stock complaint on entitled driver

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bikefind
Participant
#

I know people on this board have dealt with this kind of thing a million times, but I was so pissed about it I needed to come home and start typing.

I was riding in traffic on Murray Ave in Squirrel Hill, staying no more than a car length behind the car in front of me, and the driver behind me keeps tapping his horn. Like I’m going to pull over and let him go in front of me? (I do this if I can’t go as fast as the cars are all trying to go, but I wasn’t holding anyone up today.) Then, when I get to where I’m going and I get off the road, this charmer lays on his horn.

Ok, so some people have this little monster gnawing on the inside of their brain, saying “can’t be behind a bike, can’t be behind a bike, can’t be behind a bike!” and they can’t stand it and they’re upset, so they lay on the horn upon parting as an expression of anger and frustration. I understand. I don’t agree, I don’t like it, but I understand. But tapping the horn while we’re in traffic? (traffic, btw, was moving, but not terribly fast.) Makes me think that he wasn’t just upset, but actually thought he was right. Like he truly expected me to be like, “OH! There’s a *car* behind me! So sorry – let me just get myself off the road for you.”

grrrr.

It’s not my first run in with someone I don’t think should be let out of the house, but it doesn’t get easier with repetition. For me anyway. I did try the trick of “think of how much more fun you’re having than he is” which helped a little, but not so much that I didn’t need to come home and whine at yinz.

Good, anyway, to have a place to grumble.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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A Tony Kornheiser listener, perhaps?


helen s
Participant
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Maybe they knew you, or someone on the sidewalk?They thought your rear wheel was out of true?

This might have been a chance for some education to take place, but unfortunatley the horning driver may not have been willing to have a conversation.

If they were a Tony K. follower, they just would have hit you.


bikefind
Participant
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@stu: Tony has actually crossed my mind during my last couple rides. Well actually not “Tony” literally, but “that waste of human tissue on that station I never listen to”. (I’m making an effort not to learn his name.) But although I’ve worried a little about him having some effect on the quality of my rides, the world seems to be offering the same proportion of nice drivers and twisted souls. OTOH, it only takes one. (also, what helen said.)

@helen: Darn! I think my rear wheel *is* out of true – I’ve been meaning to work on it but keep putting it off/forgetting. I bet they were trying to help: maybe even had a truing stand in their trunk ready to go, we could have set up right on the sidewalk. How foolish I feel. To have kept them from doing a good deed, frustrating their intentions to the point that they were driven to lean on the horn as they passed. I hope they get a chance to help someone else before too long, that’d probably make them feel better.


Willie
Participant
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I had a car ride up my ass tonight in downtown. I was dragging a trailer and had 2 tail lights but it didn’t matter he still revved up my ass. So I pulled to the right lane when I was able to safely and the car passes me. To my surprise it was a cop and he had his passenger side window open glaring at me like I did something wrong. Also earlier today I came to a intersection and waited for a crosswalk, as soon as I got it I started to cross. Some jerk trying to take a right off of 2nd ave onto the street I was crossing started laying on his horn and told me to “get my fat ass across the road”. I yelled to him that I have a crosswalk and at that point he laid on his horn again and stayed on it in till I was out of earshot.


mark
Participant
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i usually let these people pass if its a long stretch where i know i will stay with traffic, then I pass them as soon as i would have normally pass someone… then if they do it again I do the same thing till they get the point or one of us turns… usually its just funny, once it ended with the person trying to hit me when i passed them for the second time… oh well…

sometimes i wish i had my air horn hooked up again so i could sit behind people and blast it at them.


rsprake
Participant
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One of the funniest moments like this for me was when I was traveling towards “East Side” on Highland Ave. I was stopping in traffic and was right behind a line of cars that were also stopped. The person behind me honked their horn at me like I could do anything about the traffic ahead of us. I turned around and just looked at them puzzled and pointed at all the traffic in front of us and shrugged my shoulders.


edmonds59
Participant
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The “think how much more fun you’re having…” approach doesn’t work for me at all, it’s bull. You have the right to be pissed off at this idiot, not the reverse. He intruded on the nice day you were having, and pooped on it. Take that little ember of anger and fan it, then toss it into your mental collection of “why things need to change”, then move on with your nice life. The idiot driver has moved on and is probably angry with something new, his kids, his wife, the way the stupid birds are chirping, f*k him. Incidents like that just drive me to ride even more, I channel it into the pedals. It’s a great motivator.


chefjohn
Participant
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“The idiot driver has moved on and is probably angry with something new, his kids, his wife, the way the stupid birds are chirping, f*k him”

F! Yeah! It’s really hard not to let other people’s negative karma affect your positive life. I’ve got a wife, kids, and sometimes those god damned birds…

Letting go of jagoff comments from jagoff drivers is no diffeerant than any of the other challenges that you face on any given day. Yeah, it sucks but for now it’s still part of the game. Keep riding and F**K HIM!


bikefind
Participant
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wow, this is great. I went home yesterday to deal with some family crap, and came back to all this good stuff. thanks all.

@willie: omg. what a couple of jerks. It’d be so nice if the ill-informed, offensive driver category didn’t include (some) cops. gad. And the guy laying on the horn for so long? I get pissed just thinking about people doing that. Then again, you said he did it until you were out of earshot, and once you were out of earshot, I suppose he could have still been blaring. I’m choosing to imagine that his horn got stuck, and is still blaring somewhere, really pissing off his 300 lb power-lifting neighbor.

Thansks edmonds59, this (“He intruded on the nice day you were having, and pooped on it.”) created a mental image, and I needed a laugh. As it happens, though, I *don’t* need to fan any of my embers. (I have the self-fanning sort, generally I need to encourage them in the other direction.) Anyway, I can get pissed at entitled drivers, and I can have really strong opinions about how things ought to be for cyclists, but I think it’s true that if someone’s acting like a complete asshat, it’s a fair bet that they’re not, at that moment, filled with euphoria, sitting on top of the world. And I’m getting that high off riding my bike (even with the poop) so there’s some value there for me. (Doesn’t mean I’d be less likely to act if an opportunity arose to make life harder for people who drive like this, it’s just an internal mechanism to try to keep from going into meltdown.)

@rsprake: yes! makes one want to go up to these people and say “what *exactly* is the issue troubling you here?” except, of course, that I don’t really (really don’t) want to interact with these people at all. (see self-flaming embers problem)

@mark: mmm. airhorn. nono. will.not.get.airhorn. breathe. ok I’m good.

@chefjohn: yeah! and thanks. I’ve been trying* lately to get off my habit of using words suggesting diminished mental capacity in describing people who behave hideously and leave me pissed off. (Mainly because there are some lovely people out there with diminished mental capacity who don’t deserve the association with these people or the derisive connotation they inspire.) And I end up running through my vocabulary looking for a good (stress releasing) choice. Stupid. no. moron. no. idiot. sigh. Jagoff! perfect. thanks again.

*just trying. mainly failing, but still trying.


Mick
Participant
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@willie To my surprise it was a cop and he had his passenger side window open glaring at me like I did something wrong

This is one of the few situations where you could probably get someone to talk to the guy. If you got the number from his car or the licemse, any ID. A few emails would have someone talk to him.

of course, it wouldn’t be much, but at least he would be forced to think about it again.

@ Bikefind Ok, so some people have this little monster gnawing on the inside of their brain, saying “can’t be behind a bike, can’t be behind a bike, can’t be behind a bike!”

[snip]

Like he truly expected me to be like, “OH! There’s a *car* behind me! So sorry – let me just get myself off the road for you.”

Looks like you totally understand all the thought processes behind that behavior. It’s a shame that it is so difficult to change it.

Maybe if you stopped at a light you could talk to the guy, but if I were in your situation, I would have a hard time not switching to “SCREAM-AT-THIS-@SSH*LE” mode.

I was on the Southside on Saturday a week+ ago, the St Pat’s day weekend. I was surprised at just the opposite. I could NOT get a car to go through a four-way stop first and I had guys stopping on Carson St when I had a stop sign and they didn’t.

The trouble is , I still have to stop because I can’t afford to be wrong in those situations (even if I’m right!). It would be more convenient for both of us if a driver goes when I wave him through.

Mick


bikefind
Participant
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A couple people have talked about the opportunity for education, and while I know I’m not the person to try, at least in that situation (interacting calmly while stressed: not my strong suit) I’m curious about what anyone would envision saying to them in that vein.

I can’t imagine that someone whose blood boils at the notion of having to ride behind a bike, even if the cyclist isn’t slowing them down, is going to be moved by someone pointing out that we have a right to be there. Not in the desired direction anyway.

Anyone have ideas, about what you’d say if you were trying to educate here? (Again, not that I think I could pull it off, but I think just seeing an example might be a good start for me.)


nottheocean
Participant
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I took the opportunity to attempt to educate the fat SUV driver trying to Pittsburgh-left me on Penn & 9th a week and a half ago. Normally, I probably would have just let him go, but he didn’t have a turn signal on, and I was entering the intersection by the time he started turning. He threw up his hands in disgust, so as I passed his rolled down window, I calmly reminded him that I had the right of way. In response, he screamed “TREEHUGGER!” in my face. I’d love to be able to say I kept my cool here, but instead screamed “FUCK YOU!” right back. At least I didn’t spit on him…?


Willie
Participant
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I have tried a few times to talk calmly to drivers that where behind me getting pissed off. Most are not receptive to it. One lady went completely crazy and told me I was making her late for her doctor appointment after she passed me illegally going down sycamore. The thing was as she passed me she screamed and gave me the finger for no reason. I pulled up to her at the stop sign at the bottom of the hill and told her as calm as I could that there was no reason to put me or her in danger like that. She didn’t even try to talk to me, just started going ape shit. I have had 2 or 3 similar incidents also.

What annoys me the most is the people that almost hit you or curse at you for being on a bike in front of them and when you try to say something to them they completely ignore you like you don’t even exist.

I was successful on one attempt to educate a man on the rights of bicycles using the sidewalk on the smithfield street bridge last summer after we almost got into a fight. Not sure if it count thought because he was on foot.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I think if we had helmet cams, it would cause us to “do that Ghandi thing” a little better, and if things really do end up in a police report, the evidence will all be there: driver error, driver going ballistic, cyclist in the right, cyclist keeping cool.

Maybe a simple “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera” is all we need.


bikefind
Participant
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Maybe a helmet cam and a shirt with “smile, you’re on candid camera” on the back. Actually, even a fake camera-looking thing pointing to the rear might do the trick if it were advertised on the back of one’s shirt (or somewhere thereabouts).


netviln
Participant
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I was just chatting with mdabs about this.. what if you just came up with some ridiculous canned retort to use in these situations.. Someone in a vehicle calls you an asshole, tells you to get on the sidewalk, yells at you in general, just have something prepared to yell back at them that makes no sense…

My suggestion was “Tacolover”. They would drive away angry at you for yelling back at them, then wonder.. “did they just call me a tacolover?… man I could go for a taco”. They would leave the situation a bit confused, and maybe a bit less angry, and we would have more fun on bikes.

Thants my suggested solution anyway.


dmtroyer
Participant
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just call them a freedom hater, that always works.


bikefind
Participant
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netviln, my sides are hurting laughing. I think it’s a great idea. Do you think we can get a mexican restaurant to sponsor us?

Reminds me of my dad, who didn’t bike, but when he was driving and someone would do something rude, he’d just give them four fingers, with the same gusto some might give one with, and an angry expression. He figured they’d drive away wondering what four fingers could have possibly meant.


Mick
Participant
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Educational moments.

I’ve found that, when I scream at a driver (which is not often, but still all too often) if the insult I chose is “Drunkard” they will sometimes instantly modify their behavior in good way.

“YO! DRUNKARD! I have the right of way here.” “Yo, DRUNKARD! Slow down!”

Someone might stop and be like “WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?” but that hasn’t happened.

Spectators are instantly on your side. “DRUNKARD!” is more gratifying, and likely more accurate, than calling them a m*th3r-ph%#er. If I put some umph into it, it gets my aggression out.

I would like to see this become near universal. If someone is driving like a drunk, call them on it.

***

Last week, I was going on Forbes from uptown to oakland and a car passed where someone in the passenger seat yelled some stuff at me. 200 yards later, they were stuck in traffic as I was riding in the closed lane where Forbes goes under the Blvd of the Allies.

I was close enough to quietly tell the guy he was a fool, as I rode past. Traffic precluded them from passing me again.

For me, if I can respond in a spoken tone, I feel I’ve communicated.

If you can say (not shout) “Dude, no need to honk,” it feels more like communication.

Mick


rsprake
Participant
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I think you just continue riding. Talking to someone can potentially turn ugly.

Eventually they will get it and realize that cyclist numbers are growing no matter how they act and will either stop driving in the city or put up with it.


Willie
Participant
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Lately when people rev up behind me and then rip by me too close I yell “Drive faster”. I hope to get two things from this. One they go faster and get far away from me. And two,hopefully they lose control and crash or a cop sees them and pulls the car over.


edmonds59
Participant
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I’m with rsprake on this one, just keep riding, being out there within your rights and not yielding to their bullshit IS educating people.

If you’re uncomfortable with the standard curse words, I like “FASCIST!”, it rolls off the tongue, and at least demonstrates to innocent bystanders some level of cultural intelligence.

I think if someone yelled “treehugger” at me as an insult, I would just give them a smile and a big thumbs-up, I mean, that’s an insult?


sloaps
Participant
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+1 I think you just continue riding.

I get the same reactions when I drive because speed limits and full stops are terrorist assaults on freedom and liberty, so whatever. Either way, it beats walking most days…


reddan
Keymaster
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I’m with rsprake on this one, just keep riding, being out there within your rights and not yielding to their bullshit IS educating people.

+1.


helen s
Participant
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Just because the infuriated driver does not repond to calm education inteded words right then does not mean they did not hear you, and with luck, they will actually think about the situation sometime later.

Unfortunately the opportunity to speak with an offensive/ ignorant citizen (driver or litterbug, one of my pet peeves) does not usually happen. I have been known to tap on fenders (infuriating drivers even more), spit on their car, or wave an upraised hand with my ring finger extended. All of those may make me feel better but do little to defuse the situation.

I have had much better sucess speaking with people when I see them litter- and even have had some bend down and pick up the item. I have handed lit butts back to people (once a driver at a red light) saying “You dropped this- there is a fine for littering.”


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I get the same reactions when I drive because speed limits and full stops are terrorist assaults on freedom and liberty…

I’ve noticed that, too. If you want to tick people off, especially on suburban roads like Perry Highway, drive exactly the speed limit minus one.

+1 helen s on “You dropped this”. I have *so* much wanted to do this.


brian j
Participant
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I’ve observed the same thing in my car. In fact, I reckon in the past six months, I’ve gotten more honks while I’m driving the speed limit then I have on my bike.


rsprake
Participant
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In case you didn’t know the speed limit is 10 mph above the posted number. Didn’t you get the memo?


Mick
Participant
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Jeez dudes. Did you think that was the UPPER limit?


bikefind
Participant
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“litterbug, one of my pet peeves”

mine too – one time I was walking down the sidewalk and a guy in the passenger seat of a parked car threw a butt out the window, onto the ground. I just picked it up (which caused me to have to squat down, putting my face really close to his) and put it in the receptacle, which was within his reach from the car. I made eye contact the whole time, not with any particular expression, just disturbingly steady. From his facial expression (oh crap, I suck) I think it was worth doing.

another time I had a guy steal my money and throw an empty bag of chips on the sidewalk. The littering actually pissed me off more than the theft.

on limits:

I thought you were supposed to approach them but never actually reach them.


joeframbach
Participant
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on limits:

I thought you were supposed to approach them but never actually reach them.

Well, depends which way you’re approaching the limit, and if the function is continuous and differentiable at that limit.


bikefind
Participant
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Sure, if you want to, for example, trace a graph of the function without picking up your pencil, then you want continuity, and if you want it nice and smooth, then you want differentiability. But if you’re just talking about the value of the limit itself, you never quite go all the way to the point you’re approaching.

But now we’re not even pretending to talk about biking. So I’ll stop, except to say that one time I was at a math party (yeah, math party. cough. this was back when the governor of CA was mainly known for body building and saying things like “hasta la vista, baby”) anyway, one guy, who was kind of drunk, got up and said “Arnold Schwarzenegger teaching analysis: ‘No more wasting time – let epsilon equal zero!'” Yeah, big fun at the math parties. I’m going to bed now.


Mick
Participant
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Spped limits:

3 X 10**8 m/sec: Not just a good idea, it’s the law.


netviln
Participant
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Only in a vacuum.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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*coming full circle*

…which is where the minds of many of these entitled drivers are.


Mick
Participant
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Buzzed by big yellow bus this morning. he stopped at a light 100 ft up the road.

I knocked lightly on the bus door. The bus driver opened.

Conversational tones:

“I don’t think there was room to pass me safely there without changing lanes.”

“I had you in my mirror the whole time”

“I didn’t feel safe.”

“I had you covered.”

All friendly. I waved, rode away.

I am inordinately proud of this.


Mick
Participant
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Buzzed by a big yellow bus this morning. He stopped at at light 100 yards up the road.

I knocked lightly on the door. Driver opened.

Conversational tones:

“I don’t think there was enough room to pass me safely there without changing lanes.”

“I was watching. I had you in my mirror the whole time”

“I didn’t feel safe.”

“I had you covered.”

I waved and rode off.

I feel inordinately proud of this.


joeframbach
Participant
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So he wasn’t watching the road?


jakeliefer
Participant
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If someone yells at me or honks a horn, I motion or ask if they can pull off the road and we can talk. At this point no driver has taken me up on this, but I’m always up for a conversation regarding the laws of the road. This also puts the personal aspect back into the situation, as when people are driving they can forget that they are dealing with other people rather than just machines. I imagine if any drivers do take me up on this offer, I’d be slow to talk and allow them to vent about what they think I’m doing wrong. It’s much easier to defend your position after they’ve had a chance to air their laundry than coming right at them with what they’re doing wrong.

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