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The Toad is a jerk

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The Toad is a jerk

Old 05-19-20, 07:07 AM
  #1  
Hypno Toad
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The Toad is a jerk

I need to vent a story from yesterday's ride ... I feel like a jerk, but also know that I wasn't really 'wrong', it was just a bad situation. Here's what happened:

I was riding a narrow, twisty-rolling, busted up road with 30 mph speed limit. I ride the road often and know it well, there's no shoulder so I take the lane. It gets a fair amount of traffic, but slow speed limits keep it generally calm. I use a Varia radar, so I know a car was coming for a pass. This vehicle was close enough to see in my peripheral vision, the vehicle was in the oncoming lane, yielding good space and had good sight lines for oncoming traffic. Next thing I know, there's a long horn blast. I assume that the person passing is trying to scare/intimidate me. I reacted with an wave and blowing kisses (obnoxious, but not vulgar). A short distance up the road, the vehicle is next to me again and the person is upset and yelling something I can't make out. I'm keeping it 'clean', but not exactly nice. Then I pick up her saying a car just about pulling out of a driveway in front of her. The woman pulls off the road and I stopped at her passenger window to talk. She was very shaken. As we talked, I started to understand that as she was in the on-coming lane, a car making at right turn out of a driveway had only looked to their left and failed to see the vehicle passing me. Her horn was to get the attention of the person coming out of the driveway. I apologized for my misplaced reaction and thanked her for keeping me safe and avoiding a wreck. I felt bad, knowing that if I'd been driving that road to pass a person biking, I'd been upset and scared from the situation.

I really felt dumb for my reaction to the horn. I will keep this as a lesson going forward to observe the situation before reacting to horns. It's an iteration of lessons I've learned over many years, like controlling the urge to give a one-finger salute to every horn (like I did in my college days).

Just need to share the story and get it off my chest.
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Old 05-19-20, 07:17 AM
  #2  
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Stuff happens. But it sounds like you had a nice interaction with the motorist, so all is good.
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Old 05-19-20, 07:17 AM
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Great to hear that y'all talked it over.

There are definitely times I need to use my car horn in traffic, but I know that hitting the horn while next to vehicles my blast isn't meant for, may set off the other drivers. I'm fully prepared to shout out "it wasn't for you, it was for the other guy".
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Old 05-19-20, 07:24 AM
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Sounds like you handled it ok in the end.

About blowing kisses - I have, for quite some while, adopted this practice as a substitute for the rude finger. It may inflame the other party more, I'm finding.
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Old 05-19-20, 07:41 AM
  #5  
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Something similar has probably happened to everyone at some point. I get plenty of people saying stuff to me and it's seldom worth hearing.
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Old 05-19-20, 07:54 AM
  #6  
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I've done worse, so take a pass on this one.
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Old 05-19-20, 08:10 AM
  #7  
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Yep, I would have felt bad too. Just one of those things. It is a good reminder that some of the "crazy" stuff we see while riding is in some cases just a matter of not having the exact same input as the other person.
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Old 05-19-20, 08:15 AM
  #8  
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Rule #1 : Do not engage.
Rule #2 : Always obey Rule #1 .

Life is good.
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Old 05-19-20, 08:31 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster View Post
Rule #1 : Do not engage.
Rule #2 : Always obey Rule #1 .

Life is good.
I disagree, though acknowledge that one must be careful about it. I have had some seemingly productive encounters with motorists, even (especially) after they have done something that endangered me.

I also once chased down a motorist to thank her for not running me down; I had done something stupid, and it would've been my fault, but her quick reflexes saved me and I wanted to thank her. She looked surprised as hell.
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Old 05-19-20, 08:45 AM
  #10  
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Good on you for talking to her and getting the story straight.

I have made it a habit to point at my eyes if a driver does something boneheaded.
If they yell, I point at my ear and give them the "huh? I didn't catch it" shrug.
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Old 05-19-20, 08:53 AM
  #11  
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Thank you to everyone posting kind words, it helps to talk it over with friends.

Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster View Post
Rule #1 : Do not engage.
Rule #2 : Always obey Rule #1 .

Life is good.
Yes and no. It does matter where you live and the bike-community. Minneapolis area is generally bike-friendly; however, I do ride in other parts of the US where "do not engage" is the only rule.

I've had mixed reactions around Minneapolis area with conversations. I'd say my favorite one was many years ago on my commuter route that required ~2 miles of 4-lane, no shoulder, 40 mph+ traffic - most stressful part of the day. I've had many punish passes, one did everything to run me off the road (as a gravel & CX rider, this wasn't hard to handle) ... One afternoon I get the buzz pass within the lane (I'd left too much room, I was too close to the gutter); I shout with my big, booming voice and use hand signals to express my feelings. The vehicle disappeared around a curve, I thought that was the end of that, but no, there's that same vehicle stopped on a cross street. I'm ready to unload on this guy, but as I get close enough to exchange words, he says he's sorry. I'm sure the shocked look on my face was clear as I thanked him for taking the time to apologize. OTOH nearly all exchanges are loud voices without anybody hearing anything the other is saying, totally worthless.
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Old 05-19-20, 09:00 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
Thank you to everyone posting kind words, it helps to talk it over with friends.



Yes and no. It does matter where you live and the bike-community. Minneapolis area is generally bike-friendly; however, I do ride in other parts of the US where "do not engage" is the only rule.

I've had mixed reactions around Minneapolis area with conversations. I'd say my favorite one was many years ago on my commuter route that required ~2 miles of 4-lane, no shoulder, 40 mph+ traffic - most stressful part of the day. I've had many punish passes, one did everything to run me off the road (as a gravel & CX rider, this wasn't hard to handle) ... One afternoon I get the buzz pass within the lane (I'd left too much room, I was too close to the gutter); I shout with my big, booming voice and use hand signals to express my feelings. The vehicle disappeared around a curve, I thought that was the end of that, but no, there's that same vehicle stopped on a cross street. I'm ready to unload on this guy, but as I get close enough to exchange words, he says he's sorry. I'm sure the shocked look on my face was clear as I thanked him for taking the time to apologize. OTOH nearly all exchanges are loud voices without anybody hearing anything the other is saying, totally worthless.
I had a very similar encounter recently on one of my regular routes. The motorist and I had an amiable chat, I explained things from a cyclist's perspective and made a couple suggestions, and he was cool about it. Now, on a route I ride about 5x per week, I have another friend who waves at me when he (safely) passes me.

With that said, I have done my share of angry fist-waving and cursing...But I'm trying to be more productive.
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Old 05-19-20, 09:05 AM
  #13  
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Jerk.
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I kid. Sounds like it all ended well.
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Old 05-19-20, 10:43 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster View Post
Rule #1 : Do not engage.
Rule #2 : Always obey Rule #1 .

Life is good.
Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I've done worse, so take a pass on this one.
You haven't lived until you snapped the right hand mirror off an offending vehicle.
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Old 05-19-20, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
You haven't lived until you snapped the right hand mirror off a offending vehicle.
I haven't done that.

I've busted a couple of left hand mirrors from my motorcycle though.
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Old 05-19-20, 11:26 AM
  #16  
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A couple months ago (last year? Early in the Spring? It's all a blur now) I was riding on a twisty road with small rolling hills near my home. Usually very light traffic. This one time as I am cresting a small hill before a bend in the road, I became aware of a car coming behind me, still 100m away or so. I hear the car approach and look to see it is swinging wide into the left lane to pass me safely (most drivers give cyclists a whole lane around here) without slowing their or my progress. At the same time I see coming from the other direction a car that the car behind me cannot see.

I don't know what would have gone through the driver's head when I stuck my left arm out and pulled left close to the centre line of the road, then started waving my extended left arm up and down to try to convey the message of 'NO PASSING!'. Did they think I was trying to hog the road? Did it look like I was turning left into a driveway nobody else could see?
THey got the message after a couple seconds and slowed and pulled in line behind me, just in time to see the oncoming car crest the hill.

I got a thumbs up and friendly wave when the following car finally passed.

IT's easy to forget, but 99% of road users are only concerned with getting to their destination safely. I can remember as many instances of other road users going out of their way to keep others safe as I have of road users being selfish or careless.
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Old 05-19-20, 11:51 AM
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I misinterpret all the time too. Probably should learn
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Old 05-19-20, 11:55 AM
  #18  
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I will admit to pulling some boneheaded stunts, mostly when I lose focus and my mind wanders off (a rare occurrence, fortunately); luckily for me, when I blew through that stop sign the oncoming driver was paying attention.

A couple of weeks ago I was riding on our recently crowded MUP when I came upon an elderly gentleman with a cane, out for a walk. I slowed, announced my presence, and pulled into the other lane to pass, when this bozo on his bike zooms up from behind me and passes me within a couple of feet, with a mumbled 'scuse me. No crashes, but no social distancing either. Jerk.
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Old 05-19-20, 12:35 PM
  #19  
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And knowing is half the battle.


Toads rule!
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Old 05-19-20, 03:23 PM
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Toad, thank you for the reminder that we often react when we don't know the whole story.

I'm learning to give others the benefit of the doubt, and you know, it turns out most of the time my initial reactions would have been worse than taking a step back and not immediately reacting.

Thanks again
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Old 05-19-20, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I need to vent a story from yesterday's ride ... I feel like a jerk, but also know that I wasn't really 'wrong', it was just a bad situation. Here's what happened:

I was riding a narrow, twisty-rolling, busted up road with 30 mph speed limit. I ride the road often and know it well, there's no shoulder so I take the lane. It gets a fair amount of traffic, but slow speed limits keep it generally calm. I use a Varia radar, so I know a car was coming for a pass. This vehicle was close enough to see in my peripheral vision, the vehicle was in the oncoming lane, yielding good space and had good sight lines for oncoming traffic. Next thing I know, there's a long horn blast. I assume that the person passing is trying to scare/intimidate me. I reacted with an wave and blowing kisses (obnoxious, but not vulgar). A short distance up the road, the vehicle is next to me again and the person is upset and yelling something I can't make out. I'm keeping it 'clean', but not exactly nice. Then I pick up her saying a car just about pulling out of a driveway in front of her. The woman pulls off the road and I stopped at her passenger window to talk. She was very shaken. As we talked, I started to understand that as she was in the on-coming lane, a car making at right turn out of a driveway had only looked to their left and failed to see the vehicle passing me. Her horn was to get the attention of the person coming out of the driveway. I apologized for my misplaced reaction and thanked her for keeping me safe and avoiding a wreck. I felt bad, knowing that if I'd been driving that road to pass a person biking, I'd been upset and scared from the situation.

I really felt dumb for my reaction to the horn. I will keep this as a lesson going forward to observe the situation before reacting to horns. It's an iteration of lessons I've learned over many years, like controlling the urge to give a one-finger salute to every horn (like I did in my college days).

Just need to share the story and get it off my chest.
Your reaction is normal. Try not to lose any sleep over it. Tell yourself that idiots happen and forget it instantly. This happens to me 4 or 5 times on a ride. It you let it get to you, it takes the fun out of a ride.
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Old 05-20-20, 03:19 AM
  #22  
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I'm on a smile & wave basis with an Amazon delivery contractor who nearly hit me a few months ago. I chased him down to fuss about rolling through a stop sign and nearly hitting me. But I could tell he was genuinely surprised and sorry. It was a new route to him and he had glanced down at his GPS navigation doodad. Because he seemed sincere I didn't file a complaint, just shook his hand and let it go.

Since then I've seen him making other deliveries. He'll beep and wave. I wave back. Not a bad resolution.

This was just a week or so before the coronavirus pandemic suddenly changed things. And before some other tragic news incidents locally and nationwide, where conflicts between strangers quickly escalated into violence. I don't ever want to be part of that.
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Old 05-20-20, 06:16 AM
  #23  
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I know what you mean. A horn blowing when I'm riding sometimes causes my adrenaline to spike (not in a good way), even though, most of the time, it has nothing to do with me. When I'm being hyper-aware, which is often necessary to safe riding, any little incident can easily cause me to overreact.

I haven't found a perfect solution yet. I try to give myself a little talk before starting out on a ride, for example: pay attention/don't zone out; you're out to enjoy yourself, not fight with morons; it's not all about you, others need to use the road, might be having a bad day; etc. But sometimes I'm in a rush to get going and I forget, or I get caught up in the moment anyway.

Just one more thing to be aware of (ha ha), I guess, when cycling on the road.
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Old 05-20-20, 06:47 AM
  #24  
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Did you get her phone number?
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Old 05-20-20, 06:59 AM
  #25  
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When I began using a helmet cam in 2014 and began reviewing my rides, I thought I would document all sorts of bad driver behavior. What I discovered was my own bad behavior.

I still over-react and misinterpret once in a while...but far, far less.

Hypno Toad I'm glad you shared your experience, especially the part where you were able to apologize...as you know, some people will stick to a dis-proven narrative, just to justify their uncontrollable anger.

I'm glad you shared, it shows people that reconcilliation is a possible outcome.
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