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Could Motorist Intimidation Breed Some Scofflaw Riding?

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Could Motorist Intimidation Breed Some Scofflaw Riding?

Old 06-28-10, 10:09 AM
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crhilton
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Could Motorist Intimidation Breed Some Scofflaw Riding?

This has nothing to do with stop signs or red lights.

On my way to work this morning I was riding down a moderately trafficked side road. Probably something like a couple dozen cars an hour, so not busy by any stretch.

I looked up the road and noticed another cyclists coming downhill toward me. He was a ways out from the curb, but approaching a parked car. Then I noticed a car right behind him. As they approached the car honked and he looked back and then moved clear to the left side of the road (where I was -- in fact he moved closer to my curb than I was).

I have no idea what the kid did after I passed him.

The thought struck me. This kid was doing, more or less, the right thing on the road until somebody honked at him. Then he rode down the wrong side of the road. I wonder how many people ride the wrong way, or cling to the sidewalks because they're intimidated not by regular reasonable traffic but by harassment such as honking, buzzing, and yelling.

If the kid had been going the wrong way down the road, to start, there likely would have been no altercation. The car would swerve over, the driver might roll his eyes, but he probably wouldn't honk: The encounter would be very brief. If the rider were on the sidewalk the driver would have no reason to honk, yell, or even acknowledge the riders existence.


I wonder if some riders who do these things (sidewalk cycling, bike salmoning) do so in part to avoid conflicts. This kid may have no one telling him "ride right, it's the law." But he just had one person telling him, essentially, "get out of my way."
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Old 06-28-10, 12:32 PM
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I do believe that a number of cyclists think the answer to not be buzzed is by riding closer to the curb. As for that incident, I believe its the underlying idea in both motorist and cyclist that bicycle traffic shouldn't impede motorized traffic.
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Old 06-28-10, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by SCROUDS View Post
I do believe that a number of cyclists think the answer to not be buzzed is by riding closer to the curb. As for that incident, I believe its the underlying idea in both motorist and cyclist that bicycle traffic shouldn't impede motorized traffic.
This is true not only for motorists and cyclists, but pedestrians too. Im sure everyone has seen a ped momentarily jog to get out of the way of a car quicker, even when they were in a marked crosswalk.
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Old 06-28-10, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by SCROUDS View Post
I do believe that a number of cyclists think the answer to not be buzzed is by riding closer to the curb. As for that incident, I believe its the underlying idea in both motorist and cyclist that bicycle traffic shouldn't impede motorized traffic.
I agree with that. Although I think it's the case for both of them out of lack of education. And part of my thought was that the majority of education this kid may be getting could be from negative experiences like this on the road. So he'd be, reasonably, learning to ride the wrong way.

Not sure how you would counter that affect aside from making sure that *most* people get education on how to deal with bikes and how to ride bikes at some point.
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Old 06-28-10, 05:43 PM
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Whenever I get buzzed after politely riding far to the right, I move into the center of my lane to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's not scofflawism, and the truth is it's something I should be doing from the start ... but that said, it's annoying to motorists, and it's absolutely bred by intimidation. Although in fairness, most drivers probably don't mean to intimidate when they buzz you.
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Old 06-28-10, 05:54 PM
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Keep in mind that when riding against traffic on certain roads,

A. You can see what is coming at you without a mirror or turning your head.

B. Your chances of getting doored are much less, and if you do get doored, the door will swing away from you when you hit it causing less damage to the cyclist perhaps. Also, you can more easily see someone in the driver's seat of a parked car. The motorist can certainly see you better.

C. No cars will chase you or mess with you. They are going the other way!

Before you folks jump me, I very rarely ride contraflow. Usually the same one-block shortcut here and there with much caution. I know all the dangers. I do not recommend salmoning. However, I can see why some novice/slower riders would find it attractive.

Hey...the OP asked.
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Old 06-28-10, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Before you folks jump me, I very rarely ride contraflow. Usually the same one-block shortcut here and there with much caution.
You just made my day.I really love your vids, but it is a bit of a contortion to put you and the word caution together. Awesome, wild, courageous, death-defying, entertaining, efficient: all those I can see, but caution?
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Old 06-28-10, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Whenever I get buzzed after politely riding far to the right, I move into the center of my lane to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's not scofflawism, and the truth is it's something I should be doing from the start ... but that said, it's annoying to motorists, and it's absolutely bred by intimidation. Although in fairness, most drivers probably don't mean to intimidate when they buzz you.
I agree with all except the last sentence. I really do think that most buzzers really do intend to intimidate cyclists. I have often gone "undercover", which is easily done since I occasionally work as a commercial trucker (it started as a way to figure out what was going on with those folks and I have continued to do it on occasion). In my role as semi-driving bubba, no one thinks anything of telling me how much they hate cyclists; they all assume I must hate them too. I wonder what they would think if they knew that on the days I choose to drive a truck I ride 50+ miles to get the truck?
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Old 06-28-10, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
I agree with that. Although I think it's the case for both of them out of lack of education. And part of my thought was that the majority of education this kid may be getting could be from negative experiences like this on the road. So he'd be, reasonably, learning to ride the wrong way.

Not sure how you would counter that affect aside from making sure that *most* people get education on how to deal with bikes and how to ride bikes at some point.
Did you stop and let the cyclist know that how he was originally riding is/was the correct way to ride and that the way that he was scared/forced into riding by the ignorant motorist was the wrong way to ride?

What we need are more PSA's regarding the safe and legal way to ride a bike as well as what exactly the law says in regards to bicycles being on the road.

Encourage your local schools to work with state and local bike advocacy groups and clubs to to host bike rodeo's, and open them to cyclists of all ages and riding skill levels.

Work with state and local bike advocacy groups and clubs to educate the LEO's as to what the laws actually say in regards to bicycles being on the roads. And that just because they deem something to be unsafe that it must also be "illegal." And therefore they "have" to pull over the cyclist(s) in question and "educate them" or cite them for violation of laws that don't actually exist, except in their mind.
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Old 06-28-10, 07:07 PM
  #10  
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I don't understand how avoiding getting run over by an a$$hat cagers makes one a scofflaw...

Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Did you stop and let the cyclist know that how he was originally riding is/was the correct way to ride and that the way that he was scared/forced into riding by the ignorant motorist was the wrong way to ride?...
You can't be serious?
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Old 06-28-10, 08:03 PM
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I wouldn't say motorist intimidation causes much scofflaw riding (though it may be the case in some of the tougher cities), but I would say that fear of motorist carelessness or ignorance is certainly one of my reasons for scofflaw maneuvers. For instance, I've said before that my technique for crossing intersections, especially larger or complicated ones, involves rolling all the way up into the crosswalk, so I'm diagonally in front of the first car instead of directly beside it, to avoid right hooks. Obviously, crossing the first line of a crosswalk isn't legal for a vehicle.

The logic for that can be stretched out to rationalizing running a stopsign/light, depending on the specific circumstances of a given intersection. Not legal, just rationalized out of an assessment of risk.

I also try not to unclip/put a foot down when I slow/stop (clipping back in is a chance to fumble, though tiny), which likely makes most of my stops not technically stops. That's probably not what we're talking about here, though.

Edit: Was that line in the OP about stop signs there before? Meh.

Last edited by Raiden; 06-29-10 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 06-28-10, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Did you stop and let the cyclist know that how he was originally riding is/was the correct way to ride and that the way that he was scared/forced into riding by the ignorant motorist was the wrong way to ride?
Hah, no. I think I pointed out that I didn't even look back .
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Old 06-28-10, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
I don't understand how avoiding getting run over by an a$$hat cagers makes one a scofflaw...


You can't be serious?
LOL. The guy wasn't gonna hit him. Few things in life are so simply two sided.
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Old 06-28-10, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Keep in mind that when riding against traffic on certain roads,

A. You can see what is coming at you without a mirror or turning your head.

B. Your chances of getting doored are much less, and if you do get doored, the door will swing away from you when you hit it causing less damage to the cyclist perhaps. Also, you can more easily see someone in the driver's seat of a parked car. The motorist can certainly see you better.

C. No cars will chase you or mess with you. They are going the other way!

Before you folks jump me, I very rarely ride contraflow. Usually the same one-block shortcut here and there with much caution. I know all the dangers. I do not recommend salmoning. However, I can see why some novice/slower riders would find it attractive.

Hey...the OP asked.
I think these are really good points.
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Old 06-29-10, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
I don't understand how avoiding getting run over by an a$$hat cagers makes one a scofflaw...
Hmm, let's see before the ******* motorist honked his horn at the cyclist he was riding on the right side of the road going with the flow of traffic, after the ******* motorist honked his horn he switched over to wrong side of the road and not just over to the wrong side of the road but closer to the curb on the wrong side of the road than the OP himself was riding.

Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
You can't be serious?
YOU can't be serious, can you?
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Old 06-29-10, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
Hah, no. I think I pointed out that I didn't even look back .
Why not? It would have been an excellent opportunity help educate another cyclist that he doesn't have to be intimidated by the motorists that he encounters on his rides.
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Old 06-29-10, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Hmm, let's see before the ******* motorist honked his horn at the cyclist he was riding on the right side of the road going with the flow of traffic, after the ******* motorist honked his horn he switched over to wrong side of the road and not just over to the wrong side of the road but closer to the curb on the wrong side of the road than the OP himself was riding.
YOU can't be serious, can you?
Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Why not? It would have been an excellent opportunity help educate another cyclist that he doesn't have to be intimidated by the motorists that he encounters on his rides.
This is getting a little pedantic, I'll head on out....
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Old 06-29-10, 07:39 AM
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Many cyclists suffer from a social taboo against delaying motorists, even for a moment. They find this taboo more powerful than any inclination against violating the normal rules of the road. In some cases they find it more powerful than their own self interests of safety and convenience. They may not feel that the driver honking at them is about to hurt them, but they feel bad about their own use of the roadway rather than blaming the driver for being impatient and inappropriate.

Much of the breakdown of civil behavior on roadways can be explained in terms of frustration with the violation of social contract, real or imaginary. Much of the public believes that roadway users have a social contract responsibility to not slow down other users, and that controlling a travel lane with a bicycle violates this contract. Since our society believes that two wrongs make a right, the motorists retaliate by violating the social contract that requires safe and polite motoring. Finally, much of the cycling population responds to unsafe motoring by ignoring any other responsibilities they might have, such as riding on the right side of the roadway. They believe that the social contract has completely collapsed and that the rules of the road therefore have nothing to benefit them.

I believe it's possible to erode the taboo against slowing traffic by using low-speed vehicles in travel lanes, or at least stigmatize those people who would harass slow vehicle operators. As this problem declines, more of the cycling population may come to appreciate the benefits of the normal social contract of vehicular traffic rules.
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Old 06-29-10, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Why not? It would have been an excellent opportunity help educate another cyclist that he doesn't have to be intimidated by the motorists that he encounters on his rides.
Stranger danger? I'm not the kind of person that does that. I'm not what you would call "outgoing."

I feel like I'm in church...
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Old 06-29-10, 08:55 AM
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i think its that MOTORISTS suffer a "social taboo" they never have to be delayed by bicyclists that breeds all the problems, not the other way around, to be perfectly honest.

as to the behavior described in the OPI've done that! usually to get the chance to look the driver square in the eyes mouthing the words "change lanes to pass, gr*******"
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Old 06-29-10, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
Many cyclists suffer from a social taboo against delaying motorists, even for a moment. They find this taboo more powerful than any inclination against violating the normal rules of the road. In some cases they find it more powerful than their own self interests of safety and convenience. They may not feel that the driver honking at them is about to hurt them, but they feel bad about their own use of the roadway rather than blaming the driver for being impatient and inappropriate.

Much of the breakdown of civil behavior on roadways can be explained in terms of frustration with the violation of social contract, real or imaginary. Much of the public believes that roadway users have a social contract responsibility to not slow down other users, and that controlling a travel lane with a bicycle violates this contract. Since our society believes that two wrongs make a right, the motorists retaliate by violating the social contract that requires safe and polite motoring. Finally, much of the cycling population responds to unsafe motoring by ignoring any other responsibilities they might have, such as riding on the right side of the roadway. They believe that the social contract has completely collapsed and that the rules of the road therefore have nothing to benefit them.

I believe it's possible to erode the taboo against slowing traffic by using low-speed vehicles in travel lanes, or at least stigmatize those people who would harass slow vehicle operators. As this problem declines, more of the cycling population may come to appreciate the benefits of the normal social contract of vehicular traffic rules.
I agree with your above post, and will go you one further--we should help erode the speed-lust of road users when we drive our own motor vehicles--adhering fanatically to POSTED SPEED LIMITS and whenever we can get away with it driving 5mph slower than them. Chip away at that taboo with a bigger chisel!
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Old 06-29-10, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Feldman View Post
I agree with your above post, and will go you one further--we should help erode the speed-lust of road users when we drive our own motor vehicles--adhering fanatically to POSTED SPEED LIMITS and whenever we can get away with it driving 5mph slower than them. Chip away at that taboo with a bigger chisel!
Well that's just standard safe, efficient, low stress driving practice. I'm amazed at what doing a few under on the interstate does. Suddenly you find yourself in that "in-between" zone your drivers ed teacher told you to try and find without even trying. People cluster more than I ever realized when I was a part of the clusters.

In the city you can save yourself a lot of stress and trouble by looking out ahead and adjusting your speed down when it's not gonna matter anyway. Coasting up to that stop light instead of driving full speed then breaking harder. And by not expecting 35 in a 35 zone you feel a lot better when reality sets in and you end up averaging 25 anyway.

I don't drive 5 under just to drive 5 under though (interstate excluded)... A slow poke in a car is a lot harder to get around than a slow poke on a bike.

We need a campaign: "Go slower, live longer."
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Old 06-29-10, 11:02 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
This is true not only for motorists and cyclists, but pedestrians too. I’m sure everyone has seen a ped momentarily “jog” to get out of the way of a car quicker, even when they were in a marked crosswalk.
Of course the irony of that "jog" or even that way of thinking is that whether ped, cyclist or motorist, we are all humans trying to get somewhere... no matter what, the motorist has no special priority to get there before anyone else, regardless of mode of transit.
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Old 06-29-10, 11:04 AM
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I think motorist intimidation is the root cause for the anger that cyclists may display... that motorists take as arrogance.
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Old 06-29-10, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by crhilton View Post
Well that's just standard safe, efficient, low stress driving practice. I'm amazed at what doing a few under on the interstate does. Suddenly you find yourself in that "in-between" zone your drivers ed teacher told you to try and find without even trying. People cluster more than I ever realized when I was a part of the clusters.

In the city you can save yourself a lot of stress and trouble by looking out ahead and adjusting your speed down when it's not gonna matter anyway. Coasting up to that stop light instead of driving full speed then breaking harder. And by not expecting 35 in a 35 zone you feel a lot better when reality sets in and you end up averaging 25 anyway.

I don't drive 5 under just to drive 5 under though (interstate excluded)... A slow poke in a car is a lot harder to get around than a slow poke on a bike.

We need a campaign: "Go slower, live longer."
"Go slower, live longer" agreed--you should copywrite it!

Last edited by Feldman; 06-29-10 at 12:19 PM. Reason: couldn't attach picture that would have made some sense of the last line
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