Hostile Driver Experience AKA Lesson Learned

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Noah Mustion
Participant
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Well after hearing about everyone else’s hostile driver experiences, I finally had my own today. Took a lunch date with my lady and as we were crossing the Rachel Carson bridge from the north side, the light was turning to red at Fort Duquesne. As we came to a stop, somewhat suddenly as we were reluctant to cross the “highway” against the light, this van tore right past us from behind, between our lane and the other one, blaring his horn, speeding through the red light. I eventually caught up to him (funny how that works) at Liberty and Smithfield, and he was expecting me – he rolled down his window. So, I said “hey, the fucking light was red back there!” to which the rasta driver responded, very deliberately, “Kiss. My. Ass.” I think I told him to go fuck himself, or something to that effect when my date caught up to me, yelled at me for being such a macho idiot (she’s right) and we proceeded to our destination, Sree’s… only to see our rasta friend go around the block, park, and enter the very same establishment for lunch. This asshole ran a red light, almost running over two cyclists, just to go eat $5 of mediocre Indian food? Really?

Of course, I was too chickenshit to go in there and face him again so we had to abort and go somewhere else… fail. So lesson learned, leave the driver alone. No need to educate them cause they simply don’t give a goddam. Certainly ruined my day, but I’m lucky he didn’t get out and beat my ass. But I’ll be looking over my shoulder as I bike downtown for the next week or two…

What I should have done is taken down his van number and company name to call & complain but then again, what good would that have done either… if PAT doesn’t care about their drivers accountability, what about some small contractor… yeah, right.


robjdlc
Participant
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You’d be surprised – especially if the owner of said business rides a bike. Other considerations might be that the guy was running a red in a company vehicle, or maybe he should have been working instead of stuffing his face. You never know.


quizbot
Participant
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+1 for noting plate number/ company name & making it a priority over sparking a confrontation. In the past I have responded to driver shouting with reciting their plate number… gives them something to think about for the rest of the day.


dbacklover
Participant
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I think I really like Quizbot’s idea. I like it alot.


nottheocean
Participant
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Ugh – I need to vent too. I was almost hit about 30 minutes ago on Butler outbound approaching 40th. I was in the middle of the right lane and a yellow sports car driving way too fast passed me a little close, which forced me to the right, when a guy in a black shiny pickup passed me within about a centimeter. Upon realizing he hadn’t actually hit me, I threw up my hands and yelled “HEY!” as he slowed down and stopped for the red light. I moved into the left lane, pulled up beside him, and he was just shaking his head, just like I do when drivers do dumb shit. His window was all the way down, so I said “You could have given me a little more room back there.” He ignored me. Continued shaking his head. The part where I asked him if he was deaf in addition to being blind only happened in my head, so it doesn’t really bear mentioning…Then became really interested in his phone. So interested in fact, that when the light he was so pissed about missing turned green, he was still texting away. Even when the car behind him beeped, nothing. I was still sitting there, because there was no fucking way I was getting in front of him again. It took a second beep to get him moving. I don’t know what to make of his reaction, but I have a sneaking suspicion he couldn’t tell I was a girl from behind when he was trying to kill me, and then was embarrassed once I was staring and yelling at him. Either way, Lawrencevillians, watch out for 25-35 year old guys with short hair and a bunch of tattoos in black trucks. Would have been greatly helpful if I had been calm enough to note what the make and model and license plate were, but no dice.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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Quizbot you win. It’s just hard to do simple things like remember license numbers, company names, etc. in the heat of the moment. Easier to get angry and macho and screamy. Ugh…


rsprake
Participant
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My experience last week is still haunting me and the thing that would have made me forget about it the next day would have been if I would have just passed the two vehicles on the right and turned illegally on red which is the direction I was heading. I would have avoided the entire altercation and it would have just been some asshat yelling nonsense out the window.


quizbot
Participant
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The cop at the Zone 5 public safety meeting endorsed cyclists breaking traffic laws when necessary in the interest of safety.


dwillen
Participant
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Trying to cross crosswalks in Oakland is a pain, mostly thanks to private cars, but the cars with a big ass phone number across the side usually stop without a problem. I love when some jerk in a company car puts me in danger. I have a name and phone number to call and vent to. Some companies will take this stuff seriously, so next time note the name, and any other identifying features. I bet the boss paying the insurance bill would be not so pleased to know their employees are blowing red lights and harassing cyclists with their resources. If nothing else, you can post the name here for all to Google. I’d be less interested in hiring a contractor if when I googled them, I got a bunch of angry cyclists complaining they were almost killed.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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Well you know what – the company that this van is for has vehicles all over the city. I’ve been seeing a lot of them the past few days. I’ll remember it when I see it, so I’ll be sure to call when I do. And tell them about their douchebag driver, an older black man with a ras, wearing a red and black hat and glasses. Worth a shot I guess.


mattre
Participant
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I had one today: I was riding up Brighton mid-way between North and California (narrow, cars on both sides, crappy pavement, for those not familiar with the Northside) in my normal spot just outside the door zone.

Some guy in a silver Kia angrily honked, and then blew past with about eight inches to spare. I gave the basic, arms-out, “what the fuck?!?” gesture, and he responded by raising his arm and giving me the finger. I responded in kind.

He pulled over half-a-block ahead to wait for me, and when I got close he stuck his head out the window and said, “Why are you riding so far into the road?”

“So I don’t get hit by a door!!”, and I pointed at the cars parked along the road and kept riding. I thought I saw the lightbulb go off, and instead of arguing, he pulled out and hung back, and left me a full car-length at the light at California. When he passed me on the other side of the light, he went slowly and was halfway into the other lane.

I think I got through to that one ;)


Lyle
Participant
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Nice.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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WELL DONE!


cburch
Participant
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i had a similar encounter last summer with a group of young guys in a convertible. passed way to close and screamed at me to get off the road. easily caught up to them at the next red light and had a little discussion about the rules of the road and cyclists rights. by the end they were being quite nice and gave me plenty of room on the pass.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I practice in my head what I’d say if these sorts of things would happen to me. So far, I’ve been lucky; they haven’t. But I am thinking about the quick comebacks. I think this one will do the trick:

“This is all being recorded on video, you know. Who do you work for, again?”

First, though, I gotta get a helmet cam.


BradQ
Participant
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Do you always drive this way, or are you just learning?


Nick D
Participant
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Knowing the company name always helps. Even if the company doesn’t care, it can give someone Googling the company’s name something to read about.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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I’ll keep an eye out today for the company vehicles and as soon as I see one/remember the name, I’ll 1. call them and 2. tell you all who it is. But for now I can just say, white van, ubiquitous blue & red logo on side, older rasta man with glasses and red & black hat.


surly jason
Participant
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@ Noah: white van with ubiquitous blue & red logo? Maybe a pittsburgh parking authority van?

I was nearly sideswiped on North Shore Drive this morning by a bus — again — so I sent an email into the pat complaint black hole. But that’s another story that belongs elsewhere in the forum … sigh …


cburch
Participant
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jason, forward your email to dowd. quizbot and i talked to him about pat not following up on these issues last night and he was taking it very seriously. the more examples he has the easier it will be for him to go to steve bland and hold pat accountable.


Lyle
Participant
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bland is not accountable to city council. The lack of accountability all around is part of the problem.


cburch
Participant
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no but they are more likely to get his ear than we are with individual emails/phone calls to the black hole.

its seems like this might be something to take up with the county, re:pat’s lack of any sort of accountability to ANYONE about ANYTHING.


surly jason
Participant
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The only reason I emailed is because I usually am put on hold for a long time and give up. At least if I send an email, hopefully, there’s a record of my complaint.

If there’s a system in place, it shouldn’t require going to the top man to address system-wide issues (dangerous vehicle operation, no response from the complaint department, etc).


cburch
Participant
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yeah but unfortunately the system is VERY broken…


surly jason
Participant
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I have had two incidents issues with the Point Park shuttle vans and reported them both: one time it pulled away from the curb without warning and came within inches of hitting my left leg and knocking me to the ground. The second time, the van crossed the double yellow and drove against traffic to get through a red light.

I don’t get the folks who operate these marked vehicles — do they think people won’t notice or won’t complain? Sometimes I catch them and ask and, if they’re reasonable folks who treat me with respect, I give them the benefit. If they’re *ssholes, then I report them.

Which makes me wonder about bus drivers and how they are so consistenly bad. I guess the answer is that nobody at pat cares and that there are apparently no consequences for dangerous operation.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Well, I’m listening and taking notes. Not that PAT is accountable to ACTC, but we do have a direct ear to staff. In particular, the black-hole CustSvc thing really needs some attention, quick.

Some of the rest of it is the usual pissing contest between labor and management. Never mind what staff policy is, if Local 85 doesn’t want to do it, it doesn’t happen. I have a long list of things that should happen but just don’t, and the loser is the rider or the general public.

As in most things, most of the drivers are decent & caring, but there’s always that just-big-enough minority that sours the taste for the rest of us.


Lyle
Participant
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I’m wondering if, as regards PAT, maybe someone should set up a skimmer to take complaints before forwarding them on. And make those complaints public. That way they can’t be swept under the rug.


Swalfoort
Participant
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That was sort of where I was heading with my question about whether a call to 911 that was subsequently referred to PAT Police would be retained within the 911 system. The answer from the County 911 system is “no.”


Noah Mustion
Participant
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Nah it wasn’t PAT related. Some sort of smaller company. I didn’t see any of their vehicles downtown today, oh well.

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