
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I ignore a lot of stuff, like I didn't see it and like it doesn't bother me a bit. If the driver is having a bad day, it doesn't mean it has to become your problem too.

I've also discovered the power of the friendly wave and smile.

Take your first situation, I would have turned and given the driver the driver my warmest smile and waved at him. That almost always catches them off guard ... they don't know what to do. They can't come after me for waving and smiling at them. And in that moment where they aren't sure what to do next, I make my turn and am out of their way.

I have had drivers back in Manitoba, where the drivers were a bit more aggressive toward cyclists, come up behind me and honk at me as though they want me to get off the road. Every time I give them a wave and smile ... and more than once, I've had them, hesitantly and tentatively, give me a wave and smile back.
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Old 09-09-07, 06:39 PM
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http://www.stungunsupply.com/product...tun-baton.html

I think I want this. I think it intimidating enough to make them leave me alone.
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Old 09-09-07, 06:42 PM
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Dang, I find the drivers around here very polite... Most of them go out of there way to be polite.. There is the ocassional jerk but they seem few and far between..
Problem here is the bike paths... Seems like every time I try and ride that there is a confrontation.. People with dogs leash/no leash walking on one side the dog on the other and the leash across the path blocking it... "On your left" causes complete confusion with a lot of people... Many will move to the left.. Teanagers walking three abreast playing chicken with you to see who gets out of the way first... And on and on... I take the road whenever possible and relax... Much nicer
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Old 09-09-07, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by dusted View Post
http://www.stungunsupply.com/product...tun-baton.html

I think I want this. I think it intimidating enough to make them leave me alone.
See, that's entirely the wrong approach. Instead, go to your washroom, stand in front of the mirror and practice your smile and wave. I'm telling you ... it works!
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Old 09-09-07, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
See, that's entirely the wrong approach. Instead, go to your washroom, stand in front of the mirror and practice your smile and wave. I'm telling you ... it works!
I wish I had that positive outlook about other people.
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Old 09-09-07, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dusted View Post
I wish I had that positive outlook about other people.
It doesn't always come naturally ... it's something you've got to work on. It took me a while before the smile and wave became my natural response. The great thing about it is the way it catches people off guard. They expect you to respond back negatively and it pleases them when you do ... you fall into their trap. But when you respond back positively, they don't know how to take it .... sometimes it changes their attitude for the better (smiles are contageous), other times they just go off in a disappointed huff that they weren't able to ruffle your feathers, and you carry on happily with your day.
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Old 09-09-07, 07:02 PM
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I was waiting at a busy intersection among a group of 15-20 cars. The driver in the car next to me rolled down his window and said..

"nice bike"

Not really knowing what to say to that, I went with "thanks, it was on sale"

The light turned green, and we went our separate ways.
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Old 09-09-07, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dusted View Post
I think I want this (taser baton thing). I think it intimidating enough to make them leave me alone.
It's hard to tell if you're joking. If not, then I strongly advise you don't carry that thing.

I'm not saying that no cyclist should ever carry a weapon. I don't carry one myself, and don't anticipate changing my mind any time soon. Others disagree...and if we get onto that debate, it will derail the thread entirely. But intelligent people on both sides of the debate will tell you that one of the dumbest reasons for arming yourself is because you expect to intimidate people into treating you better. It won't work, you'll end up escalating as many conflicts as you avoid, and the really dangerous folks will treat your behavior as a challenge.

And I hate to say it...but to be blunt, your posts don't lend me a lot of confidence that you would handle a dangerous tool responsibly in a stressful situation.
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Old 09-09-07, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by divergence View Post
It's hard to tell if you're joking. If not, then I strongly advise you don't carry that thing.

I'm not saying that no cyclist should ever carry a weapon. I don't carry one myself, and don't anticipate changing my mind any time soon. Others disagree...and if we get onto that debate, it will derail the thread entirely. But intelligent people on both sides of the debate will tell you that one of the dumbest reasons for arming yourself is because you expect to intimidate people into treating you better. It won't work, you'll end up escalating as many conflicts as you avoid, and the really dangerous folks will treat your behavior as a challenge.

And I hate to say it...but to be blunt, your posts don't lend me a lot of confidence that you would handle a dangerous tool responsibly in a stressful situation.
I wouldn't carry that. It was intended as more of a joke.

but I think that my post came out wrong. I didn't mean to say that I was going to go riding down the street waving it like a deranged prirate at every prick who pulled out in front of me. I just meant to say that I would rather have the baton then my u-lock as a "plan B" when dealing with someone who just wants to fight.

I agree though that I most likely wouldn't be the most responsible person to carry that though.
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Old 09-09-07, 07:36 PM
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I've had the occasional teenager (and it's always teenagers) ride past blowing the horn and shouting some obscenity but that's about it. Drivers here in town are pretty friendly but this is a pretty popular town for cycling. Once you get out in the country you get a few bumpkins that will yell as they scream by in their dually pickup with the horse trailer on the back but I ignore them. They just don't know any better. Even that is usually during centuries or big group rides when there really are a lot of cyclist clogging up the roads so I can see why they get annoyed.
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Old 09-09-07, 07:48 PM
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it's not that bad around here either...but a friend of mine says that where he lives, they literally try to run you off the road.

Lately i've noticed that the drivers who tend to be really bad are from out of town! Worst -ontario. They don't seem to know how to deal with bikes on the road, or they yell abuse at you. Many american drivers don't seem to understand 'shared road' or the speed limit, that not every road is a Nascar circuit.
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Old 09-09-07, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dusted View Post
yeah but if they hit another car at ]20mph there is damage to a car. They hit me at 10mph I could have damage or die. I think that fact alone should earn us a bit of respect.

I'm in Chicago. I've been involved in two confrontations in the past month that required me to get off my bike and pull my U-lock out to feel safe.

1st, I took the lane without anyone behind me, a new vette comes up behind me as im slowing to make a left turn into my apartments. he rides his horn hangs out the window and starts yelling. I was startled by the horn (it was loud and he was on my ass) I turned around and raised my arms like wtf. He gets out of his car I dropped the bike and pulled out my u lock and told him he needed to get the f back in his car and leave. he turned around and peeled out as he left.

2nd, I was riding down a street with no bike lane the driver pulled out without looking and forced me into the other lane. I hit my brakes since I wanted to get behind him and not ride in the other lane. he tells me to "get the f out of the way or he will do it again" we pull up to the next light im behind him he stops short I hit the brakes hard and put my hand out to keep from hitting his car. he lost it and got out screaming at me about touching his car (a beat to hell tiburon lol). again I pull out the u lock and tell him to leave me alone.
I hope you meant, you gently laid your bike down.
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Old 09-09-07, 08:19 PM
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Things seemed a lot worse when I first started riding. Not so much anymore.
Maybe I grew a thicker skin, started riding better, or both.
At my worst I flip the bird and then go on with my life. Fortunately, my worst is few and far in between. Having a short long term memory seems to be helpful while riding a bike. Incidents just fade quicker and quicker. All in all motorists seem fairly well behaved around here. Peds and other cyclists...not really

I wish I could smile and wave. Just not that friendly.
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Old 09-09-07, 08:59 PM
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I treat drivers like crap when they give me ****. Especially at night. I carry my Surefire 6P and shine it in peoples faces in conjunction with screaming profanity.
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Old 09-09-07, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
See, that's entirely the wrong approach. Instead, go to your washroom, stand in front of the mirror and practice your smile and wave. I'm telling you ... it works!
Just don't take it too far. I had someone threaten to kill me last year because I blew them a kiss.

That said, Gold Coast drivers are by far the worst I've seen on any of my travels (and that extends to the way they treat each other incidentally). I get by with a healthy dose of cynicism these days. Whatever they do, I just refuse to be dragged into it. If they're having a bad day, it's their problem -- not mine.
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Old 09-09-07, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
I carry my Surefire 6P and shine it in peoples faces in conjunction with screaming profanity.
I'm picturing the dancing mouse in your sig screaming profanity.
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Old 09-09-07, 11:00 PM
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You should have seen the email it came with. It was a bunch of nude and otherwise obscene funny comics in a forwarded email, and for some random reason that mouse was at the bottom of the email. Makes for a nice sig line.
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Old 09-10-07, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
The drivers around here don't treat cyclists badly at all. They give me lots of room, slow down when they go by me, stop to let me cross the street even if they've got the right of way (that took a bit of getting used to).

I just came back from a month of cycling in Europe, and drivers there generally treated me the same way. The drivers in Belgium would make a point of telling us to use the bike path if there was one, but other than that, they treated us very well.

For my part, I try to follow all the rules of the road, and to ride predictably, and I am courteous to the drivers even to the extent of pulling over and letting them go by if I realize that I'm holding up a lot of traffic or something like that.

I actually cannot remember the last "confrontation" I've had with a driver, and I can only think of maybe a handful of occurrances which might be considered "confrontations" over the past 17 years of cycling.


Where do you live?
Besides here in the US; I've ridden in Canada, Belgium, France and The Netherlands, my experiance is that in those other places the drivers are more concerned with the safety of bicyclists they share the road with.
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