Another day, another driver who can't pass properly.

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Erica
Participant
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Today I was going down spring way toward bloomfield, and two cars passed me, at reasonable distances, so I gave them a nod and smile, as I try to do when a driver does something right. Then, I was between a parked van and that big brick wall, when I see another car behind me, trying to pass. Well, it passes within a foot of me, and when I give the driver the “really?!” face, he gives me the finger. I give him the finger back, and then he tries to pull a brake check on me. We both stop, he gets out of the car and says, “I’m gonna punch your fucking teeth in,” and something about hitting me next time. He got back into the car, and I yelled “Assault with a deadly weapon – [then I yelled his license plate number at him as he drove away]”

As I was yelling his plate number at him, he was yelling, “I don’t give a fuck about that!”

I called 911, the operator was actually really great, and seemed shocked that someone tried to hit me while I was riding a bike. She took my info, the plate number, and a description of the man and car (She asked for make and model, I’m really bad at getting that, it was either a pickup truck with a bedcover or a really crappy suv, white, missing a lot of paint). She said she’d send an officer over, and he was there within 10 minutes. The officer was helpful too, and said that I can file a complaint with the magistrate and sue him for harrassment. In the end, I decided against it.

I’m still kind of shaken, and I feel like I should be crying. Seriously, what kind of 40-something year old man threatens to knock the teeth out of a 22-year old girl?


JZ
Participant
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That driver’s behavior is completely ridiculous. How anyone thinks that this is acceptable behavior in any society is beyond me.

On the bright side, 911 took you seriously. They dispatched an officer who actually showed up, and he was helpful. Think of this as validation – yeah, the driver is completely in the wrong, but “the system” *acknowledged* the wrongness. This is progress! So, as discouraging as that driver’s behavior is, be encouraged by everyone else! Anyway, that’s my bright-side glass-half-full look.


sohoweet
Participant
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it’s amazing what getting behind a wheel of a car will do to someone.


Lolly
Participant
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RF, I’m really sorry that happened to you!


Erica
Participant
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yeah, I didn’t know that you could file for a hearing after something like this was already over. Now I know, and if I feel like this again, I’ll use it. The officer said the whole thing would take about two months, but the next four months of my life are going to be busy and stress-filled, and I’ve already had two panic attacks this month due to excess stress.


sloaps
Participant
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That information the officer gave you is the first I’ve ever heard of it. Going to a magistrate is like those TV judges, but with out the grandstanding in front of the cameras.

It’s a hassle, and it may seem more trouble that it’s worth, but if you have the time then by all means…


Pseudacris
Participant
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I think if an angry driver threatened me with their vehicle, then pulled over, got out, and threatened me with permanent physical damage while also indicating that death was an acceptable outcome…. Well, I’d be pretty shaken, too.

I’m glad you called the police and that they were helpful. I can also understand having to weigh the stress that pursuing justice would cause you.

Maybe you could ask how long you have to file, if you choose to do so. Could be an interesting summer project.

Ragers should not be allowed to drive.

Even if this guy didn’t touch you, you did experience verbal assault and physical threat. No wonder you’re feeling the effects.

I’m so sorry to hear about this.


Pseudacris
Participant
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@sloaps. I’m not a lawyer, but my guess is that it has more to do with the guy making a specific verbal threat of assault than for aggressive homicidal driving.


Lou M.
Participant
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I’ve given up completely on drivers. This morning on Penn downtown I got honked at by a driver in the turning lane (which I was and was signaling) who ended up going straight. The best part was is you could hear him gun the engine to catch up to me to do it. I just don’t understand why it is so difficult to share the road. What’s the damn rush to get to work?


sloaps
Participant
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@pseudacris. I wasn’t saying that it’s unwarranted. Just from my experience I’ve never heard an officer go so far as to suggest a place to formally complain.

Its always been ” we’ll take your info and get back with you.”


Erica
Participant
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Part of the reason he suggested that may have been because I told him that I felt as though I had been in serious danger, and because I was on the verge of tears. I don’t know exactly, I’d also never heard of that.


stefb
Participant
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it probably helped that you are female. sorry that happened to you.


salty
Participant
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sorry to hear this and glad you’re ok.

i honestly don’t know what the right thing to do is in a situation like this, but the more it happens to me, the less inclined i am to escalate the situation as opposed to just letting it go. whether that means i’ve been beaten into submission or i’m just a wuss, i don’t know, but i have yet to have anything remotely positive come out of being confrontational.

i had a recent incident which resulted in me calling the cops (for the first time since 1994). i don’t feel like getting into the details but it just underscored that no one (least of all the cops) really gives a shit. sure, you can take someone to court (either criminal or civil) but you’re most likely just wasting your time.

it’s complete stupidity. the only defense you have is yourself. don’t ride near parked cars or any other obstacle – take the lane both to deter someone from passing unsafely and to give yourself more room to maneuver if they do. i don’t know what else to say.


Lyle
Participant
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underscored that no one (least of all the cops) really gives a shit

Maybe if you broke into tears it would help?


thehistorian
Participant
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RubberFactory, I’m sorry someone threatened you.

Folks, is that sort of thing typical of Pittsburgh drivers?


Pierce
Participant
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I would say atypical. I’ve been cycling about 120+ miles a week for about three years in and around Pittsburgh, and have only been verbally threatened with violence twice. Only once did a person get out of their car.


thehistorian
Participant
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Hmm, I’m ridden 7K miles over the past four years, and I’ve never been threatened. Your response, Pierce, doesn’t give me comfort.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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i’ve been commuting and riding recreationally in pittsburgh for about eight years now, and i’ve been threatened once. no one has come close to getting out.

the “threatened” situation was a guy who yelled at me as he passed, and i jauntily saluted him (not a one-finger salute, but more like a tip-o’-the-cap salute). that upset him so he started yelling and said next time he would run me over. i laughed and he sped off. i didn’t feel in danger, though i did get a bit of an adrenaline spike.

i would say RF’s experience is very atypical.


netviln
Participant
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I agree. I have had verbal exchanges.. but I have those when I drive and the other drive is an ass too.

Since I moved out to where all I take is trails for my commute, I cant remember of any altercations.. except when I yelled at someone for driving on the trail.


Greasefoot
Participant
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I’m sorry to hear about your ordeal.

The City of Pgh police have some strange policies. If this would have happened in any of the burbs they would have ran the plate, looked up the person’s name and address, and then tried to question them for the police report.

At the least the police should have looked up the plate number to see if the car was stolen.


rsprake
Participant
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thehistorian, It all depends on your response to shitty drivers. If you ignore the assholes they ignore you, if you engage them, they will engage you. I just STFU and mind my own business.


Pierce
Participant
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Yeah, I was just about to say something similar. If I ignored those people, the situation would not have escalated any further most likely.

(Luckily, I was conscious enough of the situation to deescalate them once I realized we were approaching the threshold of physical violence, which I endeavor to refrain from)


Nick D
Participant
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When I had a similar situation, the reporting police officer tried to run the plate number, and with no avail, ran variations of the number I gave her. Still, with no luck, she said she would look keep her eye out for the car.

I’m glad that 911 was helpful, but I’d say that officer could have done more.

Also, good job handling the situation. I wouldn’t have had the same outcome. Once someone gets out of their car, they become the aggressor, and self-defense kicks in.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Sorry you had that happen to you RF.

Unfortunately I drive more than I bike, and I’ve had aggressive drivers cut me off in my vehicle and brake check me also (and I don’t want to overlook the fact that you’re completely exposed when on a bike). But I do want to make the point that I think a lot of the aggressive driving behavior isn’t necessarily directed at cyclists, although the consequences would be far graver due to the heightened physical vulnerability.

Aggressive drivers are aggressive regardless of whether it is another car or a cyclist.


ejwme
Participant
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what ALMKLM said. Got honked at this morning while in the sharrows on Hamilton, literally as I’m biking on top of white paint. They passed on the right, and proceeded to honk and rev at the cars in front of us (it was a red light, not sure where we were all gonna go). I’d have been more irritated if I hadn’t immediately had proof that it wasn’t personal. He must have been REALLY anxious to get to church on time, poor guy.


jeg
Participant
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thehistorian – For what it’s worth, I’ve been threatened (by people who got out of their cars to approach me, one with a potential weapon) twice while DRIVING in Pittsburgh. One was for going the speed limit, and one I attribute to road rage.

I don’t think it says anything about the city, just that people can be jerks.


thehistorian
Participant
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Oh, we have jerks out here too. I drive home at night through Valley Forge National Historic Park, and even though the park is known to have police looking for speeders, I routinely have people highbeaming me for not exceeding the speed limit.

Worst incident on a bike was when someone tossed french fries at me from their car. I can’t tell if it was road rage or they wanted to insult me for being fat. I’m lucky it didn’t take place in Pittsburgh, or they might have thrown Primanti’s stuff at me.


Mick
Participant
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yesterday and today, I was buzzed going down 5th to the Birmingham – both times I was taking the lane and the car went partly inot the other lane and so simultanesously buzzed me and another car.

I’m gonna start doing the LEFT side of the lane.


wojty
Participant
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Just don’t give them too much room to pass on the right… ;)


Lyle
Participant
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Mick, that’s what I do. Two feet right of the stripe, at least partly because the road is patched up any farther right than that.

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