Significant Hit & Run #2 (No injuries/ bike damage)
I was coming home from a great opening night of my new musical improv team at the Steel City Improv theater, cycling home on East End Ave around 10:30pm in Regent Sq, a guy honks at me and passes me. He stops at the intersection of Overton and I have about half a block to catch up to him, so I pass him on the right, since he’s still sitting there. He then lays on his horn.
After crossing the intersection, I turn around and kind of put my bike perpendicular to him. (He’s still across the steet) He then hits the gas and tries to pass to my left (his right) and I back towards the way he’s coming with my bike, which he hits. Initially, I thought he ran over my bike, but luckily, it appears he just hit my attached pannier, which then caused the bike to swing. My rear wheel fell out at the same time as did some stuff from my pannier, but I rode home after putting the wheel back in and didn’t notice any apparent damage.
I’m pretty sure it was a red mazda coupe. He made a left towards Hutchinson. I also think this guy has harassed me before (maybe a month or so ago) because I got into a sustained argument with the same car before on Hutchinson, closer to the gas station. That time he followed me from at least Race St (where the busway underpass is) and he might have come the same way as me from Edgewood Primary School. So either he lives around there or that path of travel is convenient for him as it is me.
Edging me more towards getting a camera… I could have potentially nailed this asswipe, who could have easily run me over and I would have documentation of the first time he harassed me. It was a difference of less than the length of my bicycle. Also, maybe not a good idea to get in the path of travel of a car that’s already given you shit.
I’m accustomed to people arguing with me and hitting me due to careless/shit driving. I’ve even experienced somebody ramming me at slow speed. I’m not accustomed to people hitting me at high speed, when either a left or right turn would have completely avoided me. This incident was also unique in that during the entire interaction, I didn’t say anything.
But hey, at least Joe Wos has changed his mind about cyclists…
Pierce, that’s awful.
It’s good that yo0u and your bike are both OK. (I guess?)
I wish they would occasionally prosecute a driver for assault with a deadly weapon. The law should face that reality.
I’m pretty confused by you description of events.
It sounds like you crossed the intersection, stopped, and when the driver moved forward, you backed your bike into his lane of travel.
It does neither you nor the rest of us any good if you’re goading them on or purposely causing trouble.
One of the main things about my having a camera is that it shows that I *was* doing the right thing. I am beyond reproach in these situations.
I’ll keep an eye out for that car, that’s my neck of the woods (when I’m in town). In fact, I must have just missed you last night by no more than fifteen minutes… too bad, I was in a car and would have totally chased this pos down.
Glad you’re OK. On a happier note, this post made me want to check out Steel City Improv.
Yeah, I’m confused as well… What do you mean by “I turn around and kind of put my bike perpendicular to him” and how/why did you “back towards the way he was coming with [your] bike”? Were you stopped in the street for some reason? Were you on your bike?
Anyway, I think all of those using the street, especially large vehicles, have an obligation to try not hit things that are in the roadway/their path. I’ll be mindful of this since I live over there too.
Correct Eric. I essentially tried to cork him, after he waited at the intersection for me and then honked at me when I passed him. After he honked, I stopped and dismounted, assuming he wanted to say something to me, with my bicycle and the intersection between him and myself.
When I reassembled my bike in the road, I was close enough to the curb that another car passed me coming from the same direction as the guy who hit me and he didn’t (from my memory) even have to leave his lane of travel to pass me and I didn’t feel like I was in the middle of the road.
My strategy, which perhaps I should rethink, is that if people want to be asswipes in a car, if I have the opportunity to stop them (or block one way of travel) and engage in conversation, why not? I also presumed he initially stopped before I passed him because he wanted to engage me in conversation. I’m usually in front of the car when this happens, and in this case, if the guy felt threatened, and again, I hadn’t even said anything at this point, he could have turned either direction instead of heading at a decent clip to three feet to side of me.
I think responding to harassment from a car with civil disobedience is fair game. But perhaps, according to the response so far, in that scenario, it’s also fair game for me to be run over. I’m glad that tank driver from Tienanmen Square has more respect for that kind of action than this board does
Most people were just trying to clarify what you did, not saying you shouldn’t have done it, the way I read the responses.
How would you feel if someone tried to cork you in intersection with a car? Or some other rider felt like he wanted to stop you for a lecture?
Dude obviously should have made every attempt to not hit you, but your actions probably confused the hell out of dude.
I’m not saying you should not have done what you did, but I would definitely have handled it differently.
* I would already have been fully taking the lane. It is not clear whether you were doing that or not, but if the lane is less than about 17 feet, I get wayyy left, and stay there. (At about 14-15 feet, I go maybe six feet off the right edge, just far enough left that motorists can’t easily squeeze past, so will at least slow down if they try.) I will move right if it’s safe to. If it’s an absurdly wide 18 to 25 feet, I will stay to the right. I will only pull into the parking lane if I’m not going to be up on the next parked car within 15 seconds travel time.
* I definitely would not have passed him on the right. That’s the goading part. Unless you had an open right lane, I’d’ve just gotten in line behind him. Having bright-ass lights pointed straight at his mirror at the next stop light is entirely optional.
* And I definitely would not have gotten in front of him and tried to block traffic. As I see it, you were in violation of some piece of 3353.
You were asking for trouble and got it, regardless of who instigated it.
I get really pissed off when people do things that might hurt or kill me (and apoplectic when they do those to my kids) so I totally understand, but I do sense an element in the reaction of others that is about like mine. I understand the urge to be like the guy in front of the tank, but it is very likely that he died before the day was done.
A guy squeezed me off pretty good on South Dallas just across Penn a few months ago — I posted about it on the dangerous drivers thread — but another part of the story was that my wife, who was a bit behind me when the event happened, biked up on the sidewalk and started to position her bike in front of the guys car. I was beside it and engaged in a somewhat heated conversation that was none-the-less a conversation. We were in fact exchanging opinions. One of his opinions was that he could well hit me with his car if I got in the way again, so I pretty emphatically asked my wife to get out of the way.
The whole point is that they CAN kill us quite easily, and some people really DO run other people down when they get mad. Getting in front of a car while arguing with (or starting to argue with) a driver is almost like pulling a gun out of their pocket and pointing it at yourself. I just don’t think it is worth it.
I live in the Regent Square area and I will keep an eye out for this person. My suggestion especially at 10:30 at night is to avoid confrontation. It’s not worth it.
I have to confess, I’ve been tempted to behave similarly to Pierce a time or two. Haven’t had to deal with any really egregious assholes in a long time, but I remember feeling the urge to just shove my way in front of a jagoff in a transit van in the Strip and block him until he saw the error of his ways.
Of course, here’s the funny part…I then, for the first time, realized that *I* was road raging. Sure, I wasn’t wrapped in a protective steel cage at the time, but it was the exact same impulse…the burning anger and sense of self-righteousness, leading me to want to show ’em who’s boss. That utter certainty that I had been treated unjustly, and I was in The Right, and somehow twisting that in my head to mean that I had to do something to prove it to my antagonist.
Escalation is rarely a good idea, it’s the kind of thing that inspires road rangers to exit their vehicle and come at you, especially on a Friday / Saturday night when alcohol may be a factor in preventing common sense from prevailing.
I changed my attitude after a situation which I escalated came to a head. I’ve had 2 cars stop in front and behind me, boxing me in and two really pissed off folks (and a 3rd in the other car) approach me aggressively. I de-escalated and apologized, not because I was wrong in telling them to get off their fracking cellphone and drive (because they went straight in the right turn only lane and pushed me dangerously close to the oncoming traffic lane), but because being right wouldn’t have won me anything besides some self satisfaction that those people just ‘got told’.
I’d prefer the aggro people, bad drivers, and suspected DUI drivers in front of me, not behind me. I won’t pass them. At least from there I can easily keep an eye on them and make sure they are not going to do anything to compromise my safety. When they are behind me, I can’t see them and can’t predict what they will do.
@ Benzo I’d prefer the aggro people, bad drivers, and suspected DUI drivers in front of me, not behind me.
I often let motor traffic pass me, even if ti takes a second or two of my time.
A car in front of me is my friend. A car behind me is trying to kill me.
NOTE: Friday and Saturday nights, every single driver is a suspected DUI driver. Taxis and police cars NOT excepted.
I would never get myself in front of an already-known-hostile driver. If engagement and discussion seemed appropriate, pulling up alongside on the passenger side would be the place to do it, where they can’t do anything to you with their “weapon”. Observing the way police approach stopped vehicles reveals a lot. Plus that would allow you to get a nice commemorative photo of the individual.
Ironically, this asshole was likely using East End Ave, low speed residential street, to avoid traffic and stoplights on Braddock.
Did you file a police report? Seems appropriate.
I live in the area and will keep an eye out.
One thing i’ve learned after having experience with aggressive drivers is to never put myself in their direction of travel. Even if just intending on talking to them nicely, never get in front or behind their car such that they could strike you. Some might intentionally try to hit or sideswipe while other might merely attempt to scare and then get too close.
I did not file a police report, because the last time I did when another bike of mine was totaled in a hit and run (left turn into me) and I had a partial plate, nothing apparently came of it. Come to think of it, for all I know, an actual report may not have even *been* filed. I don’t know, maybe I’ll still file one. I have the time, date and location.
At the very least, perhaps I’ll stick to arguing alongside stopped people, rather than in front of them. I’m going to guess the amount of people being assaulted by cars is being vastly under-reported because even in our small community we come across hit and runs with ambulance rides that don’t make the news. I don’t know how to combat this violence.
I’ll work on turning the other cheek. I used to be better at it. Maybe I should volunteer at freeride or something to get more people on the road rather than arguing with morons.
This is relevant to being assertive about bicycle “rights”:
(he even sorta looks like my new gravatar…)
Despite our militarized borders and large prison population, I always took freedom of movement to be a basic human right, regardless of mode of transportation
Walking on a sidewalk? Basic human right.
Riding a bicycle? I’ll go along with that being a right.
Driving a car? Not really a “basic right” since to do it on public roads requires a license. And insurance.
Placing your bike in front of someone else’s means of transportation? Not a right.
IANAL, but I’m pretty sure our right ends when it infringes on another’s.
I’m glad you didn’t get hurt.
Some drivers seem to think cyclists are always getting in their way. They never think of things from any point of view but their own. Perhaps this driver interpreted your positioning not as “I want to discuss your bad driving so I have blocked your car to encourage a dialogue” but as “I want to get in your way because, being a cyclist, that’s what I live to do”.
From his actions, I’m guessing he wasn’t the sort of driver you could have a productive discussion with anyway.
This all sounds so stressful to me. I guess I am getting old. Hope you don’t have any situations like this again. Please be careful out there. Plenty of idiots around.
I’m still working on that “turning the other cheek” thing myself, but there’s no excuse for the guy hitting you regardless.
I shouted at a driver last month.
My voice hasn’t quite been the same since.
and now for something completely different
I was taking the right lane heading toward dippy , Guy lays on the horn I FU and then the next car screams you lost your bag .
I just had to rethink road rage ?
Be safe not worth the rage either way !!
Pierce: I live in Edgewood near Race & Pennwood. I’ll keep an eye out for a red Mazda coupe.
@ Cowchip … the next car screams you lost your bag .
I just laughed aloud in the meanest Portlandia-veiwer way.
I hope you don’t mind too much.
Neilmd — it is all fun and games for that bicycle dude in Portlandia until the episode where he gets a car, and then he turns into a “car rights” guy. (: Great episode.
I can empathize with all positions here. Sometimes I can let it go when cut off. Sometimes I let it fly. When in wise mind, I totally know that letting it go is the best policy — it is me and a bike vs. a 3,000+ lb car and an unknown quantity of a driver. However, sometimes it just feels so good to let it go and be an asshole back to the person in the car.
I’d say, though, that my nice guy to asshole ratio while on a bike is directly proportional to the neighborhood, my best guess at the driver, the type of car, and the time of day. Anything during the dark turns me into the most passive, you-go-first you important car guy, rider ever. Coming home from work at 3:30 pm, not so much.
There is so much emotion involved in a near miss, so much fight or flight, while we can all understand that, in wise mind, it makes so much sense not to confront, while in the situation we can all empathize that people sometimes make a different decision. However, if the guy on the bike can’t be in wise mind, then the guy driving the vehicle that weighs 20-30x the amount of the bike needs to make a good decision too.
The more I think about getting a camera, the more I think it’ll turn ME into more of a gentleman and avoid confrontations. After all, who wants to turn over the SD card to the police and have the police see you (me) look like a raging asshole just before getting hit?
I remember getting into a confrontation with some dudes a long
time ago. We thought that the worst thing that could happen would
be a fist fight. Then they stabbed my friend in the chest 6 times. I
try not to confront people anymore.
Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I will try and keep them in mind as I ride. I will also try to keep Freewillie in mind, who is languishing behind bars due to a confrontation. (Not saying it’s right, the court transcripts were never produced here, so I don’t know what happened.)
I think our rage is valid, but it’s up to us how to channel it :/
Well, I came about one word away from getting into a fist fight last night. Only the second time a guy has got out of his car before, but I’ve had about two quasi-threatening to do so.
For me, it started with the guy cutting me off by target to get in front of me at a red light, which annoyed me. He leaned out of his window and said “Your light is bright,” to which I said nothing. He was in front of me, I was behind, but kind of to the left of his rear.
This was on Broad St. We both made a left on Center and some other moron ran a red light because she was fed up with the stupid short light cycle there. (Usually only time for one car to get out before a yellow starts.)
Then traffic was backed up by Spoon because of valet parking, so I went around the person who ran the red light and ended up behind the guy who said my light was bright again. At this point, he started randomly slamming on his brakes, which in turn caused me to slam on my brakes. This went on from about PNC Bank to Whole Foods. Took me a while to realize he was doing it with intent, otherwise I could have saved myself some braking.
Then he hit another red light and I decided to exchange some choice words with him. I think it stated with “You’re driving like an asshole.” At one point, he said my light was annoying, at another point he threatened to run me over in the future, and at another point, and this is a first, he was mimicking me like someone in grade school, and to which I have not been subjected to since. I believe he was riding with wife/partner and children and what finally got him out of the car was “Hey kids, don’t become an asshole like your dad.” (FWIW, when not in the heat of the moment, I prefer asswipe.)
Now granted, I’m still pretty smug about that final quip, but the whole exchange didn’t really serve any purpose besides my venting. So he got out of his car and so I dismounted and put my bike between him and me and he said something along the lines of “What did you say about my kids!” and I said “I didn’t say anything about your kids.” And then he got back in his car and drove off.
The interaction reminded me of this thread http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/right-or-wrong-call-out-another-cyclist/#post-305481 and I’m starting to wonder if it is not equally futile to engage motorists on their piss poor driving. It also reminded me that I should brush up on my non-violent communication skills, since there was really no need to egg the guy on to such an extent and throwing profanities at him probably won’t improve his road behavior. If anything, it will probably make him act more reckless around cyclists in the future.
P.S. There is a red car that fits the description of my previous incident, that’s on East End Ave, but it’s not the guy. That car is owned by a young guy and my assailant is a guy in his I’d say 40’s
You know, I wish I would’ve handled that better than you did, but probably not.
If any of you are feeling particularly macho one day and think about picking fights, I urge you to keep it to yourself.
Scenario: You are the best fighter in the city. You are riding around and get into an altercation. The other guy gets out of his car, gets intimidated, and drives off.
Result: You feel good about yourself and ride off.
Result: The intimidated guy finds someone smaller and weaker and takes out their frustration on them.
(Keep in mind the kind of dickhead that drives aggressively in the first place.)
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