Poll

Have you experienced cyclist rage?

Yes, the car driver postured abuse (horn/engine/yelling)
Yes, the car driver stopped and confronted me verbally.
Yes, the car driver stopped and confronted me physically.
Yes, the car driver acted out and used their car in a dangerous manner toward me.
No, I have not experienced cyclist rage.

Author Topic: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help  (Read 11867 times)

Ottawa

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Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« on: December 19, 2013, 06:47:16 AM »
Have you as a cyclist experienced this?  I have experienced this several times, including Options 1, 2 and 4 in the poll.  The reason for the rage is almost always the same: ignorance by the clown car driver of both the cyclists' rights and road rules.  It is their belief that a bicycle is not a vehicle that should be on a road.  I also think these are very angry people, usually stressed by other things in life...like commuting by car?

The interaction has usually been the same: Clown car revs engine, honks and occupant yells expletives out their window as they roar off down the road.  Often they threaten me personally by moving the vehicle close to me.  They actually don't want a real physical confrontation.  I know, I've invited them to pull over and chat.

Yesterday, was an interesting one.  I was leaving work via a long parking lot.  I noticed a car leaving the conjoined parking lot the next building down from me.  The vehicle was about 100 metres away.  It had snowed a fair bit recently and safety dictated that I bike in the middle of the main thoroughfare to exit the parking lot, rather than stick to the edge.  The car roared up behind me at a parking lot intersection stop sign and started honking their horn.  I continued through the stop sign into the next parking lot and the engine revving/honkin continued as they came up beside me.  The window opened and a man yelled expletives and swerved toward me.  I kicked the side of his car (unfortunately it was a very light tap).  The man immediately slammed on his brakes and got out of the car.  I prepared to defend myself.  The guy was livid (but probably curtailed his intent when he realized I was 6" taller than him) :

Guy: You can't ride in the middle of the road.
Me: You wouldn't act like this if I were a car would you?
Guy: Bikes aren't allowed on the road.
Me: This is a parking lot, and besides - yes they are.
Guy: I'm surprised you are still alive.
Me: You're lucky I'm a nice guy, otherwise you might not be.

He jumps back in his car and roars off onto the main road.  Usually I have my helmet cam running, but don't turn it on until I leave the parking lots...so when I post video it is sort of anonymous as to where I work.  I forgot to turn it on during the confrontation, but did as he was leaving...so I caught his car and licence.  Here's the interesting thing - I don't think he knew that I was from the area, rather that I was just cutting through the parking lot.  On my way to work this morning I took a small detour and found his car. 

This guy is clearly a major risk to the safety of cyclists; at least.  What do you guys think I should do?  I've thought about leaving literature on this windshield, including the rules of the road.  I doubt it would help.  Ideas?

Thanks!

anastrophe

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 06:52:45 AM »
Let's not forget the rage of the multi-use path: when one person is going 20mph booking it, and the other person is walking their dog in the middle of the path wearing earbuds. Somewhat different from the road safety rage, but I've seen *fights* on so-called recreational multi-use paths.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 06:59:22 AM »
I don't know how seriously your local police would take your testimony (probably not very seriously with no video), but it might be worth it to drop by your local station and ask them for advice. If anything, if they do record your testimony, the prosecutor will have documented incidents and motive to use when that guy ends up killing someone.

fodder69

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 06:59:44 AM »
Wow. That is a tough one but I am going to try to take the high(ish) road. I might be tempted to find out where he worked and confront him sans  bicycle. Best case, catching him in a different mood and perhaps having an actual conversation and perhaps changing his attitude some. Being in a car detaches people from, well, everything, and people do things they wouldn't do in person.

Worst case, you have to pummel him. So win/win?

myllanac

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 07:16:35 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?

martynthewolf

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 07:17:22 AM »
I've had the yelling, telling me I should be using the pavement. Which I just kind of laughed of and wasn't particularly dangerous. Then on another occasion a dick in a VW Golf overtook me on the right hand side as I was attempting to turn right. I was signalling my intent and everything, but they thought it was acceptable. I really really wanted to put some hurt on that driver. A second or so later on the overtake and I would have been a statistic.

They, however are the only two bad experiences I've had in almost a year of cycle commuting.

martynthewolf

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 07:20:52 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?

I take up the whole lane for example if I need to turn right. I don't think anyone would take the whole lane constantly, that would be antisocial. It is more dangerous for people to cycle on side walks (pavements) and in the U.K is illegal.

golfer44

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 07:27:38 AM »
Kicking car doors, starting confrontations, acting like you're a badass (saying the only reason the guy is still alive is because you're a nice guy?)... I don't dig it, man.

Be safe out there.

myllanac

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 07:29:47 AM »
I don't think anyone would take the whole lane constantly, that would be antisocial.
The ones I see (granted, there aren't bike lanes around where I live) hug the shoulder but it's not enough space to safely pass them. They  still have to swerve around the cyclist and that puts them into the lane next to them.

So if you are "stuck" behind a cyclist, it's frustrating because if I wanted to go 15 mph on the road, I'd ride my own bike. I don't want to go that slow, and if it were a car going that slow in front of me, it would be an impediment to traffic. Why are bikes not an impediment?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2013, 07:30:36 AM »
Had a lady scream "you asshole!" at me and then zoom off. I was simultaneously mystified and pissed off. That said, the vast majority of drivers are cautious and considerate.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2013, 07:36:47 AM »
Why are bikes not an impediment?

At the risk of sounding like a smug asshat, because we're not the ones destroying the planet.

smalllife

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2013, 07:38:31 AM »
I don't think anyone would take the whole lane constantly, that would be antisocial.
The ones I see (granted, there aren't bike lanes around where I live) hug the shoulder but it's not enough space to safely pass them. They  still have to swerve around the cyclist and that puts them into the lane next to them.

So if you are "stuck" behind a cyclist, it's frustrating because if I wanted to go 15 mph on the road, I'd ride my own bike. I don't want to go that slow, and if it were a car going that slow in front of me, it would be an impediment to traffic. Why are bikes not an impediment?

It is legal in most places to go into the other lane to avoid a cyclist and give them safe passage.  So you are only "stuck" until there is a break in traffic from the other direction, just as much as an impediment as a stop sign or red light, except that you get to continue moving.

Boz86

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2013, 07:39:53 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?
Farm tractors only did 15mph, at least the one's I grew up on, and they could drive anywhere there wasn't a minimum speed posted.

Ottawa

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2013, 07:40:23 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?

This is going to depend on your local laws/bylaws.  In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada:

Quote
A cyclist is a driver of a vehicle
It should be noted that in Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA) and in Ottawa’s bylaw the definition of a vehicle includes a bicycle. As such, a cyclist is a driver of a vehicle with, unless stated otherwise, the same rights and responsibilities as a driver of a motor vehicle.

Ontario law treats a cyclist as a road user equal to a motorist and provides them with certain advantages (for example, if cyclists were not exempt from the tailgating regulation, group riding as we know it would be illegal). This differs with traffic law in some other provinces. BC and Quebec for example do not recognize a bicycle as a vehicle. These provinces place cyclists in a separate category and subject them to additional, and sometimes onerous, requirements.

Impeding traffic
The police officer in the video said the cyclist was impeding traffic by riding in the centre of the lane and appeared to write a ticket for such (under which section remains unconfirmed.) The police officer presenting at the forum mentioned that cyclists riding in a group could put themselves in a situation where they would be subject to the requirements of the section on “impeding traffic”. A visual scan of both the HTA and Ottawa’s traffic bylaw produced only the following,

132. (1) No motor vehicle shall be driven on a highway at such a slow rate of speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic thereon except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances.

It is clear that this section was written specifically to exclude bicycles and other human powered vehicles whose rate of speed is obviously limited to less than that of motorized vehicles.


My emphasis in bold.  In particular - I am allowed to ride on the road at all times.  I am allowed to ride in the middle of the road if I don't impede traffic OR when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation having regard to all the circumstances.  In winter in Ottawa this would apply on most roads.

Source and much more: http://cycle.ottawacitizen.com/news/guest-posting-cycling-and-the-law

Ottawa

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2013, 07:45:24 AM »
Kicking car doors, starting confrontations, acting like you're a badass (saying the only reason the guy is still alive is because you're a nice guy?)... I don't dig it, man.

Be safe out there.

Starting confrontations - no, not what happened - you didn't read the part about the honking, yelling at swerving toward me?  That was the initial confrontation....which leads to:
kicking car door - How close was the car swerving toward me that I would be able to hit his car door in slippery snow conditions?  VERY CLOSE - this is what you do to get attention and survive.
Badass - Yes, generally cycling is badass.  When someone issues me a death threat...I think my comment was fairly subdued.

This thread is already becoming educative from my experience.  That's a good thing.

Sparafusile

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2013, 07:46:04 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?

Bicycles are vehicles just like cars or trucks when they are on the road. Yes, bicycle riders are allowed to take up the entire lane if they need to for safety reasons. Typically, riders will stay towards the curb in order to allow faster traffic to pass them easier, but are not required to do so. Bicycle riders have the same rights as cars and have to obey the same laws.

Sidewalks are for pedestrian traffic and bicyclists are prohibited from using them. This is not enforced of course, but the ones on the road are more in the right than those on the sidewalks.

dragoncar

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2013, 07:49:24 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?

I take up the whole lane for example if I need to turn right. I don't think anyone would take the whole lane constantly, that would be antisocial. It is more dangerous for people to cycle on side walks (pavements) and in the U.K is illegal.

Yeah, please no.  The only time I experience cyclist rage is when I get pissed a cyclists biking on a busy sidewalk.

golfer44

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2013, 07:56:17 AM »
Kicking car doors, starting confrontations, acting like you're a badass (saying the only reason the guy is still alive is because you're a nice guy?)... I don't dig it, man.

Be safe out there.

Starting confrontations - no, not what happened - you didn't read the part about the honking, yelling at swerving toward me?  That was the initial confrontation....which leads to:
kicking car door - How close was the car swerving toward me that I would be able to hit his car door in slippery snow conditions?  VERY CLOSE - this is what you do to get attention and survive.
Badass - Yes, generally cycling is badass.  When someone issues me a death threat...I think my comment was fairly subdued.

This thread is already becoming educative from my experience.  That's a good thing.

I stand by my post. Good luck fella.

Cyrano

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2013, 07:56:29 AM »
Making not so veiled threats to an already angry person who will be in a position to kill you the moment they get back in their car is foolish. You were in the right from a road use perspective, but when it comes to a confrontation, you are in no position to escalate.

Ottawa

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2013, 08:01:37 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?

I take up the whole lane for example if I need to turn right. I don't think anyone would take the whole lane constantly, that would be antisocial. It is more dangerous for people to cycle on side walks (pavements) and in the U.K is illegal.

Yeah, please no.  The only time I experience cyclist rage is when I get pissed a cyclists biking on a busy sidewalk.

It is illegal to bike on sidewalks...sort of like it is illegal to drive on sidewalks.  Now, multi purpose bike/walk/run paths with a middle yellow line (we have a lot of these in Ottawa) have their own rules.  Having said that...I let my kid ride her tricycle on the sidewalk..common sense.

For instance, the capital pathways:

Quote
Cyclists and In-line Skaters
•Travel at a safe speed (maximum speed: 20 kilometres/hour). The pathways are for recreational use; to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone, faster cyclists are encouraged to use other more-suitable routes.
•Yield to pedestrians at all times.
•Pass only on the left, after first making sure that the lane is clear ahead and behind.
•Sound your bell or call out a warning before passing.
•Travel in single file.
http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places-to-visit/parks-paths/courtesy-safety-capital-pathway

For the record - I have NEVER had an issue on our capital pathway system, such as people angry at me.  I actively and courteously avoid/warn using my bell/airhorn, earbud wearing/smartphone using pedestrians that do not adhere to the rights of way due to distraction.  These folks are usually very apologetic at having been in an inattentive stupor.
http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/tourist-walks-off-pier-in-australia-while-checking-facebook-on-smartphone/

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2013, 08:10:56 AM »
@Ottawa - I've definitely seen serious cyclists avoid the multi-use paths where I live. As far as I know there's no laws putting speed limits in place but it sorts out that way regardless.

The only reason I stick to the path is that it gives a much better route through the center of town than the street it runs parallel to. And I'm not badass enough to exceed 20kph (yet) anways :P

Ottawa

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2013, 08:15:39 AM »
Making not so veiled threats to an already angry person who will be in a position to kill you the moment they get back in their car is foolish. You were in the right from a road use perspective, but when it comes to a confrontation, you are in no position to escalate.

True, probably I was a little amped from having been treated with blatant disrespect and placed in real danger from an angry person in a hulking metal clown car.  I probably could have just eaten the guys veiled death threat.  But I didn't.

Also, I was beside the car in a parking lot when he got out of his car.  I was in no danger...

The point here folks is that I have an opportunity to perhaps educate an ignorant person.  So do you.  What if we can do that?  What if because we do that he doesn't run over and kill someone - like you or your loved one?  What if because of this thread YOU think a little differently next time you encounter a cyclist (or anyone else).  Because after all, a fella with this type of attitude will road rage on other drivers, pedestrians etc. 

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2013, 08:28:22 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?

I take up the whole lane for example if I need to turn right. I don't think anyone would take the whole lane constantly, that would be antisocial. It is more dangerous for people to cycle on side walks (pavements) and in the U.K is illegal.

I always take the whole lane, because there isn't space for a car and a bike to be side-by-side in the same lane (at least where I live) and I don't want them sideswiping me.

Biking on the sidewalk is illegal in most places AFAIK, and I think the reasoning for that is that sidewalks are for pedestrians, and bikes may be a danger to pedestrians.

**Edited to add: I forgot to mention that for this reason I only ride on roads that have at least 2 lanes in either direction, so I'm not holding up traffic. if that's not possible I will walk my bike on the sidewalk, but it's pretty much always possible to find a route that works.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 08:35:20 AM by oscarsmom »

Russ

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2013, 08:30:15 AM »
In over 30,000 miles of lifetime bike riding I have never experienced road rage, and I almost find stories like this unbelievable.

I hate to say this because I know everyone here does the best they can for themselves at any given time, but if trouble follows you... you might want to reconsider whether all the drivers out there are on a personal vendetta against you, or if maybe you're part of the cause.

The point here folks is that I have an opportunity to perhaps educate an ignorant person.

Really? there's no way in hell you're gonna "educate" this guy, especially after an altercation like that. What would you do in his position? In my experience, when someone's in that state they are much more likely to dig in their heels, throw out any education you put his way, and give you a big old fuck you.

Double that if you go into it with the attitude of educating an ignorant person, rather than having a two-way discussion. Nobody likes people who tell you they're right, even if they happen to be right.

More likely to change minds by leading by example and being the courteous cyclist rather than giving this guy a piece of your mind. Unfortunately that ship has sailed on this one.

matchewed

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2013, 08:46:48 AM »
At best you've just reinforced someone's perception that bicyclists are assholes, that reinforcement will perpetuate his actions, perhaps exacerbate it.

I'm not saying your wrong but if your intention was to educate this guy the altercation may not have been the best way. I understand this guy was being an asshole to you first, creating a threatening atmosphere, and being dangerous to you. Is the best reaction escalation in this situation?

I've had to yell at cars before but that is generally for them not being aware I'm there (people who pass left turning cars on the right and eat the shoulder for an example).

That said I know where your coming from but in order to create that atmosphere of sharing the road we do sometimes have to swallow our anger and move on. I'd like to say that I'd do that if I were in your position, but I don't know, maybe I will, maybe I won't.

Ottawa

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2013, 08:59:22 AM »
In over 30,000 miles of lifetime bike riding I have never experienced road rage, and I almost find stories like this unbelievable.

I hate to say this because I know everyone here does the best they can for themselves at any given time, but if trouble follows you... you might want to reconsider whether all the drivers out there are on a personal vendetta against you, or if maybe you're part of the cause.

In over 45,000 miles of lifetime bike riding I have experienced road rage THREE times.  All of those times were in the last 3 months.  I don't think people have a personal vendetta Russ, I do think it is a statistical anomaly though.  Each of those times I can assure you I was 100% in the right with respect to the road rules.  Each of those times I was threatened physically by the car.  I think I have earned the right to be just a little pissed off when it happens.  It is MY LIFE on the line.  I'm not going to be a nice guy when this happens.  These people are ALREADY in a position of anger before they encounter me.  So, a polite two way conversation when an IGNORANT FUCK with a purple rage head comes at me is not really on my mind at the time. 

Really? there's no way in hell you're gonna "educate" this guy, especially after an altercation like that. What would you do in his position? In my experience, when someone's in that state they are much more likely to dig in their heels, throw out any education you put his way, and give you a big old fuck you.

Double that if you go into it with the attitude of educating an ignorant person, rather than having a two-way discussion. Nobody likes people who tell you they're right, even if they happen to be right.

More likely to change minds by leading by example and being the courteous cyclist rather than giving this guy a piece of your mind. Unfortunately that ship has sailed on this one.

I thought you had no experience in over 30,000 miles of riding Russ?  How can you tell me about your experience when you have never had your LIFE seen as a disposable nuisance?  How do you know how you would react?  I can assure you you won't think it is a wonderful opportunity to have a polite 2 way conversation in the moment of adrenalin coursing through you. 

Hard to know how many minds I've changed in 45,000 miles of polite biking (this current incident being the first verbal altercation).  I've nothing but respect for the road rules and have exchanged many many hellos, smiles and "you go ahead" gestures in my time.  I think I've done my fair share of polite leading by example biking, which of course I will continue to do. 

I'm suggesting that a polite two way conversation will never be had in the situation that I encountered.  Even a polite one-way conversation on behalf of the cyclist is futile.  This is why I am soliciting suggestions on what to do post incident...because I GIVE A FUCK.  And I have the unusual situation that I actually know where the individual works.  Let's think outside the box here...for instance - it doesn't have to be me that somehow gets information to him.  I believe education will work.  These RARE situations are because the indidual has a false (and yes, ignorant) belief about the legalities.  Perhaps if they were to actually read the law...they might accept the situation a little more?

willn

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2013, 09:15:05 AM »

This guy is clearly a major risk to the safety of cyclists; at least.  What do you guys think I should do?  I've thought about leaving literature on this windshield, including the rules of the road.  I doubt it would help.  Ideas?

Thanks!

I think passive gestures like the literature would just further his annoyance at cyclists.  I think you should just have a conversation with him.  Lots of times guys like this had a shitty day and don't really want to kill anyone.  If you approach with some humility "Hey man, I'm just trying to get home to my family like you.  I know it can seem inconvenient if I'm in your way but usually its only for a few moments and then you can speed off.  No hard feelings?"  Maybe make it obvious you have the camera rolling when you ride.

You'll know quickly if he's a decent human or a true douche.   If he goes the douche route, walk away, there's nothing more to be done except stay out of his way.

Russ

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2013, 09:18:19 AM »
I thought you had no experience in over 30,000 miles of riding Russ?  How can you tell me about your experience when you have never had your LIFE seen as a disposable nuisance?  How do you know how you would react?

Experience with road rage, no. Experience with very very angry people (off the bike), yes.

I'm sorry if what I wrote was unclear, but I was thinking about the perspective of the driver, not the cyclist in your situation. Sure, I don't know exactly what I would do in your position. But I imagine the driver is just like any other very very angry person, and doesn't want to be educated by you or anybody else

Quote
I can assure you you won't think it is a wonderful opportunity to have a polite 2 way conversation in the moment of adrenalin coursing through you. 

I meant that it would be more productive to approach the guy and have this conversation now, rather than a one-way assault of pamphlets on cycling laws. Sure that probably wouldn't have flown in the heat of the moment.

Nothlit

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2013, 09:22:23 AM »
Call me ignorant, but why are bikes allowed to take up a whole lane of traffic? If a car were driving 15 mph and taking up a lane, that person would get a ticket for impeding traffic. If there are sidewalks, why aren't bikes made to use them rather than the road?

Because it is unsafe to ride a bicycle on most sidewalks, and in many jurisdictions it is illegal. Motorists are less likely to be looking for a fast-moving wheeled vehicle coming down the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk puts you at risk for colliding with cars exiting from driveways, turning at intersections, etc. Riding in the travel lane makes a cyclist part of the normal flow of traffic, which is a much safer place to be. The laws vary from state to state, but if a lane is wide enough for a cyclist and motorist to safely share side-by-side, most states encourage or require cyclists to ride to the right side of the lane to facilitate motorists overtaking them. However, if the lane is too narrow to safely share side-by-side, then in most states cyclists are allowed by law to take the whole lane. In that case, motorists must change lanes to pass the cyclist, much as they would do to pass a slower car, tractor, horseback rider, etc. The general rule of thumb is that a lane needs to be at least 14 feet wide in order for a bicycle and a car to have enough room to share the lane side-by-side. In a lot of places, especially around here in New England, very few lanes are 14 feet wide, so it is almost always safer (and legal) to take the lane.

As far as impeding goes, if bicycles are legally allowed on the roads (which they are), then a cyclist cannot by definition be impeding traffic if he is traveling at a reasonable speed for his type of vehicle (bicycle). Roads that have minimum speed limits typically also expressly prohibit bicycles anyway (e.g., limited access freeways).

The bottom line is that traffic laws exist to protect the safety of all road users, including cyclists, not to ensure that one class of users can drive as fast as they want at all times.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 09:42:00 AM by Nothlit »

Ottawa

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2013, 09:28:00 AM »
I think passive gestures like the literature would just further his annoyance at cyclists.  I think you should just have a conversation with him.  Lots of times guys like this had a shitty day and don't really want to kill anyone.  If you approach with some humility "Hey man, I'm just trying to get home to my family like you.  I know it can seem inconvenient if I'm in your way but usually its only for a few moments and then you can speed off.  No hard feelings?"  Maybe make it obvious you have the camera rolling when you ride.

You'll know quickly if he's a decent human or a true douche.   If he goes the douche route, walk away, there's nothing more to be done except stay out of his way.

I meant that it would be more productive to approach the guy and have this conversation now, rather than a one-way assault of pamphlets on cycling laws.

Now you guys are talking!  I like the idea of walking over to the next building...and having a chat.  That is much more civilized and will be entirely unexpected!  I will think about how to do that...since it is a secure building...and I don't know his name.

TrMama

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2013, 09:34:48 AM »
This guy is clearly a major risk to the safety of cyclists; at least.  What do you guys think I should do?  I've thought about leaving literature on this windshield, including the rules of the road.  I doubt it would help.  Ideas?

Thanks!

Call the police and report him for dangerous driving, road rage, etc. I'm sure the police will know what to charge him with when you describe the situation

Off the read the rest of the replies.

Undecided

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2013, 09:47:06 AM »
It's infrequent. But it happens, and it happens differently in different places. In some places, it seems to require a perfect storm (stressed driver already teed off about something, rightly of wrongly perceives some offense from cyclist, and doesn't enforce appropriate self control). In other places it's just a fact of life that there are non-socialized cavemen who have learned to drive a car. I've ridden a lot (I don't have details going back over the 25 years I've been riding bikes "seriously," but in the past 8 years I've ridden over 130,000 miles), in many places in the US and Europe, and a bit in Asia, often with locals (such that I think I get the local twists pretty quickly). I've had all those experiences, but only a few times was it out of nowhere (e.g., no traffic issues or large groups of cyclists that likely pissed off the driver). But in the U.S., I've had men from high-schoolers to the elderly make obviously intentional assaults with or from their cars.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 09:48:59 AM by Undecided »

TrMama

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2013, 09:57:30 AM »
In many years of bike commuting and recreational road riding I've had 3 incidents with drivers and one where a creepy guy followed me on the bike path. In all cases the rage comes immediately following a driver doing something so careless or aggressive that it caused my life to flash before my eyes. Right after the moment when I realize I'm not actually going to die all that adrenaline is converted to liquid rage flowing through my blood as I realize the jerk nearly killed me. I'm normally a quiet, soft spoken, mellow person, so I really have no coping mechanism for dealing with the adrenaline and rage (if one even exists).

Last week was the most recent one. I was biking home from work in the dark. Although I'm lit up like a Christmas tree and wear a reflective yellow vest, I still assume I'm invisible to drivers. I had to turn left at a minor intersection from the main road (no stop sign) onto a minor road (with stop signs). There was oncoming traffic so I stopped in the middle of the lane, signaled left with my arm and waited for a break in traffic so I could turn. Suddenly, I hear a horn honking behind me. I'm instantly terrified that some asshole is going to hit me from behind, and there's nowhere for me to go.

My choices are to call the bluff of the honking person behind me (who I can't see) or move into oncoming traffic (if there's even time). As he passed me (on the right) he yelled at me to get off the road and I yelled back that I had the right of way and Fuck You! The whole thing took about 10 seconds. I shook for the rest of the evening.

It was too dark and everything happened so fast that I couldn't see his plate#. Otherwise I'd have reported him for dangerous driving to the police from my cell on the side of the road.

Don't confront the driver at work. Call the police and let them deal with it.

mpbaker22

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2013, 10:06:06 AM »
I haven't ridden to work in a while.  However, I have to take a 5 lane road for about half a mile immediately leaving the exit of work, before I can get onto a slower road.  I the most egregious was when one guy yell out his window at me - something about staying off the road and he's going to hit me next time.  I briefly thought about calling the police to report a death threat, but I didn't get his plates or video.

The most common is people passing to closely, but I don't think that's on purpose, typically.

The 2nd most egregious was when I was on a road with 2 lanes in my direction and a car turned to move in the same direction as me.  He switched lanes during his turn (which is illegal), clearly with the intention of passing all the cars on the right.  Since, I was in the right lane, I was impeding his progress around all the slow moving cars in the left lane.  He blared down on the horn and nearly hit me before switching back to the left lane.  I flicked him off as he drove away.  I think this one was pretty bad because 1) the driver made an illegal, even if common, maneuver, 2) his illegal maneuver was the only reason I was in his way, and 3) I was in his way specifically because he put himself behind me by choice.

From the other side, I was extremely annoyed when a group of about 20 cyclists decided to run a stop sign at a 4-way stop.  They were riding single file, and it took every bit of self control not to simply pull out from the stop sign (Which I was legally entitled to do) and let one of them hit me.

Ottawa

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2013, 10:26:23 AM »
From the other side, I was extremely annoyed when a group of about 20 cyclists decided to run a stop sign at a 4-way stop.  They were riding single file, and it took every bit of self control not to simply pull out from the stop sign (Which I was legally entitled to do) and let one of them hit me.

I hear you for sure!  I've seen some pretty dick-head moves by cyclists while biking and driving.  I've also seen an equal number of dick-head moves by cars in general (i.e. endangering themselves and other cars/pedestrians).  Most of the time these dangerous moves are not even realized to be dangerous by the people doing them (i.e. it is their normal behaviour...albeit on the illegal side of the scale).  I am fairly confident that most of these transgressions are not done with ill intent, rather just blissfull ignorance in pursuit of saving time or annoyance..whatever.  It is the VERY SMALL subset of these people (with anger and ill intent/fantasy) that the person in my parking lot example belonged to. 

Here's the thing though.  A cyclist will lose vs. a vehicle 100% of the time.  Cars have the luxury of making mistakes and not paying for it.  Cyclists do not.  People just don't see rationally beyond their anger.  It is in that moment that very bad things can happen.

somepissedoffman

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2013, 10:31:10 AM »
I think there is a chance to change this guy's mind.  I definitely don't fault you for your reaction in the moment, I've had one incident like this (I took the left lane to turn left, because I didn't want to play frogger from the right lane at the last minute, guy pulled up next to me at light, death threats etc...), and it's REALLY hard to keep your cool.  The trick would be to come across as calm and sincere, and willing to have an open discussion.  Maybe offer to buy him lunch, or something?   If you contact this fellow and come across as preachy or condescending (easy to do, because he is wrong and a menace to society), then the door will probably close.  Good luck!

mulescent

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2013, 11:28:45 AM »
I live in Seattle and have definitely experienced yelling, cursing and threats.  I've also experienced aggressive, dangerous driving moves that didn't endanger me but could have killed a pedestrian or other driver (e.g. someone speeding around me on a residential two way street full of peds and traffic).

I think there is a real misunderstanding of cyclists by motorists, even in this thread.  Motorists out there need to appreciate a few facts:

1)  The roads are public infrastructure that we ALL pay for and have the right to use.

2)  The relationship between cyclists and motorists is extremely asymmetric.  As a cyclist, you have little chance of surviving an encounter with a car above 30 mph.  As a motorist, there is no way a cyclist could ever endanger you (unless you do something boneheaded).

3)  Motorists can make use of freeways and major arterials, meaning that they shouldn't complain about being slowed by cyclists on surface streets.

4)  Cycling very close to parked cars is EXTREMELY dangerous, because motorists often open doors into bike lanes/traffic without looking.  Thus, cyclists are fully justified in taking the full lane when parked cars are present (and in many other circumstances).

I agree with all the suggestions that OP should keep a cool head, but having been in very similar situations I can say it's hard.  When your life is in danger you tend to react.  OP should contact the police and make sure the offender is prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law.  If there aren't laws against road rage, then OP should advocate for them!



mpbaker22

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2013, 11:52:35 AM »
I live in Seattle and have definitely experienced yelling, cursing and threats.  I've also experienced aggressive, dangerous driving moves that didn't endanger me but could have killed a pedestrian or other driver (e.g. someone speeding around me on a residential two way street full of peds and traffic).

I think there is a real misunderstanding of cyclists by motorists, even in this thread.  Motorists out there need to appreciate a few facts:

1)  The roads are public infrastructure that we ALL pay for and have the right to use.

2)  The relationship between cyclists and motorists is extremely asymmetric.  As a cyclist, you have little chance of surviving an encounter with a car above 30 mph.  As a motorist, there is no way a cyclist could ever endanger you (unless you do something boneheaded).

3)  Motorists can make use of freeways and major arterials, meaning that they shouldn't complain about being slowed by cyclists on surface streets.

4)  Cycling very close to parked cars is EXTREMELY dangerous, because motorists often open doors into bike lanes/traffic without looking. Thus, cyclists are fully justified in taking the full lane when parked cars are present (and in many other circumstances).

Also, most areas that aren't cycling friendly tend to shove all their debris to the side of the road.  Even if there aren't parked cars, you might be looking at gravel, broken grass, brush, trash cans, etc.

ace1224

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2013, 12:03:33 PM »
there is no bike lane where i live unless you count the space to the right of the white line, which i don't.  most roads where i live are not bike friendly with more than a few bike deaths in the last year (although totally the bikers fault, biking in the dark while intoxicated is never a good idea, esp without reflective equipment)  even though its illegal everyone i see, including myself bikes on the sidewalk when they can. 
i don't like the idea of being inches from speeding cars on a two lane road.  plus people get mad when they can't go around you

Greg

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2013, 12:12:54 PM »
I can't vote in the poll, it doesn't have any options for cyclists being the "ragers."  While I haven't had any car drivers do anything wrong while I was on my bike, I have had the opposite happen a few times. 

Once recently a cyclist entered a roundabout that I was in without yielding and I had to take evasive action.  I honked a warning and got the middle-finger and angry words that I couldn't hear.  This isn't typical behavior for all cyclists but might be for this guy, and it sticks in my mind and was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this thread.

melalvai

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2013, 12:31:48 PM »
I never confront. Never.

Because every time I have broken that rule, I regret it. (Giving the lie to my "never" statement.)

I am not going to change anyone's mind or behavior by confronting them. I think I'm calm-- I'm not. I may actually be using fine persuasive logic & reason-- it doesn't matter because they're not going to listen. Once I told an old lady who shook her fist at us, "We were not using the bike lane because it's full of broken glass & debris, and I know you want my young daughter to be safe." Well, the mere fact that she was an old lady did NOT make her compassionate, reasonable, or sensible. She told me we don't deserve to be on the roads because we don't pay taxes.

If I had continued the argument in the parking lot, it would only have escalated. It would never ever have convinced her of anything.

I can't stand the helpless feeling or the rage I feel when harassed. (It's worse when it's my daughter who is harassed.) I have discovered two things that take away those feelings.

1) Bike/ped advocacy. Volunteer, donate, respond to action alerts.
2) Talk and write about the joys & benefits of biking for transportation. Including the legal rights of bikes, and all the reasons why you riding your bike is great for everyone else. (When you bike, you free up a parking space for someone else, for example.)

The local newspaper started having these community bloggers, and I jumped on that opportunity. So my blog, Bicycling & Walking Around, is on the newspaper website & some of my articles also appears in print.

I imagine two scenarios.
a) Someone is out on the highway and has to slow down for a cyclist. Everyone knows roads are for cars and she honks and screams obscenities as she narrowly buzzes past the cyclist.
b) Someone is out on the highway and sees a cyclist. He just read my article about how bicyclists pay taxes that pay for roads. He slows down, waits for the other lane to clear, and waves as he passes the cyclist with plenty of room to spare. When he gets home he gets that old bike out of the garage.

Gender pronouns aside-- these are the same person. The difference was my article.

mm1970

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2013, 12:55:29 PM »
"Why are bikes not an impediment?"

Because they are a legal vehicle on the road.

mulescent

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »
I can't vote in the poll, it doesn't have any options for cyclists being the "ragers."  While I haven't had any car drivers do anything wrong while I was on my bike, I have had the opposite happen a few times. 

Once recently a cyclist entered a roundabout that I was in without yielding and I had to take evasive action.  I honked a warning and got the middle-finger and angry words that I couldn't hear.  This isn't typical behavior for all cyclists but might be for this guy, and it sticks in my mind and was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this thread.

This is a great point.  Cyclists who don't obey the rules undermine the whole system, too. 

CommonCents

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2013, 01:50:21 PM »
I can't vote in the poll, it doesn't have any options for cyclists being the "ragers."  While I haven't had any car drivers do anything wrong while I was on my bike, I have had the opposite happen a few times. 

Once recently a cyclist entered a roundabout that I was in without yielding and I had to take evasive action.  I honked a warning and got the middle-finger and angry words that I couldn't hear.  This isn't typical behavior for all cyclists but might be for this guy, and it sticks in my mind and was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this thread.

This is a great point.  Cyclists who don't obey the rules undermine the whole system, too.

+1
I've had many incidents of bikes not obeying the rules.  Fortunately, we were able to avoid any incidences.  I usually want to open my window to start to tell them that they were lucky (e.g. suddenly swerving from the right lane into turning left, with no signals), but my DH is very against that because of biker rage and uselessness factor.

thepokercab

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #44 on: December 19, 2013, 02:07:11 PM »
Quote
Being in a car detaches people from, well, everything, and people do things they wouldn't do in person

This is so true.  I feel like as a pedestrian or bike rider, my senses need to be on full alert at all times, where as some people in cars have their senses dulled down to nothing.  I was no exception.  Now that I bike and walk a lot more, in the rare times I do drive, I feel like I am a lot more cognizant of my surroundings. 

I actually have had the most issues with cars as a pedestrian walking.  I'm extra cautious to obey all pedestrian signals, but it can still be dangerous.  I'll look at drivers faces coming to make a right hand turn before I cross a cross-walk and I can see that they have no idea I am even there. They just roll right into the stop sign and keep going, oblivious to my existence. More than once I have nearly been hit by a car, while walking, while they try to make a right hand turn or they are trying to turn left into me. I'll walk my 4 year old daughter to school, and that will usually help as people don't seem to be eager to hit a child, but sometimes they still don't care, and will try to thread the needle- making their right or left turn right in front of me as we're walking, and as I'm frantically pulling my daughter to safety.  Sorry- cars suck. 

CanuckExpat

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2013, 02:13:34 PM »
"Consider insults to be like a dog barking at you. When the dog barks, you make a note that it might not like you, but you certainly don't argue with the dog or get upset by it."

"Insulters are often overgrown children worthy of our pity, not our anger...What makes us upset is not the thing itself but our reaction to it. A good response to an insult is humorous, or no response at all."

CanuckExpat

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #46 on: December 19, 2013, 02:17:46 PM »
So if you are "stuck" behind a cyclist, it's frustrating because if I wanted to go 15 mph on the road, I'd ride my own bike. I don't want to go that slow, and if it were a car going that slow in front of me, it would be an impediment to traffic. Why are bikes not an impediment?

bikes are not an impediment to traffic, because they are traffic.
As always, check the laws in your local jurisdiction.

"Clearly—well, perhaps not so clearly to those who harbor the mistaken view that “traffic” means “motor vehicle traffic”—“the normal speed of traffic” will be the prevailing speed at the time and place and under the conditions then existing, and that prevailing speed will be the speed of the club ride. While I don’t mean to imply that cyclists should disregard common courtesy to others, it’s clear that under the law, when the prevailing speed of traffic is the speed set by cyclists, they cannot be ticketed for failure to ride to the right. It should be just as clear to cyclists that, although not required, common courtesy should prevail when it’s safe to let other traffic past."
http://www.bicyclelaw.com/articles/a.cfm/legally-speaking-two-by-two

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2013, 02:19:08 PM »
I actually have had the most issues with cars as a pedestrian walking.  I'm extra cautious to obey all pedestrian signals, but it can still be dangerous.  I'll look at drivers faces coming to make a right hand turn before I cross a cross-walk and I can see that they have no idea I am even there. They just roll right into the stop sign and keep going, oblivious to my existence. More than once I have nearly been hit by a car, while walking, while they try to make a right hand turn or they are trying to turn left into me. I'll walk my 4 year old daughter to school, and that will usually help as people don't seem to be eager to hit a child, but sometimes they still don't care, and will try to thread the needle- making their right or left turn right in front of me as we're walking, and as I'm frantically pulling my daughter to safety.  Sorry- cars suck.

UGH, THIS. I walk/run a lot more than I bike and I definitely notice this. People on their phones who don't see me REALLY make me want to scream!

fodder69

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Re: Cyclist Rage Poll; Your Experiences and Help
« Reply #48 on: December 19, 2013, 06:47:51 PM »
Quote
Once recently a cyclist entered a roundabout that I was in without yielding and I had to take evasive action.  I honked a warning and got the middle-finger and angry words that I couldn't hear.

I am going to start with the contrary view, and say your evasive action action consisted of tapping the brakes to slow down. You are going around a round about, so your speed would not have been more than about 15 mph or so, so there was no danger of a high speed collision or you having to put yourself into a ditch to avoid killing the cyclist, sound about right?

After we think about that for a second...wasn't that big of a deal in the scheme of things, was it? When cyclists violate automobile operators rights the automobile operators get, what, a scratch on the car; if it's bad enough to cause a fatality, maybe a dent? When automobile drivers violate cyclists rights, more than likely, people die or are gravely injured.

I almost don't want to segue into this, because I don't want to play the 'both sides do it' that is so common to "journalism" these days, but...cyclists are a**holes. Most of us ride as if we are above the law, and really, above common courtesy. I have tried so many times to get people to realize that the rights go to the person and NOT the vehicle. Yes, you feel superior because you are riding your bike (and you are!), but the person in the car doesn't deserve any lesser rights or courtesy than you! And I say this as someone that has commuted, ridden and raced bikes for years since I didn't have a car until I was 28.

But the bottom line for those of you still getting annoyed with cyclists on the road is a) it is really not costing you much time, and b) your impatience by passing unsafely or what have you, can cost lives! It may be just some guy slowing you down by 15 seconds getting to the grocery store, but it's also someone's brother, son, husband or father whose life you may be risking.