Cycling in Sydney Australia
I'd like some thoughts on how you go about engaging car drivers who drive like [insert derogatory epithet of your choice here].
Eg I have to ride down Bourke Road cycleway, and when a car just completely obliviously turns into the bike lane and nearly knocks me off, I usually give them a good dose of loud Anglo-Saxon, generally as a warning (To get them to stop their manoeuvre) and also to make them realise that they just very nearly caused an accident. Hopefully next time they will think before they manoeuvre. Usually this results in a sheepish "sorry" gesture.
I have no problem with this (obviously avoiding any likely conflict, or going over the top, pick your battles!) However, in my opinion, those who cut you up, show no regard etc are generally of the opinion that cyclists are an annoyance and "the enemy", so it doesn't do us any favours being seen as another bastard on a bike.
I always try and be overly polite to any (decent) drivers and pedestrians wherever possible, esp if they've let me go etc.
What are your thoughts? Let people know the mistakes they made, or to keep calm and carry on, hopefully making people think cyclists are nice?
It is hard to resist the urge to get angry, but resist you must. If you believe your life was threatened, report it to the police and, as JohnH has mentioned elsewhere, make sure the police give you a report number for your records and follow it up.
Sometimes yelling and cursing only makes you look odd to all the bystanders who didn't witness what occurred!
A long time ago, I reflexly took a side mirror right off a car whose driver deliberately cut me up and almost killed me - I was furious. It really was a reflex fight/flight response but I could have & should have controlled myself. It felt good at that instant and has felt bad ever since... not worth it. I might have inadvertently created a cyclist hater/killer to someone else's detriment...
Yeah, unfortunately throwing fuel on the fire is bad news. I went through a roundabout yesterday on the way home and a driver (coming from the left) just kept coming - I was already well into my right turn but I had to pretty much stop mid roundabout. The driver had their window down so I was able to suggest that they "look next time", they said "sorry" ....I smiled and said "no harm done."
I'm sure if I was hit my "look next time" may have been a little more brusque!
As the wise Madame suggests...."keep calm and carry on"
I could tell you 100s of stories of what I have done, from being polite to I rather not say, but I really don't think that they will ever learn. You can be so polite to them, but they will only do it again and again and again. The only way that they will ever learn their lesson (and sorry to say), is when they kill someone or kill them self. Even then, there are some who will never learn.
There are a lot of people who out for them self and really don't give a rats about anyone else. Those people should be shot.
I think that at the end of the day, you got to thank your lucky stars that you are still alive and that stupid drivers will always be stupid and you're one better then them.
I almost posted the very same question a week ago after a curious ineraction with a taxi driver.
One-way street, two lanes, I was taking the left lane with a taxi alongside in the right lane, suddenly (and without indicating) he veers into my lane and very nearly into me. Only a sharp shout of "oi" alerted him to my presence. I then whacked his boot with the palm of my hand (= lots of noise but no damage). He pulls alongside me around the next corner (in a non-menacing way) and says -in strongest Jamaican accent-: "What you be banging on my car for maaaaan, I made a mistake. Chill". He actually made me feel guilty and it was him that nearly killed me! I ended up asking him if he could just be a bit more careful please.
I guess the answer is that some people will respond well to a polite interaction and the others won't respond well to anything. Much as it will make you feel better to shout at the latter variety, there is no way of distinguishing them from the former until you're well into your tirade! Now if I could just persuade myself of that argument I'll lead a more peaceful life!
Thanks for the post though, good question and lots of positive answers.
says -in strongest Jamaican accent-: "What you be banging on my car for maaaaan, I made a mistake. Chill".
Thats when you rip the side mirror off and say "See this, use it" or "Obviously you don't need this anymore, considering that you don't use it", then chuck it away..
I know that I make plenty of mistakes/misjudgements on my bike, and I like to think that other road users might cut me a bit of slack. That said, when a small mistake from a car driver can result in serious harm to a cyclist, it's hard not to get mad if you are on the 'receiving' end of a wrong move by a motorist.
It's hard to not see every incident as a deliberate attack when you've been the victim of deliberate abuse/dickhead driving, as every cyclist probably has at some point. Being forced to ride fairly aggressively/defensively means that I automatically react aggressively when 'threatened' on the roads, even when said incident is accidental, or not intended as an attack. It's pretty hard to switch off this reflex when you have to be so vigilant at all times.
I have a pretty bad temper with road incidents-the usual yelling, gesturing etc. I now force myself to not react, having learnt the hard way that, if you react angrily to a motorist's provocations, the police are even less inclined to take your compaint seriously should you need to make one.
I'm mainly polite, but am guilty of seeing red occasionally. I also have certain reflexes, i'm not too proud of such reflexes.
Never a pleasant experience.
I'll share my last altercation, hopefully it gives you an idea on the type of stuff i put up with, avoid and ignore before i snap.
Heading south from the rocks i got a clean run up george street, I passed hunter street and stopped at the pedestrian crossing in between hunter street and martin place (Both lanes were blocked by large vehicles so i waited at the lights behind them.) a taxi ever so slightly nudged me, i looked at the taxi then chose to ignore him (he was trying to get a reaction) The lights changed i took off. By martin place the taxi had moved up beside me, as he tailgated the motorist in front of him i signalled to overtake the slower moving traffic in front of me. The taxi accelerated to tailgate even more then moved towards me to deliberately block the gap (forcing me to slow down). The passenger window was down, i made the mistake of calling him an asshole. He swerved at me squeezing me towards the kerb, my reflex was to remove his mirror with my palm. He slammed on his brakes, i put in a sprint, cut across in front of him and performed a right turn up barrack street (original plan was to bunny hop onto the footpath and double back but i had more space than anticipated). He did a burnout and attempted to chase me into oncoming traffic on george street (towards the hoards of barrack street pedestrians).
I am not happy about what happened at all. I had to put on a little courier disguise and constantly look over my shoulder in case he came after me.
Maybe his wing mirror hanging by a wire brought him some more remorse or maybe he's thinking "i'll run the next cyclist that tries that over"
My option to avoid that would have been to turn off at martin place and just let him go. I't did cross my mind to chase him down grab his keys and leave him stranded until the police arrive (could have become really violent). Either way it wasn't a nice experience.
But i was busy so i improvised, switched my route, pulled into a business on barrack street, picked up an archive box and delivered it to martin place with a smile on my face, then continued up george street.
I'd have said "You OK, mate?" When it all started. That, and taken a photo and his details to send it to the cab company.
Yes, nothing would come of it, but next time, or when a pattern starts emerging, it will. He's a professional driver, if he's getting stressed out he shouldn't be doing that job.
Speaking of taxis, I asked this guy THREE times to stop watching India's Got Talent (seriously), whilst driving along, he just laughed it off.
Gav said "I'd have said "You OK, mate?" When it all started. That, and taken a photo and his details to send it to the cab company."
Thats a common scenario, especially on account of a motorists mistakes or laziness, most of the time i just avoid the situation without blinking an eye, sometimes people say "sorry" and all is well from then onwards, but sometimes things get trickier when deliberate contact or attempts to intimidate the cyclist is involved, if its nothing seriously serious i'll get on with my day but sometimes they do something really stupid and i get on with my day in a slightly grumpier mood.
In many cases i believe my issue is i am an agile cyclist. When i'm busy and in the wrong state of mind (while in my natural cycling habitat) i know i can run rings around the automobile. thats why in the past i have been guilty of getting "even" when someone does something seriously stupid and deliberate.
In tha past what i have failed to realise is that one day a motorist might hold a grudge and go out looking for me. Thats when things can potentially get messy.
Best to avoid the potential of an ongoing scenario at all costs.
(Sometimes easier said than done when you see red i know.)
The problem really is when they decide to get 'even' against another cyclist, you might get away, they might not.
It's that kind of innocent (I've been known to stop dead in front of cars on busy streets) "Hey buddy, what's the problem?" With a total innocent/curious look, there's no real response other than "I wanted to be a dickhead". When they see you've made eye contact, you're a human, and you've seen them, they're unlikely to carry on that behaviour.
Eg this morning coming up Ross St in Glebe (a horrible little stretch of road, on a busy cycling route, right next to the uni, several cycle routes and my house) a car tailgated me, then zoomed by far too close and fast, only to (literally) have to pull as the 3rd car at what were already red lights 20 yards further on. As I went past him, I gave him a bit of eye contact, just to let him know I'd seen his face, and that I was human too. He must've felt an idiot, all that stress, danger, and invariably not one second of time saved compared to just following the cyclist for a bit and coming to the same set of lights in the same place.
Loving the responses, by the way, people. Shame there's no 'like' button on posts.