Friday, October 27, 2006

Road Rage Incident

Today, I had an encounter with a road rager on Kings Road on my way home. Here's what happened:

I got passed by a junky old car less than four centimeters from my handlebars. I blasted him with my Air Zound and he didn't even so much as look back. I was going to let it go, but then I saw him turn right into some narrow side streets. I knew I could catch him there, so I signaled and followed him in. I was carrying copies of Crazy Biker Chick's Things a non-cyclist might not understand. I hand that out to drivers in situations like this. It also includes my contact information on the last page in case the receiver has any questions about it.

Anyway, I pulled up alongside and called to him. He ignored me and pulled away. About a block further, he got caught in a lineup at a stop sign. He glanced back and saw me approaching. He opened his door and called back: "Get away from my car, bye!" I called back that I just wanted to give him one of my fliers and held it up for him to see. He just repeated, "Get away from my car!" and slammed his door. Bear in mind, at this point, I was simply behind him in the normal flow of traffic.

Since he couldn't go anywhere, I seized the opportunity to pull up alongside him and knock on his window. I held up the flier again. He ignored me. I knocked again. I couldn't make out exactly what he was saying, but it was pretty clear he didn't intend to roll down the window. So I rolled forward a meter and lifted his windshield wiper to put the flier underneath. He opened the door, jumped out and said: "Get away from my car or I'll knock your f*BEEP*ing head off!"

Well, this guy was pretty old and fat, so I figured, even if he did attack me, it would be him, not me, that would catch the worst of it, so I wasn't particularly intimidated. So, I just calmly proceeded to put the flier under his wiper and pedaled away. I figured, in the mood he was in, there wasn't much I could have said to him, anyway. I just hoped that he'd go home, read my flier and maybe give me a call to talk when he'd regained some sense.

I didn't look back to see what he did with the flier. Most likely, he just threw it away. Still, I'm almost hoping he does call. I'd be interested to hear what was going through his mind during our encounter...

5 comments:

  1. You seriously printed that out to give to road rage motorists? It may be a bit too much for them to digest, or did you shorten it? I need to make a short version for motorists attention span. Do you think a big icon of a bicycle and "LEAVE SPACE" in big letters would be too much for these morons to figure out? Anyway kudos for successful delivery of the flyer! Have you seen the guy with the yellow magnet idea, that's good because then you can toss to stick.

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  2. Anonymous8:14 AM

    I know the feeling.

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  3. I feel for you John,

    These incidents are frighteningly too frequent. In the past week I have had 2 such incidents. In each case the car that "almost killed me" ended up being stopped at a light only a couple of hundred metres from the incident. In both cases I went to the drivers side window and said "You paseed too close to me and I'd appreciate it if you didn't in the future" and then I carried on. In both cases the drivers were shocked. I have thought about the way in which I approach drivers after these near death experiences and realised that if I were driving and someone came up to my car in such a manner I would likely be defensive and not very open to what they were saying. Secondly, as in your case, I am now becoming more afraid of drivers jumping out at me, as has happened in the past, http://pedalmaniac.blogspot.com/2006/02/respect-for-peds.html

    I guess the best thing to do is take down the license plate and report the driver, although I don't know how practical this is -- I probably wouldn't do it.

    Be safe.

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  4. Anonymous9:08 PM

    Amazing, Two wrongs dont really make a right. He sounds like he was a complete idiot for coming that close to you as the cyclist BUT your actions become border line road( bike) rage when you followed him/ knocked on his window/ and touched his wiper. Maybe taking his license plate number and a report ...I had a friend that was almost wipped out by a lady on a phone in the car ...he followed her to an intersection she was stuck at reached in the car took her phone and tossed it on the other side of the road into a ditch...he was lucky he didnt get caught!!!

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  5. Anonymous10:04 PM

    I have to agree with anonymous 9:08.

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