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Yelled at for no reason?

Old 09-27-05, 09:38 PM
  #1  
rustym
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Yelled at for no reason?

Has anyone else had the experience I had commuting home late this evening: I was on a stretch of road where I had been able to ride two feet from the curb for half a mile, no parked cars to swerve around, had my 6W headlight and two rear blinkies going, so I hadn't had reason to give any drivers particular offence. But out of the blue (or the black), an SUV comes right up next to me and someone inside yells "Hey!", seemingly just to startle me. Just to see if I'd fall over, maybe? I really don't think I had made any annoying moves. The van went on and then turned the corner, which I fortunately didn't have to do. I was so tired from work that I didn't have a strong physical reaction to it, but of course I don't want to have it repeated.
Any wisdom from more experienced commuters? I've been riding to work only for 3 weeks.
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Old 09-27-05, 09:51 PM
  #2  
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It happens, you get used to it. Where I ride it happens probably daily on average (and I've been counting that for a decade). It's reached the point where it doesn't even startle or surprise me that much anymore. When you get right down to it, the act of yelling is pretty futile and harmless. Your own reaction will determine what happens next.
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Old 09-27-05, 10:17 PM
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mostly teenagers trying to impress their buddies / girls in the car. It's great when you catch them at the next light and they roll up the windows and look straight ahead like they never did anything.
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Old 09-27-05, 11:14 PM
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Never happened to me, although we did get some crazy people in their SUVs during my only Critical Mass so far... "What gives you the right to take up the whole road?!? It's for traffic, not bikes!" "We're not stopping traffic... We ARE traffic! Woohoo!"
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Old 09-27-05, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Alcyon
Never happened to me, although we did get some crazy people in their SUVs during my only Critical Mass so far... "What gives you the right to take up the whole road?!? It's for traffic, not bikes!" "We're not stopping traffic... We ARE traffic! Woohoo!"

lol, good one...

believe me... here drivers in California are extremely bad. Too many times, cars try to cut me off when cars take left turn while I go across intersection.

I almost had a run-in with senior lady driver once. She did not bother to look around. She simply flied in the street. I had to steer my bike into main lane to avoid the collusion.
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Old 09-28-05, 04:25 AM
  #6  
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just a jackass
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Old 09-28-05, 05:39 AM
  #7  
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I just wave and smile. You need to show some patience with the mentally handicapped.
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Old 09-28-05, 05:54 AM
  #8  
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I don't know what it's like elsewhere, but in Australia there's widespread resentment of cyclists.

Motorists seem to think that people ride simply for the joy of tearing around city streets, shouting "I don't stop at red lights! Up yours, car-person!"

Even stranger is the assumption that riding a bike is a comprehensive statement of your principles. i.e. if you ride, you must be a rabid pot-smoking enviro-fascist hippy who wants to scrap all technology and get everyone living on hydroponic veggie farms.

When cyclists are involved in motor vehicle accidents, the government response is to make riders pay road tax and registration, and increase the penalties for traffic infringements above those for motorists.

So, yes - yelled at often.
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Old 09-28-05, 06:09 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by kwhord
mostly teenagers trying to impress their buddies / girls in the car. It's great when you catch them at the next light and they roll up the windows and look straight ahead like they never did anything.
It's even better when it's rush hour and you catch up to them in traffic and wave as you blow by them.
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Old 09-28-05, 07:56 AM
  #10  
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Thank you, Helmethair--

Your reply and the others I've read to my poor little complaint are encouraging and let me know I'm not alone. Of course I might go back and think about my own assumptions, however vague, that went through the back of my mind when I saw cyclists in my pre-riding years. But I could never have come up with such a wonderful term as "enviro-fascist"! At least I will be prepared for the next verbal assault.
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Old 09-28-05, 08:47 AM
  #11  
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It happens to me about once a month. The yellers I'm not really concerned with it the ones who are more physical.
Yesterday a battered old compact pickup tried to see how close he could get to me. His mirror missed me by inches. Last week someone threw a partially full soda can over my head. Earlier this year someone just missed me with an egg. I think in both of the cases with the object thrown the thrower misestimated the closing speed between the two vehicles. Mostly the drivers are considerate and often encouraging but a few rotten apples can really ruin a day.
The case with the egg I found the funniest as I was sitting in a left turn lane behind a delivery truck when an egg suddenly broke on the back of the truck. My first thought was "why would someone throw an egg at that truck?" It wasn't until I made the turn that I realized that the egg may have been intended for me.
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Old 09-28-05, 09:03 AM
  #12  
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What are people doing with eggs in their car? Is there a secret bike haters forum on the web, and they are coming up with these schemes? It's amazing! Obviously, for them to have an egg in the car, either they went shopping, or they purposely put the egg in the car to throw at cyclists. What is going through these people's heads? Next time someone shouts at me or throws something, I'm getting their plate number.
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Old 09-28-05, 09:07 AM
  #13  
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Craig, I lived in Cleveland for two years (University Heights) and just driving in my car to work in University Circle via Cedar Rd. was a most unpleasant experience, due not only to the erratic behavior of many drivers but also to the nasty 1.5-lane width of the streets, where parked cars make swerving around practically unavoidable. I can't imagine trying to negotiate that particular route on a bike, I suppose I would have found a quieter route. But I salute you for riding around that city and I'm sure there are some lovely bike paths in the suburbs as well.
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Old 09-28-05, 09:21 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by rustym
Craig, I lived in Cleveland for two years (University Heights) and just driving in my car to work in University Circle via Cedar Rd. was a most unpleasant experience, due not only to the erratic behavior of many drivers but also to the nasty 1.5-lane width of the streets, where parked cars make swerving around practically unavoidable. I can't imagine trying to negotiate that particular route on a bike, I suppose I would have found a quieter route. But I salute you for riding around that city and I'm sure there are some lovely bike paths in the suburbs as well.
I live in Shaker Heights and commute to near I-480 and I-77 so I avoid the University Circle area. I admit the roads there are confusing but I've found once you know where you are going and can get in the correct lane early everything goes smoother. However cycling in that area would require finding alternative routes.
The lane and a half roads are actually quite nice if traffic is light and there is not many cars parked, but heavy traffic means drivers will make the lane and a half two lanes and parked cars forces the cyclist to merge into the traffic lane. Over all I have learned to deal with these problems and I usually find my commute quite pleasant even if it is through some run down neighborhoods.
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Old 09-28-05, 09:29 AM
  #15  
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It happens and you will get used to it. Wave or give them the bird, it depends on my mood at the time. Most of the time they are just looking for laughs at your expense and will do no more harm than that.

If they are throwing things at you, on the other hand, that is assault. Get their plate number and turn them in.
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Old 09-28-05, 10:35 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by worker4youth
What are people doing with eggs in their car? Is there a secret bike haters forum on the web, and they are coming up with these schemes? It's amazing! Obviously, for them to have an egg in the car, either they went shopping, or they purposely put the egg in the car to throw at cyclists. What is going through these people's heads? Next time someone shouts at me or throws something, I'm getting their plate number.
They were not necessarily looking for cyclists. I have had my truck hit by an egg in the past. It's likely just high school kids out making mischief. Cyclist is just a target of opertunity. So unless your are taking part in a CM ride that has attracted the wrath of the community don't take it personally.

And for clarification: Go ahead and take a plate number and report it, it is a problem. I just don't think it is necessarily accurate to assume that they were looking specifically for cyclists.
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Old 09-28-05, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jabowker
...And for clarification: Go ahead and take a plate number and report it, it is a problem. I just don't think it is necessarily accurate to assume that they were looking specifically for cyclists.
To be honest, getting the vehicles plate number and reporting it to the police probably won't do much more than make you feel better. Unless something actually happened to you (i.e. you or your property was damaged) the police will likely politely take the report and shove it a file somehwhere (or waad it up and throw it in a round file). Several of my immediate family members are cops (NOT ME) and I've asked them if it would do me any good to make such a report and that's the feedback I got anyway. Of course that's despite what the cops will tell you over the phone. They'll probably say "thank you, we'll look into it", then hang-up the phone and then file the complaint and do nothing.

In reponse to the OP: I get yelled at a couple of times a week on average. I ride by two high schools on my way home and that's where it often occurs. I find that the prepetrators are generally adolescent males or older males with NASCAR hats and "Piss On Chevy" (or Ford) stickers on their pick-up trucks. Never women. It's annoying but I usually just ignore it. If I catch up at a stoplight down the road and they have their window down I'll sometimes say: "did you say something back there?" Invariably they respond: "No". People have a lot of courage when they're speeding by you in a car but when you're face to face it's drastically different. Funny how that works.

Last edited by Quickbeam; 09-28-05 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 09-28-05, 12:21 PM
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Getting yelled at in a taunting way is part of the 'fun'. Ignore it or play the game and retort back.

But getting violently harrassed, yelled at agressively/threatened, physical contact, threatening moves with vehicle, objects thrown is unacceptable/illegal and should be reported for the severe cases. Fighting back can lead to worse if you are not prepared to back up with force, so it is often best to leave it to the authorities (which are near impossible to engage)

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Old 09-28-05, 12:29 PM
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Reminds me of the watermelon and steak in Napolean Dynamite. I'm waiting for a nice juicy steak to be thrown at me...
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Old 09-28-05, 01:16 PM
  #20  
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Happened to me three times on Sunday. Happens all the time. I used to respond in kind until one guy stopped -- and stopped me -- while brandishing a tire iron. Now, I don't rise to the bait -- ever. I usually just smile and wave. I think that probably infuriates them more than anything. They're trapped in their boxes, guzzling $3.25 gasoline, and we're unfettered.

Once, riding to a coastal town about 40 miles from where we live, I pulled to a light, splitting the right turn only lane and the slow straight lane. An obese young man in a battered red pickup shouted at me, red-faced and spraying spittle, "get off the f******* road!" He got the smile, and we sat next to each other for a good, long time.

It's the zen of cycling. I had time to think about how his wife may have hurled abuse at him, or his boss yelled at him, or his kid's teacher called him to report that his son had inherited his aggressive form of terminal stupidity.

I got yelled at, but I had a better day than he, guarantee it.
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Old 09-28-05, 07:01 PM
  #21  
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I have found that commuters in SUVs can be the rudest. Since you never know what people are packing in their car, I just wave and just let it roll off my back. I think I read this somewhere on one of the many posts I've read, the traffic is like the weather. Somedays the traffic is good like the weather, while other days it's bad. You just got to roll with it and take comfort that other cyclists have experienced the same thing.
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Old 09-28-05, 09:46 PM
  #22  
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I agree with Chris L and kwhord. I get yelled 2-3 times a week. Most of the time I can't understand what they yelled. But it's mostly young people (teens I'm guessing). If the car is coming from behind you it usually is a guy yelling and if it's from the front, in the opposite lane, it's usually a chick. Just a strange pattern I've noticed.
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Old 09-29-05, 12:34 AM
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If someone yells at you, just point your revolver at them. That always shuts them up.
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Old 09-29-05, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by paxtonm
Happened to me three times on Sunday. Happens all the time. I used to respond in kind until one guy stopped -- and stopped me -- while brandishing a tire iron.

So how did that turn out?
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Old 09-29-05, 01:56 PM
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The moron had his two young children in the car with him. Daddy's teaching a lesson in interpersonal interactions I guess.

Here's the scenario: I ride through an intersection on the green light. He's waiting to go right on red (legal in CA). Just as I clear the intersection, he does his right turn thing, misses me by inches as the tires break loose under hard acceleration and fling gravel at me.

I delivered the finger, which he must've seen in his rearview, and he stopped and exited the vehicle, ran into the traffic lane and tried to grab my handlebars. I stopped. He insisted I apologize. I told him I was sorry that he chose to drive like a moron, and I was sorry that he nearly killed me, but I refused to apologize for the finger. There was enough traffic that I guessed correctly that he wouldn't rearrange my face (fortunately). Im 6-4, 200 lbs, but I hate hitting people. Besides, it's hard to swing on a guy wearing bike shoes.

Like I said before, it's better not to feed on their anger, and I no longer do. But that day, I was p******, and he wasn't getting any apologies for my anger.
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