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If I feel threatened or in danger, I do not hesitate to use my sailor mouth and anything else that I can to make the point that what is being done to me or in my vincinity is dangerous. As for 'being our own worst enemies', that is a pile of horseshit. I can only control my behavior. If you are blaming me for the actions of someone else because of a vague association such as that the both of us ride bikes, you need help.

Thoroughly enjoyed the video! I don't agree with the own worst enemies argument, but I don't agree with confronting drivers either, except maybe in the rare even you can speak to one civilly and make your point about safety. I find this is always impossible because i am so worked up that whatever I say won't be calm, or that it's just not possible in a traffic situation to actually have any kind of a conversation.

I find that motorists are much more averse to damaging their car than hitting me.

I am frequently passed by motorists who leave less space between themselves and me than they do between themselves and parked cars or cars going the opposite direction.

I think the "don't mess up my car" mentality is pretty ingrained in our culture for most people - it is more than just a monetary calculation, people see it as an extension of their self-worth. Cyclists are not seen as something that will do any damage to a car, and punitive measures are inconsistently enforced to the point of uselessness.

CITC: Are you addressing Jonathan Krall or the article he cites? You seem to be mixing up who said what.

My best line ever (to the driver who took a corner on the wrong side of the road an therefore hit me and my bike head-on as we cycled on the right side of the road, with miraculously little consequences):
"If you'd killed me, WHO wold have looked after my children?"

Richard Fries had a post up somewhere about trying to yell "Careful!" instead of something less printable. I haven't succeeded at this so much.
http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/the-magic-word

With increasing age and decreasing testosterone, I have gone from obscene incoherence and physical threat to factual comments and reminders of how the tort system treats those who damage the innocent and well-represented. It's certainly no less effective.

SJE: I wasn't too clear in how I wrote my response.

I referenced the article first and then the idea that 'cyclists are their own worst enemies.' I know Jonathan doesn't spout that line but others who don't want to give up their parking and driving lanes do.

Really, the fact that I've EVER been attacked by someone using their car as a weapon is enough for me to leave the "share the road" niceties behind.

Most people will pass calmly and safely, some people will pass carelessly and a very few are intentionally aggressive and dangerous. The careless need education that they aren't getting, but the aggressive need to lose their licenses and face serious consequences. Somehow assault and even murder is legal when behind the wheel of a car.

Problem with this is that whatever damage you sustain as a cyclist on a road (a road made for cars, no less) is your own damned fault. After all, only a crazy person would ride a bicyle on a road made for cars. It's very dangerous with all those cars.

So many drivers are immune from any sort of self-reflection or criticism.

@ Caroline:

I always think of saying, hey you don't want to kill me and be responsible for my two kids in college and my two disabled kids at home and their high medical bills! But it's too wordy and besides like you said they don't care. I mean, some do, but for whatever reason getting behind a wheel brings out the worst in people.

Thanks for the responses. Like most of you, I also usually encounter polite give-a-lot-of room drivers. It is the thoughtless ones that need the feedback. It would be nice to have an enforcement regime aimed at discouraging dangerous driving near bikes and peds instead of what we have now, which goes from a slap on the wrist to years in jail with nothing in between, but that is another big subject.

As for yelling, I'm a fan of short and simple. I usually go with "you nearly [optional expletive] killed me, [optional expletive]!" for driving too close. When they yell at me usually I yell "Thanks for sharing!" in response.

The main thing I plan to do is lower my threshold for yelling.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and a whole lane of prevention is worth about 2,000 pounds of cure.

Excellent post!

Totally unrelated. Anyone know where the M Street cycle track is? It was supposed to be in by October, but I've seen no signs of it and it's almost November.

I have found that daily cycling has a been a process which brings me greater and greater peace and happiness daily.

I find it harder and harder to relate to the level of anger that motorists get over minor traffic mishaps.

When you hear most people talk, it's just so stupid--gibberish.

When I ride, I try to be respectful of all the road users and to ignore everyone else. It's much less stressful when you only have to worry about one person's behavior.

I found the linked article and video to be highly refreshing and funny. Thanks.

@Fred O,

Yeah, I have a small set of frustrations when riding--mostly having to do with either inconsiderate, dangerous drivers or inconsiderate, dangerous fellow cyclists (a symptom of crowded multi-use trails). But the amount of bitching that drivers do to one another is just bizarre. Unless I'm behind the wheel of a car, in which case it's totally rational!

(Guess that's the reason the more I ride, the more I *hate* to drive.)

Being nice really has gotten me nowhere with most motorists. They start from the presumption that it's their road and that I'm a guest on it, therefore anything I do is at their whims. For a while I tried taking the whole lane to prevent the idiots running two inches from me, but then they simply started passing me illegally and immediately slamming their breaks after the pass because surprisingly stop signs and traffic liter many suburban streets.

I've gotten to the point where I think a neon patch that says, "I ride and I carry" or something to that effect may have much more effect--at least on the NOVA streets. It sounds crude, but really, they ignore everything else because they think it's theirs and they don't see a problem with not sharing. But when they presume I'm a big vehicle or a weilding a firearm, I suspect they will keep their distance--whether it's true is irrelevant. Actually, this sounds like a great study.

There is a factor here that many people either ignore or are unaware of. Many years ago, when I was in grad school, I helped a colleague in his study of why auto drivers tend to vent so much anger at runners. He found that much of the rudeness and anger and downright dangerous behavior of drivers is rooted in resentment. They resent the people who have the time or take the time to exercise, an activity that many drivers know they ought to be doing. This resentment takes the form of blaring horns, all manner of items thrown from cars, coming dangerously close to runners, etc.

I believe that the same sort of emotions are at play regarding cycling. Drivers resent the freedom and perceived joy that many cyclists present. In other words, cyclists are participating in a healthy and enjoyable activity that many drivers feel cheated out of. They know they could and should do it (run, bike, walk), but they won't.

Perhaps we should feel empathy for these lazy, angry, resentful drivers who come too close, cut us off at turns, sometimes attack us, and try to take the joy out of cycling. Nah, **** that!

This post exactly. Obedience and docility win you nothing but a spot in the second class. You do something that nearly kills me and you're going to hear about it loudly.

I carry a picture of my two boys in my lanyard. I show that if I can. Usually works, except the guy in the utility pick-up who said that I'm the irresponsible one then for riding a bike when I have kids at home.

Touche a-hole, touche.

Driving a car makes you mad. Makes you want to shoot people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCnir5KlXEw

Brendan: you misspelled "douche"

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