The Freeway Firing Line
January 29, 2002 7:03 AM   Subscribe

The Freeway Firing Line - "Caltrans workers often have to dodge objects thrown by irate drivers." How angry do you have to be to roll down your window, grab a beer can and throw it at a highway worker? Has anyone here been on either end of this?
posted by espada (77 comments total)

 
I've twice had beer bottles come sailing over my shoulder while cycling along intercity routes in Southern Calif. Missed me just by dumb luck. Another time a guy leaned out of the passenger window of a large pick-up truck and socked me good in the shoulder blade. I was pretty far from home and had to have someone drive out to pick me up. Sore for at least a week. Most cyclists I knew then could tell similar stories. Just jerks, not necessarily angry.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:17 AM on January 29, 2002


I can second that bicycling story. A full soda can was hurled at me by a car full of teenage boys and hit my handlebars. I felt like a duck in an arcade game.

We've got alot of cranky people on the highways these days. They're looking for someone to blame for their frustration. Unfortunately, it probably means installing cameras on worksites and/or passing some laws/fines for such assaults.
posted by Red58 at 7:24 AM on January 29, 2002


As the victim of horrible traffic due to construction delays in NJ, I see 3 lanes narrowed down to 1 lane one to two miles BEFORE the construction site. Nine times out of ten when you pass it by there are 6 workers leaning on shovels and 1 guy working. I've been sorely tempted to flip them the bird as well. One exception is the Parkway, where they schedule much construction/repairs at night.
posted by Mutha at 7:30 AM on January 29, 2002


The definition of irony: motorist sitting frustrated and alone in their car, stuck in congestion, wondering who is to blame.
posted by jackiemcghee at 7:37 AM on January 29, 2002


My life truely is a blessing, I don't personally know anyone who'd run down a human being and then complain about a dented bumper. Who are these people? I think setting up cameras (in this case) is a beautiful idea.
posted by MJoachim at 7:39 AM on January 29, 2002


I've lived in the middle of the Big Dig for 4 years and have never been tempted to throw anything at the workers, although I am familiar with the scene Mutha describes. Many times I've driven by a Big Dig site and seen one or two guys working on the platform and 10 guys standing around the safety fence watching them.

I can understand giving the finger, but as far as actually hitting them with something ... it's not going to make traffic move any faster.
posted by espada at 7:45 AM on January 29, 2002


I was on an Amtrak train last week, commuting home from work, when a fist-sized rock hit my upper-level window hard. I was surprised it didn't shatter, and the guy in front of me saw the guy who threw it.

"Oog, oog! Me see train! Tran no stop to get me, so me throw big rock at train riders for fun. Oog!"

It's not just ire. Don't underestimate the consequences of simple stupidity and thrillseeking.
posted by kfury at 7:51 AM on January 29, 2002


The answer to this one is obvious and easy: quit maintaining the stupid freeway.
posted by jfuller at 7:52 AM on January 29, 2002


Atlanta, 1996, about four months before the Olympics. Road construction. What a surprise. Anyway, I'm driving in the right hand lane, traffic at a standstill, shoulder on the right is barricaded and tapering off. While inching down I-75/85, I cut off a cyclist who was trying to use that shoulder to get around traffic.

On an interstate highway.

In downtown Atlanta.

At 5:20 in the afternoon.

So I cut this guy off inadvertently, as I don't tend to look behind and to the right of me as I'm driving forward at .1 mph. He is most irate and comes around the back of my car and starts pounding on the driver side window and screaming. First it scared the crap out of me, then it pissed me off to the point where I got out of the car and a fistfight ensued. Bad move on my part - I should have just ignored him. I'm typically pretty easygoing, but the guy on the bike lost a couple teeth for his outburst.

After he got back up and took off, and I got back in the car shaking from the adrenaline still in my system, I noticed people around me giving me thumbs-up signs and blowing their horns. Honestly, that was more than a little creepy.
posted by ebarker at 7:53 AM on January 29, 2002


ebarker,

How about rolling down your window and appologizing to the poor guy for cutting him off? When you're in a car and someone cuts you off by accident or on purpose, the worst it ususally means is a dented fender... you could have killed the guy.

so let me get this straight - you cut him off by accident, he assumes the worst and gets pissed off, then you put your fist down his throat and then YOU feel bad? WTF!
posted by dorcas at 8:15 AM on January 29, 2002


Mutha: ...I see 3 lanes narrowed down to 1 lane one to two miles BEFORE the construction site.

I'm no highway construction expert, but as I understand it, they narrow the highway so far in advance so that all the stupid idiots who simply don't see the narrowing just run down a bunch of cones, not the workers themselves. A highway worker was killed here in Austin a while back; such preemptive lane closure probably would have presented his death.

Mutha: Nine times out of ten when you pass it by there are 6 workers leaning on shovels and 1 guy working...

Again, I'm no expert, but I assume they're not just standing around to waste my tax dollars. They're might be other reasons that you, as a passing driver, have no idea about: like workers with one particular task waiting for another to complete before they can continue. Just a thought there.

Mutha: I've been sorely tempted to flip them the bird as well.

And that would help the situation in what way?
posted by tippiedog at 8:17 AM on January 29, 2002


dorcas: Read it again. The guy's on a bicycle on an interstate highway. Illegal. Also, he's riding on the shoulder, and not obeying traffic laws. Illegal. Finally, he's committing assault, I believe, by coming up and doing what he did. Illegal.

I have zero problems sharing the road with pedestrians or cyclists, and will always give them a wide berth.
posted by ebarker at 8:25 AM on January 29, 2002


i had a friend who was riding his bike from boston to new hampshire, and someone opened their window and poured/threw the liquid from a cup at him. he licked his lips and said, "mmmmm root beer, who would waste that..."

i think if they had thrown the bottle though he might have felt differently...
posted by goneill at 8:29 AM on January 29, 2002


How about rolling down your window and apologizing to the poor guy for cutting him off?

The problem is most people aren’t satisfied with an apology and continue to berate you even after you apologize.
posted by sexymofo at 8:32 AM on January 29, 2002


a) There are states where it is in fact legal to use the shoulder of an interstate when there are no other roads available

b) the cyclist assaulted your car window... did he break it?
you assualted A PERSON and if I read your posting correctly, you sent him off with serious injuries.

I cannot fathom a person who injures another for yelling and hitting a car's window. This is not a personal attack, I see this sort of behavior all the time on the roads. Pedestrians and cyclists and people in wheelchairs do not have a one ton steel shell around them to protect them from other angry or careless drivers. That is a fact. The question becomes do we as a society allow those non-car driving types to have equal rights of passage on the VERY EXPENSIVE and quite expansive system of roads and highways that we all pay for like it or not?
posted by dorcas at 8:36 AM on January 29, 2002


In VA banging on the car would be the crime of vehicular tampering, so using force to stop the crime would be defensible.
posted by NortonDC at 8:41 AM on January 29, 2002


Wait, that guy was riding a bicycle on I-85? What a moron! That explains his moronic reaction to your having cut him off. Are bikes on the interstate a regular occurence there? From what I remember of Atlanta that is an excessively dangerous thing to do. It is very illegal here to ride a bike on an interstate because it creates an incredible hazard for everyone. People driving at highway speeds can't be expected to look for some wobbly thing putting along at 12 mph on the shoulder. The insurance guys would nevere allow it. That guy should have been given a huge fine, or even arrested for reckless endangerment. On the other hand, you probably should have tried a little harder to avoid kicking his ass. I guess you couldn't just drive away if you were stuck in traffic.
posted by donkeymon at 8:42 AM on January 29, 2002


It is illegal here in Georgia to operate a non-motor vehicle on the Interstate. So, he broke the law, got offended, committed the crime of criminal damage to property, and got injured for his efforts. Seems reasonable.

This is why I don't ride my bike in Atlanta. *grin*
posted by dwivian at 8:45 AM on January 29, 2002


Hold up, maybe not. I thought he was banging the bodywork, which he could affect a change in easily (tampering), not rapping on the glass, which would be exceptional difficult to alter with his knuckles or fists.
posted by NortonDC at 8:46 AM on January 29, 2002


It seems we've come to the agreement that what the guy on the bike did was illegal, but you're still defending these actions: "the guy on the bike lost a couple teeth for his outburst." Sorry, but that's looney.
posted by almostcool at 8:53 AM on January 29, 2002


I didn't mean to hijack the thread. I will also be the first person to admit the best thing to do would have been to turn the other cheek, as it were. The guy was three inches away from me screaming and cursing, he took a step back and brought his hands up, and I let him have it.

Also, for what it's worth, I called a buddy of mine from grad school who practices law in GA, and it is in fact illegal to do what the guy was doing.

And again, allowing cyclists and pedestrians access on roads? Great idea, I'm all for it. But with that right comes the responsibility to follow the laws. Didn't happen in this case.
posted by ebarker at 8:57 AM on January 29, 2002


It is interesting how these bike/car interaction stories almost always get told/reported from the righteous POV of "the guy on the bike was clearly breaking this statute or that law so he deserved to be [hit, maimed, shot, stabbed, run-over... you fill in the blank] If cars (more specifically their drivers) cannot co-exist with other more benign forms of transportation, perhaps the solution is a Dutch-style parallel infrastructure with a system of routes for low-speed, or human power trasportation. Expensive, yes, but what do you think a freeway costs per-mile-per-year?
posted by dorcas at 9:05 AM on January 29, 2002


Wait, what? I worked one summer in a parking lot that was off of a busy street (in Newport, RI, for what it's worth). Some tourist came barrelling in at about 30 mph because you basically have to do that to avoid being rear-ended and cut way too close to a guy jogging down the street (barefoot-- who knows). Definitely her fault. No doubt about it.

However, instead of saying something rude or coming up to her to complain about it as would be his right, he takes all of the adrenalin which welled up in him (understandably, since he almost got hit) and smashes on the window of this woman's car. He's like 6'2", 200+ and she's a good deal smaller, but he was definitely ready to beat the crap out of her.

My point is, I too have no problem sharing the road with pedestrians or cyclists; I have a problem when pedestrains and cyclists unleash unhealthy amounts of their righteous anger at motorists.
posted by yerfatma at 9:14 AM on January 29, 2002


dorcas - It is interesting how these bike/car interaction stories almost always get told/reported from the righteous POV of "the guy on the bike was clearly breaking this statute or that law so he deserved to be [hit, maimed, shot, stabbed, run-over... you fill in the blank]

That's the law where I am. If your presence on the road is illegal (even down to registration irregularities), any traffic violation involving you is your fault, period.
posted by NortonDC at 9:14 AM on January 29, 2002


Dorcas: breaking the law wasn't the reason he had it coming - it was because the biker was a total prick. There's something about putting a bike seat betwixt the legs that makes most males in their 20's and 30's lose all sense how to interact. Or maybe they don't know how to interact anyway.

The point is that this type of behavior on the biker's behalf would result in a few broken teeth in most places: bars, streetside, or restaurant.

(Note: I don't have a car and would almost certainly have my ass kicked in any fight)
posted by Llama-Lime at 9:15 AM on January 29, 2002


tippiedog
"they narrow the highway so far in advance so that all the stupid idiots who simply don't see the narrowing just run down a bunch of cones, not the workers themselves. " You obviously haven't been stuck in traffic in NJ lately, traffic rarely goes faster than 5 mph in construction areas, no danger of being run down. My frustration is directed at the funnelling of traffic from 3 to 1 lane during rush hour when traffic is already at a standstill.

"I assume they're not just standing around to waste my tax dollars", why do you assume that?

The post asks "How angry do you have to be to roll down your window, grab a beer can and throw it at a highway worker? Has anyone here been on either end of this?" You ask how would being tempted to flip them the bird help the situation? It wouldn't help at all, erego the use of the word "tempted".
posted by Mutha at 9:16 AM on January 29, 2002


It is no less interesting that a monumentally and prohibitively expensive new program, funded by tax dollars, is your suggested solution. Here's something cheap: obey the law. Practically free.

Seriously, if you accept the proposal that it is in fact something that requires intervention, one thing I always thought would be a good idea is to tighten up on the licensing requirements. I think some additional education, testing and the like is a reasonable compromise. Perhaps license cyclists. Maybe require re-testing for a motor vehicle license - in most states (and South Carolina is one), you take one road test to get your license, and as long as you don't let it expire, you never have to take another one.

Hell of a lot cheaper than pouring concrete.
posted by ebarker at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2002


There's something about putting a bike seat betwixt the legs that makes most males in their 20's and 30's lose all sense how to interact.

This was actually proved in a study in the New England Journal of Medicine last year (no online link, unfortunately). It turned out it was the tight shorts.
posted by yerfatma at 9:27 AM on January 29, 2002


I used to ride one of these (that's not me in the picture) One of the reasons I had to sell it was because of all the shit people used to throw at me out of their car windows. Includiong: Full water bottles (cap on) cans, glass bottles, cigarette butts...
posted by Spoon at 9:30 AM on January 29, 2002


Llama_Line
"There's something about putting a bike seat betwixt the legs that makes most males in their 20's and 30's lose all sense how to interact." Replace "bike seat" with "steering wheel" and it works just as well.

It sounds to me like ebarker is looking for some support here. Due to the (reported) circumstances involved, I'm not prepared to say that he was wrong, but I'm also not prepared to say that he was right. When I'm on my bike in traffic and someone cuts me off, I'm going to let them know about it. If their car ends up getting scratched, then "oops"....
posted by RibaldOne at 9:31 AM on January 29, 2002


I'm going to let them know about it. If their car ends up getting scratched, then "oops"....

And if you end up losing a few teeth, then "oops"...
posted by NortonDC at 9:43 AM on January 29, 2002


ebarker I totally agree with you on that. If it was made to take a little more skill to get a driver's license, insurance prices could go down, road maintenance prices could go down, pollution would go down, more public transportation sytems could achieve viability, and fewer pedestrians and cyclists would be injured. All the construction workers who are no longer standing around building roads could drive buses or repair subways or lay bike paths. Unfortunately I think in this case that what is good for America is not good for GM, so it won't happen.

Regarding the bicycle guy, it isn't as if he was riding his bike to Charlotte or anything. He would have been better served using a more locally-oriented thoroughfare. There are plenty of redundant road systems surrounding most highways which are less dangerous, and also not illegal for bicycle use.

Regarding the original topic of this thread, I have never seen it happen or desired to do such a thing. Until I spend all day outside in the hot sun doing manual labor, I wouldn't presume to understand why they are all standing around doing nothing at the particular moment I happen to coast by in my car.
posted by donkeymon at 9:45 AM on January 29, 2002


Here in LA - which is car territory, step off punk - the guys in the bike lane always seem like they're unnecessarily weaving in and out. It's downright annoying. Not to say they should be hit, but they're not all eco-friendly nice guys.
posted by owillis at 10:02 AM on January 29, 2002


a bit of a tangent -
in ireland if you fail your driving test you are allowed to drive on the public roads until being forced to retake it in 5 years time.
then if you fail again, you are allowed to drive on the public roads until being forced to retake it in five years time.
then....
i think you get the picture.

i must agree with dorcas on this point, that if as much money was invested (comparatively) in a 'human-powered-vehicle' infrastructure as in the 'wasting-the-worlds-rescources-bigtime-vehicle' infrastucture then events such as these would not be as common. (not that the dutch are immune to road rage).
i am willing to bet that the majority of drivers in these traffic jams are alone in their 4 litre, 2 tonne vehicles. maybe starting to introduce multiple occupancy lanes will help to destroy the car = freedom myth so often used to advertise them.
posted by asok at 10:16 AM on January 29, 2002


Roads are a public utility and should be for cars only. SUVs, Motorcycles, Bikes, and all other sport-vehicles should be confined to closed tracks just as racecars and gocarts already are. There is a moderately curvy road near where I live that apparently is a favorite of bicyclists. The speed limit is 35 mph and it is practically a weekly event that I am driving this road (at the speed limit), come around a curve and nearly run over some idiot biker going 20 mph down the middle of the street! Bicycles are too difficult to see, too slow, and too quiet to be anything but a hazard on public roads.
posted by plaino at 10:18 AM on January 29, 2002


I've luckily never had anything thrown at me while I'm bicycling, but I invariably get catcalls and whistles, something I've *never* understood. First of all, with my helmet and my beet-red, perspiring face, I'm about as sexy as three-day old garbage. Secondly, what do the catcallers hope to accomplish? Have they ever actually met anyone by yelling "Whooooo!" out a car window?

I did get doused with pop as a pedestrian once....I was on vacation, in the Vatican City, waiting at a red light to cross the street. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper, and as this one car passed me, a hand reached out the window with a shaken-up can of 7-Up and sprayed me with it.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:24 AM on January 29, 2002


Saying that roads are a public utility and should be for cars only is B.S. If that's the case, then I shouldn't be paying much less taxes for supporting them since I only put about 2k miles on my car a year (and about the same on my bike). I'll agree that some bikers are idiots (and your problems above seem to stem from run-ins with these individuals), but many of them are courteous about sharing the road (I try to stay within 2 feet of the right curb when I'm biking) and just want to get where we're going without being hit or cursed at. It's easy to rip on bikers, but I'd suggest that everyone who lives within a reasonable distance to their workplace try biking in just once. It will give you much more respect for the people who do it on a regular basis, and hopefully improve your awareness of people on bikes. (Note: I own a car, but simply prefer biking much of the time).
posted by almostcool at 10:27 AM on January 29, 2002


plaino, I have as much right to have my motorcycle on the road as anyone. I can't say it any more politely. So thats where I will stop.

ebarker, just a friendly tip. always look before you switch lanes. I don't care how slow you are going.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:44 AM on January 29, 2002


jbelshaw: I appreciate the tip, and I always do, but in the above-noted incident, I was in my lane, creeping forward. The shoulder to my right was ending in concrete barriers due to construction up ahead. Just wanted to clear that up.

almostcool: Some bikers are idiots, no doubt. So are some drivers. Most of both category are decent and responsible navigators.

And to confuse matters, I am both an evil capitalist pig who drives an SUV and a pinko commie treehugger who bikes almost every weekend.

Feel free to substitute Your Choice Of Perjoratives to the above description.
posted by ebarker at 10:58 AM on January 29, 2002


Ahh, I see we've learned so much in the past few centuries... an eye for an eye... Super, that!

I'm sure glad actions (getting angry) still have consequences (losing teeth). Last time I'm sure he'll ever get angry at someone else again.

Yeah, right.

Geez, talk about out-of-control anger issues... Is someone yelling at you for cause the reason to turn it into a physical fight where someone has to lose in order for the other person to win? What's the freakin' point?!?

Oh, yeah, I forgot. The cyclist was doing something illegal, there ya go... that justifies it all.

I'm sure if you had been successful in cutting him off completely and killing him, you'd be like, "Oh well, he deserved it, after all, he was cycling illegally on the road."

I'd like to find a place in the world where there are no people like you.
posted by yarf at 11:21 AM on January 29, 2002


"There's something about putting a bike seat betwixt the legs that makes most males in their 20's and 30's lose all sense how to interact." Replace "bike seat" with "steering wheel" and it works just as well.

I think that if someone put a steering wheel betwixt my legs I would most definitely lose all sense of how to interact, although I don't see how that is relevant....

sorry
posted by rorycberger at 11:22 AM on January 29, 2002


People who fly off the handle and react violently when insulted, dissed, cut off, blah, blah, blah are lame no matter if they're walking, driving, riding, cycling, or whatever. We as a society need to learn how to take control of our anger and not lash out at everyone.

From what I've seen, bikers and drivers are equally self-rightous and violent and reactionary in this one.

Does any other town than San Francisco have "Critical Mass?" Its a swarm of bikers who bike through SF the last Friday of every month during evening rush hour and disrupt traffic for hours to get out the "message" that cars are bad. Nothing does more to hurt the "pro-bike" message than that, in my opinon.
posted by aacheson at 11:27 AM on January 29, 2002


yarf: A charming and rational post. And how lovely that you've done my thinking for me. Saves me time.

And people like me are everywhere, there Is No Escape. Muahahahahahaha!

On another note, it's time to stop for lunch. I'm thinking pastrami on rye, maybe some horseradish. And in regards to "out-of-control anger issues," during my Lunch Rummaging, I daresay I'll find a pot. And a kettle. Both...well, I'm sure you get the idea.
posted by ebarker at 11:34 AM on January 29, 2002


When I'm out on my bike (every day, city streets, obeying laws) I often have people cut me off, nearly run me down, and just generally not pay attention to things outside their cars. I've been in a few scuffles as a result and can say (someone made this point in a previous thread a few months ago but I can't find it) that 9 times out of 10 I come out on top. I'm full of adrenalin from riding and generally in much better shape than the fat fuck that got in my way.
Don't get me wrong, I do all I can to avoid confrontation but if someone nearly kills me you're damn right I'm going to bang on their window to let them know about it.
flame away...
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 11:55 AM on January 29, 2002


It is interesting how these bike/car interaction stories almost always get told/reported from the righteous POV of "the guy on the bike was clearly breaking this statute or that law so he deserved to be [hit, maimed, shot, stabbed, run-over.

Oh, get off it already. In any situation, if you're the one being violent you are picking a fight. You're encouraging the other party to lose his or her temper. Who was right or wrong makes no difference, when the biker decided the best way to express himself was through his fists.
posted by skallas at 12:07 PM on January 29, 2002


Tiggle: No flames here. I see people in cars cutting off bike riders who are riding legally all the time, and I strive very hard not to do that. I can sympathize with your viewpoint, even if I don't always agree with the finer details.

So let me ask: if you are riding illegally, and your chosen path gets blocked due to some driver who is driving legally and unaware of you being behind him, do you do the same thing? I'd really like the opinion of some people who bike more than I do. My take on it is (and admittedly, I come from some bias) is that if I'm out messing around on my bike and I do something boneheaded that's against the law, I accept the consequences and slink away quietly.

The horse is close to expiring, and my flogging arm is tired.
posted by ebarker at 12:14 PM on January 29, 2002


TiggleTaggleTiger, I believe that the majority of the time the person in the car is at fault in these situations, but it sounds like in this particular instance this is not the case. We only have the one side of the story to go on, but I personally would be pissed off at anyone riding a bike on an interstate, even if I didn't happen to come in physical contact with them, for introducing such a hazard into my and thousands of other people's lives. On a city street, a bike is a much more appropriate vehicle and as such deserves a much greater amount of accomodation than it does on a highway. But everyone knows (conventional wisdom alert) that city drivers are a bunch of clueless assholes and city bikers are all reckless maniacs.
posted by donkeymon at 12:15 PM on January 29, 2002


The self-righteousness of the bike riders in the thread kills me. You owe your lives to the sufferance of drivers, and their willingness to put up with the sight of your ridiculous skinny behinds bobbing up and down on those spindly seats, and the annoyance of having to pass your slow, wobbly vehicles on roads that were meant for motors, period. You should nod your head in gratitude to every car that passes and say, "Thank you for not killing me," "Thank you for not killing me," "Thank you for not killing me..."
posted by Faze at 12:21 PM on January 29, 2002


I don't care if someone wants to ride his bike in a stupid place in a stupid way, but if I almost hit him with my car of course he has the right to be angry but he has NO RIGHT to touch my fucking property, let alone bang on it with his fist and if he does, I will let him know that my car does not appreciate being banged on with fists and the best way to do that is to show his face what it feels like to be banged on with fists.

ebarker, you are the man.
posted by David Dark at 12:23 PM on January 29, 2002


Wow, what a man you are. Defending a piece of ultimately value-less property in order to express your anger on another human being for possibly damaging it, because he was expressing his anger at almost being killed!!

It is truly a sad state of affairs when we as human supposedly-mature adults value our property over another person's life, to the point of beating it into them that my property is more valuable than anything you could possibly say to me.
posted by yarf at 12:30 PM on January 29, 2002


yarf: I don't have the exact quote right, but as he was pounding on my window, I believe the screamed phrase was, "Get out of the car, motherfucker, I'll kick your ass."

What would you have done?
posted by ebarker at 12:42 PM on January 29, 2002


a better lesson to learn is keep your hands off my stuff, yarf. if you have something to say, say it. But that's not what we're talking about. I don't care what you yell at me, but don't take it upon yourself to touch me or anything that belongs to me or else I will interpret that as a hostile action and deal with you accordingly.

Nobody said they value a car over another person's life. It's not like ebarker beat him to death. The guy lost a tooth, which is also ultimately a value-less piece of property that can be replaced probably cheaper than my driver's side window. Bruises also heal on their own, and for free. But the memory lasts a lifetime.

Oh, and wow. What a girl you are.
posted by David Dark at 12:50 PM on January 29, 2002


Regardless of any relevant laws, anybody who gets on a sub-100 lb bicycle and enters a roadway occupied by plus-2000 lb vehicles should be prepared to have absolutely no control over the situtation. It has nothing to do with law, or morality, it's just common sense. Sure, vehicle drivers should care about and be aware of bicyclists. Yes, there should be laws governing the interaction of bikes and motor vehicles, and those laws should be followed. But mixing the two is just asking for trouble, regardless of who is right.
posted by yesster at 12:50 PM on January 29, 2002


Honestly, I don't know, I've never been in that situation. I doubt my response would've been to get out of my car and kick his ass.

I guess my point was, when it comes down to our beloved stuff in this world, empathy gets thrown by the wayside... It is far more satisfying defending our defenseless (?!) cars than in walking away from a situation which can result in no good coming from it.

(Putting yourself in his shoes for a split second, you might figure he just thought you were purposely trying to run him off the road or kill him. This isn't a crazy idea based upon the enormous amount of feedback you see here from rider's stories about trying to cycle and mind their own business and having to deal with assaults and combative drivers all the time).

There is outright hostility, even right here, from drivers toward cyclists, and as someone who is both, I just don't understand it. Share the road, ferchrissakes.
posted by yarf at 12:53 PM on January 29, 2002


You obviously haven't been stuck in traffic in NJ lately,

I lived in NJ for 7 years and got stuck in that crap every day, but never found it necessary to blame the road workers. Sure, it sucks, but what are you gonna do? Now I deal with Philly traffic, which is a whole other ballgame. When a lane closes on a busy thoroughfare, you know what is usually to blame? Someone stopping their car, in traffic, to yell at their homies and have a "conservation." Never mind the fact that red lights are optional, and if someone does stop at one, they go through them if the coast is clear. Never mind as well the adolescent kids popping wheelies down Broad Street against traffic, daring you to hit them.

Agh. Sorry to turn this into a road rage entry. Point is, deal with it, and go easy on the road workers.
posted by adampsyche at 12:56 PM on January 29, 2002


ebarker - if I'm riding illegally and nearly get killed I understand that I have no right to get angry at any driver that did the nearly killing. I don't think you were necessarily wrong in your situation, I was only talking about situations I had been in.

"a better lesson to learn is keep your hands off my stuff, yarf. if you have something to say, say it. But that's not what we're talking about. I don't care what you yell at me, but don't take it upon yourself to touch me or anything that belongs to me or else I will interpret that as a hostile action and deal with you accordingly. " - what an asinine thing to say. You don't think your endangering someone's life because of your lack of attention to your surroundings could be construed as a hostile action? Grow up.

This pisses me off too: "You owe your lives to the sufferance of drivers, and their willingness to put up with the sight of your ridiculous skinny behinds bobbing up and down on those spindly seats, and the annoyance of having to pass your slow, wobbly vehicles on roads that were meant for motors, period." That's like saying we all owe our lives to the murderers among us that repress their urges to kill every day. Or that small children everywhere owe their continued virginity to the pedophile that keeps his pants zipped. The law says that the roads are meant to be shared.
Again, I'm not talking about people riding on highways or doing stupid shit to put themselves in the path of danger.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 1:13 PM on January 29, 2002


TigTagTiger, when did I say that I've endangered someone's life by my lack of attention to my surroundings? Try again, idiot.

Again, I'm not talking about people riding on highways or doing stupid shit to put themselves in the path of danger.

But everyone else is, so join the conversation at hand or shut up.
posted by David Dark at 1:39 PM on January 29, 2002


The law says that the roads are meant to be shared.

What? You mean somehow, a stupid law got passed? Say it ain't so!
posted by kindall at 1:52 PM on January 29, 2002


...wobbly vehicles on roads that were meant for motors...

Er, point of order: Most city streets in large, established cities predate motor vehicles.
posted by mrbula at 1:54 PM on January 29, 2002


DD - where did you say you endangered someone's life by your lack of attention? "I don't care if someone wants to ride his bike in a stupid place in a stupid way, but if I almost hit him with my car of course he has the right to be angry but he has NO RIGHT to touch my fucking property" - right there, idiot.
And actually, this conversation started out as being about road rage directed at construction workers.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 1:54 PM on January 29, 2002


Oh, and wow. What a girl you are.

Try again, idiot.

...join the conversation at hand or shut up.


Sounds like somebody needs a nap.
posted by pudders at 1:59 PM on January 29, 2002


Just had my nap.

TigTag notice part of your quote: "If someone wants to ride his bike in a stupid place in a stupid way..." which means that it's not my lack of attention, but his stupidity which is endangering his life. Now grow up. Read better. Idiot.

We all know how the conversation started. Most of us are following its evolution.
posted by David Dark at 2:16 PM on January 29, 2002


I guess my point was, when it comes down to our beloved stuff in this world, empathy gets thrown by the wayside... It is far more satisfying defending our defenseless (?!) cars than in walking away from a situation which can result in no good coming from it.

You're clearly right about the basic principle, I think, but where does it say this is about defending "stuff"? I think it's about behavior, specifically that you shouldn't expect to do stupid, aggressive shit to your fellow primates and get away with it.
posted by rodii at 2:26 PM on January 29, 2002


Bingo.
posted by David Dark at 2:30 PM on January 29, 2002


No DD, it still comes down to your lack of attention: regardless of what the cyclist is doing you should be paying enough attention to the road to avoid them.

Oh, and I don't think you need a nap, I think you need a good kicking.
If you have anything else to say to me please say it via email, I would imagine people in here have had enough of our bickering. Twat.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 2:38 PM on January 29, 2002


Almostcool,

I do ride my bike to work in the summer but I use bike paths separate from the road except on a few short stretches where I stay on the sidewalk. A pedestrian/bike collision (at my slow pace anyway) will be less destructive than a bike/collision and less likely these days with virtually nobody walking anyway...

As for motorcycles they should be illegal...talk about crazy and dangerous. Same for SUV's when it's trafficky and about a quarter or more vehicles are SUV's its like driving with a blind fold on. I can't see a thing. I won't even get started about not being able to see through cars with those lame-ass tinted windows and the arrogant assholes who could give a shit about road safety in preference to looking "cool".
posted by plaino at 2:39 PM on January 29, 2002


plaino, maybe you shouldn't be driving at all then.
posted by jbelshaw at 2:58 PM on January 29, 2002


To repeat my earlier post somewhat: anybody who thinks that 2000+ vehicles and -100 lb bicycles are gonna mix well is an idiot. (regardless of who is "right" or "legal"). Guess that some folks haven't figured out that being right doesn't always matter.
posted by yesster at 3:07 PM on January 29, 2002


plaino, how are motorcycles dangerous? In itself it isn't dangerous to anyone in their cars. They aren't dangerous to their riders, the people in the cars are the danger to someone on a motorcycle. As a motorcycle rider, i take this very personally. Almost all of the bikers i've ever met, are better on the road than the average joe behind the wheel of a car. We HAVE to be, or else we're going to be roadkill.
posted by jbelshaw at 3:09 PM on January 29, 2002


I'm full of adrenalin from riding and generally in much better shape than the fat fuck that got in my way.
Yeah, like that fit hockey coach who killed one of his player's father... Oh wait.
posted by thirteen at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2002


I've seen a lot of back and forth on this thread, some of it very well-thought out and reasoned, and some not. I think words may have failed me in describing the situation, so I will summarize:

I was driving in one lane, obeying all the laws, in stopped traffic, inching forward slowly.
The shoulder on my right was about to end in some concrete barriers. Signs had been posted for at least three miles on I-75/85 indicating such. Cyclist was on an interstate illegally. He tried to get up to where the concrete barriers started, the same place my car was heading, and was trying to squeeze into that spot (and hence my lane) before I got there. He didn't make it, because I was barely moving forward, but enough to inadvertently cut him off. He appeared in my peripheral vision, slammed on brakes, and had to stop suddenly and glanced off the side of my car, which had stopped. He regained his balance, dropped his bike and ran over to the driver side. My first thought was for the guy's safety, and then came the shouting, window thumping, epithets, threats. In the second that my shock and surprise flipped over to anger, I knew that it would get physical and that no good would come from it. I got out of the car, he got in my face, then stepped back, put his hands up, and I knew instinctively at that point it was time to fight.

David Dark wrote in a prior thread about how people who are accustomed to fighting and physical confrontation are different. Well, I too am one of those people. I'm a big guy, I know how to fight, and I don't back away being threatened. Does that make me a violent person? No. It makes me someone who, being familiar with violence, knows that it's not always the answer, and tries to avoid it, but can deal with it when the decision is made (right or wrong) to do so. So I busted the guy up. Proud? No. Not at all. Contrite? Yes, in that I wish I had been smart enough to find something to say to defuse it, or come up with a better solution. But not in defending myself. Given the same circusmstances and information, I would do it again.

It's taken me about five minutes to write this. It might have taken 30 - 45 seconds from the time the guy hopped off his bike until the time he was laying on the pavement. The luxury of time and reflection is not always present. One thing all combat arts stress is the ability to act instinctually. I absolutely reject the notion it makes you more prone to violence, because I know it's made me a calmer and more rational human.

So, there it is. The horse is Officially Deceased (insert Python reference here: "This is an ex-equine!") and my flogging arm is cramping.

Peace.
posted by ebarker at 3:23 PM on January 29, 2002


I've had a motorcyclist bump the back of my car on purpose because we got caught in an intersection when the lights changed. We we out of the way in about 15 seconds. How bad does your life have to be before you're in that much of a hurry?
posted by krisjohn at 5:04 PM on January 29, 2002


FOLKS CAN WE PLEASE STOP THE HATING
posted by Flimsy_Parkins at 5:36 PM on January 29, 2002


The aggressiveness in this thread makes my worst road rage incidents seem mild by comparison. *whew*
posted by adampsyche at 6:49 PM on January 29, 2002


adampsyche: In all sincerity, I see that as a compliment. I don't shy away from my aggressive nature. Rather, I have learned to harness it to my benefit, in business, in life, in the ring, etc., etc. It balances my more cerebral nature, and makes me better-rounded.

Yin and yang, I suppose.

Your mileage may vary.
posted by ebarker at 7:27 PM on January 29, 2002


I hate you Flimsy_Parkins. Haaayyyyght!
posted by hellinskira at 7:36 PM on January 29, 2002


Oh. ..what the hell - here's my bike story. Riding along in a residential area, minding my own business. Carload of kids drives by me, and one of them has the brilliant idea to spit on me. . .*lots* of spit. He then flips me the finger, they all laugh and then drive off.

After I returned home, I called one of my friends at the P.D. (I live in a small town.) He said he thought he knew who the kid was and would get back to me.

I was floored when he called me about an hour later, saying he had the kid in custody. I went down to the P.D. and my friend told me I could talk to the kid alone.

I wish I had a camera for the look on the kid's face (he was about 18 years old) when he saw me. I never touched him, did lots of yelling, etc., trying to impress upon him as to what he did, etc. Took about 2 or 3 minutes and I left.

My friend the cop told me the kid was about to fill his drawers when the cop returned to the room in which the kid was waiting. He wanted to know HOW I had figured out who he was and where he was when the cop picked him up. Naturally, the cop never told him and I never saw the kid again.

My friend said the kid was one of the local badasses but, after that, he calmed down. . .a bunch.

End of bike story.
posted by Fenderhead at 8:44 PM on January 29, 2002


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