Today a motorist tried to squeeze past me while i was taking a lane, the reason i took the lane was because there was double parked cars occupying the lane next to us, there was not enough room for him to safely overtake. He swerved in and out of the double parked cars then accelerated and squeezed me out of my position on the road. When he came dangerously close my reflex was to swipe at his mirror.
The swipe didn't really help the situation as he was very concerned about the potential damage to his car and started threatening to run me down and all the usual macho stuff. The yelling match consisted of me telling him its very inappropriate to attempt to overtake in that situation and him telling me i shouldn't even be on the road. I thought about this a lot today and its not the first time my reflexes have got the better of me. While im glad my reflex isn't to fall off the bike and hurt myself i began to ponder what would happen if i challenged the driver to call the police. Would the driver be held responsible for what happened? My reflex was not pre meditated and i do feel that it was an instinctively accidental reaction.  I wouldn't really get anything out of it except for the motorist being told to pay for the damages himself.

No doubt about it, if i fell off he would have been in the wrong but could he be held accountable for my accidental reflexes?

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What you describe is a driver who not only does not understand the road rules but one who put yours (and probably others) lives at risk with his selfish and dangerous driving.

Your reactions are quite understandable and I suspect that as long as they are limited to a small swipe at his wing mirror (rather than the potentially more satisfying dragging him out of the car and giving him some "contact counselling") you'd probably get away with it.

However, given his attitude and the clear danger he presents to the cycling fraternity you would be quite within your rights to go to the police and ask to make a statement, providing them with his rego. If I understand previous posts on a similar issue correctly, they are obliged to take your statement (even if they tell you otherwise), and even if nothing comes of it, the event will be recorded against the registered driver such that if he caused a collision with another cyclist, his previous record of driving in this manner would help strengthen any argument the cyclist might have and improve the likelihood of a prosecution.
"could he be held accountable for my accidental reflexes?" ... I don't think judges tend to like holding someone accountable for the actions of someone to hold the person who did the action accountable. Might be a good test case though - the "accidental reflex defence" is born?? :-)

There are a lot of wankers out there in cars...retaliating isn't going to help though, even if it is a reflex action - it is only likely to escalate the situation. You might be charged up with adrelinaline and land a bigger punch, but that won't be much help if the driver chooses to then use their car as a weapon. Or you could simply lose your balance and wipe out of your own accord if you start throwing your weight around on a moving bicycle.

My preference is to contain the anger, and impart a few polite words through the window if passing, or simply to let it go if the opportunity to educate is not present.
You feared for your safety due to the dangerous actions of another road user. You struck out at their vehicle to both steady yourself after being almost run down and alert the driver as to how murderously close they were to you.

I done the same myself, and had the same response. The nutcase even drove his car at me deliberately but only managed to narrowly avoid running into a bus and knocking a motorcyclist off his bike.

But I've smacked the mirrors, windows, side panels of a few of cars who's drivers had no idea I was next to them and in danger. And they moved without argument.
These road rules come to mind...
• Menacing driving (Section 43)
• Negligent/furious/reckless driving (s42)
• Overtaking at unsafe distance/cutting in (ARR 144)
what would happen if i challenged the driver to call the police

He'd be waiting an awfully long time for them to turn up.. Especially if he mentioned the word "cyclist"!
I've had to tap on the window of a 4WD overtaking me too closely and pushing me towards parked cars. I could clearly see the driver + his wife and kids in the back. Overtaking was completely unnecessary as i was doing 45km/hr in a fifty zone and we were approaching a big line of stopped cars in the lane ahead anyway. I had two other riders drafting me so we were highly visible as a group of 3 on a clear day on a popular cycling road. After rapping on the window the 4WD swerved at me and then changed into a lane in front of me and hit the brakes hard in front of me, but i was able to swerve to avoid hitting it. I was hesitant to report given i'd rapped on the window - i felt i couldn't trust the police to not turn this against me as i so often hear happens. But in hindsight i wish i'd reported them. But the whole thing made me question whether tapping the window was safer than just putting up with it?? Anyway a big F@#$ you to the driver of the 4WD, rego RCB-999.
My reflex is to think about riding while I scratch the side of their car with my brake lever. Have never done it, but have been tempted to try it often. Unfortunately I think I would probably fall over in the process and I don't want to risk that. :-(
unfortunately if you and the car were going slow enough for that to be safe, the car would probably not be threatening your safety in the first place
You also need to make sure you have an escape route.
If he agrees that you tapped his window while he was overtaking, is proof enough of the fact that he was too close.
It's like you need an AK-47 around Sydney.

Daily Telegraph title:
Cyclists loot everything from everyone


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