Author Topic: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?  (Read 865 times)

mariah

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Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« on: March 16, 2017, 08:11:05 PM »
Dear Mustachians,

I love to ride my bike to get things done, but I live in a medium-sized city where there are lots of cars and relatively few cyclists. Drivers around here don't tend to watch out for bikes, they drive into the few bike lanes we do have, and they even throw change sometimes. What are your preferred tactics for dealing with hostile drivers? My most recently discovery was this little gadget that basically makes your own bike lane with scary red lights to fend off drivers:  http://a.co/eqTr4CT
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$200k

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2017, 09:06:04 PM »
I try not to care about hostile drivers and just ignore them. 

Really, you should just feel sympathy for them.  They are most likely hostile because they are stressed out about getting to and from work, to pay for their expensive car and other things they don't need.  So, yeah, I just try to zen out, and in general give them my sympathies for wasting time in a car.

Meanwhile, you are being a badass riding, your bike powered by you.

I used to be all agro about riding, but then I realized it did no good, and actually made be feel worse off in the end. 

shaybro

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 09:07:30 PM »
I am so sorry that you have to deal with irrational hatred (jealousy?) from people driving cars. Your intuition about lights is a good start. Do whatever it takes to make you feel safe whether that's a helmet, lights, reflective clothing, or sticking to roads with bike lanes.

You are doing the right thing and please don't be discouraged by other peoples' ignorance.

zinnie

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 09:32:43 PM »
That light is really cool! I want one. When drivers are being hostile, I'm a fan of looking them right in the eyes and smiling, and if possible rolling up next to them at the next light and knocking on the window to ask why they beeped at me. People are a-holes when they don't expect to have to encounter you face-to-face so if you can ever do that it really makes them uncomfortable. (And this is a similarly awesome strategy if someone is cat-calling you! "I heard you yell something out of your window back there, what were you trying to say?") Or, if you can, take a picture or video. Making the person think they are on camera improves behavior dramatically.

If someone is really being unsafe, and I am going slow enough, I'll hit their car with my hand. It makes them think they've hit me and I assume it scares them enough to think about giving bikers more distance next time :)

Stay safe out there!!!

Bateaux

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 01:33:23 AM »
They hate you for your freedom.  Dress brightly.  Lights and reflectors lots of them.  Keep on keepin on.
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MoonLiteNite

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 04:41:12 AM »
i just ignore them. Why bother, as long as they are not harming you, they can be the biggest dicks.

tarheeldan

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2017, 05:39:16 AM »
 I bet they are getting upset at you where there are no bike lanes. I hate coming upon bikers where there aren't any too.  It's just going to be part of the deal unless bikers become commonplace enough that it's not an odd occurrence for the drivers. Some people are jerks, throwing change is crazy.

I might look at your route and behavior from the perspective of the cars. Can I get there about as quickly using quieter roads? Maximize bike lanes? Do I give cars an opportunity to pass safely when it comes up?

There's no getting around that you go way slower than a car, and that's gonna tick people off if they are stuck behind you.

FLBiker

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2017, 07:52:31 AM »
Dress brightly.  Lights and reflectors lots of them.  Keep on keepin on.
+1

I'm shocked that people have thrown change.  I'm a daily bike commuter in a bigish, very non-bike friendly city, and I've never had anything that aggressive happen.  In 8 years, I think I've had someone pass too close / honk around 10 times.  And that's as aggressive as it's gotten.

That said, I do pick my route to be on smaller / quieter roads (w/o bike lanes), rather than big ones (even w/ lanes).

Schaefer Light

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2017, 08:01:03 AM »
There's no getting around that you go way slower than a car, and that's gonna tick people off if they are stuck behind you.

That's it in a nutshell.  If drivers don't like getting stuck behind slower cars (i.e. people going the speed limit), then just imagine how much they hate getting stuck behind bikers (people going maybe half the speed limit).

Slee_stack

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2017, 10:47:03 AM »
It really is drivers feeling unduly inconvenienced.

I think they are asshats for turning a minor inconvenience into some serious affront, but many are just too self absorbed to actually rationalize.

I'm a driver and a cyclist.  People are asshats, not just particular hobbyists.

Do all you can to be courteous (use bike lanes when available, stay as far right as is safe and when appropriate, don't flout lights/signs) and it should be a very rare occurrence that someone gets hostile.

If someone ends up being a jerk, chances are they will have been a jerk to anyone in or on any vehicle.  There are some things you just can't control.

sol

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2017, 11:00:05 AM »
Drivers throw trash out their car windows at me about one per year.  They usually miss.  It's always young men in groups who throw things.  Young women in groups just roll down their windows and yell obscenities at me, which also happens about once per year.

It's easy for me to forgive inattentive drivers who cut me off.  They're not used to sharing the road and they make bad decisions, but they are ignorant and not malevolent.  The women who shout at me, similarly, are being immature and rude but I can forgive such behavior because I believe they will someday grow out of it, and they aren't physically dangerous.  But dudes who throw things I will literally fight, if I can catch them.  I have not yet learned to suppress my rage in those situations.

I'm a work in progress.

Syonyk

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2017, 07:29:38 PM »
What are your preferred tactics for dealing with hostile drivers?

Inattentive: Neon riding (shirt/jacket), neon helmet cover.  Preferably clashing.  I rock a neon yellow riding shirt or jacket depending on weather, and a neon green helmet cover.  They look awful together.  If you don't see me, you're blind.

I've not dealt much with actively hostile, though.  What are the carry permit laws in your state?  Open carry? :)

Quote
My most recently discovery was this little gadget that basically makes your own bike lane with scary red lights to fend off drivers:  http://a.co/eqTr4CT

Those are pretty much junk.  You might see the laser output, at night, in the pitch black.  They're worthless as far as "do your own lane" thing during the day.

I mean, they're a tolerable bike tail light, but you can get something similar for $5 or less.

https://syonyk.blogspot.com/2016/02/teardown-analysis-and-destruction-of-5.html
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

pk_aeryn

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2017, 10:01:53 AM »
I've gotten honked at less and passed more safely since wearing a cheap off brand go-pro camera on top of my helmet (very visibly).  People behave better when they know they're being recorded.  It's great insurance against something happening.

CatInTheHat

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2017, 01:33:40 PM »
Yeah not much you can do.  I just always just mind my own business, ride defensively, and have a "go fuck yourself" loaded and ready to shout.  It's just a sad state of affairs in America. 

frugaliknowit

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2017, 02:58:39 PM »
Just consider the source of the offense.  The offenders:

1.  Less physically fit, more stressed
2.  Less financially fit
3.  Emitting carbon
4.  Rude/inconsiderate
5.  Potentially jealous that they are incapable of doing what you can

When you wanna throw a brick at the ahole, ask yourself, considering the above,  "Who gives a flying fxxk?"

new mustache city

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2017, 12:44:40 PM »
have a "go fuck yourself" loaded and ready to shout

Funny, I heard this from a pedestrian recently. I was riding in a bike lane with a huge sidewalk (easily 4-5x the width of the bike lane) immediately adjacent. This guy was walking with his girlfriend by his side down the middle of the bike lane, taking up the entire width. I approached them from behind, ringing my bell repeatedly (it was completely ignored) and as I went onto the sidewalk to get around them, I said to him "the sidewalk's right there" - without missing a beat the guy angrily shouts (much louder than I was) "GO FUCK YOURSELF!"

Knowing I was in the right there, it didn't matter at all. Still got yelled at, and somehow I am still the asshole (according to that guy). I don't see how it's any different when a cyclist yells at a motorist, regardless of who's right. I guess my point is there is no "right" that matters in such scenarios. There's just anger and ignorance.

The only thing that's going to change anybody's mind is if the police start enforcing laws that protect cyclists & bike lanes.

Since that's not happening anytime soon, I'll just try my best to keep quiet and steer clear of anyone and everyone as much as possible.

Slee_stack

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Re: Dealing with hostility against cyclists?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2017, 01:15:07 PM »
Just consider the source of the offense.  The offenders:

1.  Less physically fit, more stressed
2.  Less financially fit
3.  Emitting carbon
4.  Rude/inconsiderate
5.  Potentially jealous that they are incapable of doing what you can

When you wanna throw a brick at the ahole, ask yourself, considering the above,  "Who gives a flying fxxk?"
I try not to presume.  I do still fail at times.  I think that's the main problem with people.  They think they are 'better than' because of X. 

Honestly, someone on a bike could be worse at all 5 points you make depending on their overall lifestyle.  Why do we need to judge based on transportation du jour?