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A disturbingly high percentage of the comments under the linked SFGate article illustrate intense anti-cyclist rage or else they are in total denial that this occurred ("he was probably just a random drunk guy because he hit cars too...").

I heard about this yesterday, and then got honked/buzzed/cut-off by a man (and his 2 year old daughter in a carseat) in a black Mercedes C-class in Pentagon City yesterday. The subsequent screaming match got quite ugly. All because I was stopped at a red light like a gentlemanly road user, and did not accelerate with the desired amount of giddyup at the green. It's getting harder to ride everyday knowing that there is a subset (growing?) of angry sociopaths who will threaten or commit acts of violence to gain several seconds of unimpeded travel.

Going up Meridian Hill on 15th yesterday evening, traffic was backed up all the way down to the bottom. I passed slowly in the bike lane (it's a steep hill). About half way up a woman honked at me. I turned around to find a car behind me. She was passing everyone else in the bike lane - and I wasn't going fast enough. I stopped and made her move into the other lane. As she passed, she told me to get off the road. And who acts like they own the road again?

You know, I'm a cyclist myself, but we gotta stop acting like we OWN the bike lane. When cars want to pass in the bike lane, it's just common courtesy to move aside. [/sarcasm]

Truthfully, I have a positive experience sharing the road with 99% of all drivers, but it just takes one jerk to ruin your day.

Right. Biking up 15th in the sharrowed lane I was thinking about how nice all the drivers were. No one was being aggressive or crazy... and then that happened. I too chalk it up as one bad apple. I just wanted to vent.

It just takes one jerk to KILL you.

My experience has been similar to that of Scott F. Most people seem to be respectful of others but it only takes one rotten apple to ruin the whole week. The jerks don't seem to be discriminatory either. They will go after cyclists, pedestrians and other cars, whoever gets in their way or annoys them.

Michael H., you're last comment really resonants with me. I was commuting in on 14th Street back earlier this year one morning, pretty much tracking alongside a car who's driver was beeping at every intersection and generally being jerk to anybody who happened to be in front of him. I tried to just steer clear of him, but at one point, I ended up somehow getting in his way and got a loud horn. It was then that we were both at a red light, and he rolled down his window to yell at me. My instinct was to yell back, but for some reason - and this is totally outside my nature - I explained calmly to him that given the fact that he's been honking his horn at everybody, maybe it was him who had the problem and not the other commuters.

Here's the thing - an I'm not making this up: He looked at me at that point and said, "You're right. I'm sorry."

I was stunned! This is an extreme reaction (in a positive way) that I will likely never, ever experience again, but it did get me thinking about how pointless my negative reactions to motorists can be.

Er .. I mean "resonates."

I strive to be coolheaded and calm, like you were, in those situations. I strive.

I have to say that I think that there is just something innately frustrating about driving a car in traffic (which is perhaps why I almost always ride now). When I ride or walk along Wilson Blvd in Arlington, I am constantly thinking that the drivers should slow down and take it a bit easier. However, on the few times I end up driving the same stretch, I am almost always annoyed at how slow the cars in front of me are moving!

I strive to be coolheaded and calm, like you were, in those situations. I strive.

Me too. Unfortunately a lot of my striving is after the fact.

I think some of the frustration arises from the design of an automobile. Where else in life would people voluntarily confine themselves into such a tight space for an hour or more at a time? Even a luxury vehicle is relatively cramped when compared to an office, apartment or house.

Maybe it's the claustrophobia effect that turns up the heat and contributes to road rages. That and the fact that some people are just natural-born jerks.

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