Sunday, March 29, 2009

Angry Drivers who Hate Cyclists

A few weeks ago I was riding with a few teammates in west Marin, when a driver coming in the opposite direction started honking his horn and flipping us off.

As far as I know this individual didn't recognize any of us, and since he was traveling in the opposite direction, we obviously were not slowing him down at all,  so I have no reason why he was so angry with us.

This was not an isolated incident.

Though this disturbs me, it's not nearly as bad as the "I'll show them" drivers who blow by us at 80 mph, driving as close to us as they possibly can, often within 6 inches or less.  This is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous.   I just can't 

Why do drivers do this?  Is it because they often come across pack of cyclists and have to slow down for a minute or 2 before going around them?  "These cyclists cost me 2 minutes and I'm so angry I want to scare them within an inch of their lives."

That's kind of like being in line at the grocery store and being angry at the person at the front of the line who is just standing there doing nothing while the cashier scans their groceries and they pile up.  If that person wasn't so lazy and bagged their own groceries, we'd all be out of here 2 minutes sooner!  I should take my gun and fire a few rounds a few inches above their head to show them how angry I am about being delayed for 2 minutes!

What's even worse for cyclists though is that ALL of us have to take the road rage created by the actions of those who ride irresponsibly and take up the whole road.  When I ride alone, I ride as far to the right as possible and if I hear a car approaching, I move even further to the right, often into the gravel, just to be safe.  When I'm riding in a group, and a car comes up from behind the person at the rear of the group will yell "CAR BACK" and we'll all move as far right as possible until the car or cars have passed.  Simple.

Drivers, please stop the hate.


Ripsanspich said...

Hey Chris, this is a common issue among all of us. I agree it has a lot to do with folks we never ride with. Many times it's more to do with weekend warrior types riding in bunches but swerving all over the road as they progress in a forward manner.

In the end, too many people are in too big of a hurry to get nowhere. If we could all just slow down while simplifying our lives a little. I think we'd all be happier in the end.

Congrats on your win.

John Trefethen

bikefanatic said...

Like the grocery store idea. But seriously a few irresponsible cyclists who antagonize drivers put us all at risk. All we can really do is watch our own behavior and set an example for other riders.

db said...

I can understand your plight guys, but seriously, here in Shasta County it is amazing how many riders put their OWN lives at risk on skinny two lane mtn roads! Or even flat country lanes. Often times there are solid yellow traffic lines that drivers are loath to cross just to get around you and there is no way you can do an uphill stint as quickly as cars are moving. This is a complicated problem, but it would be nice if bicyclists would use some common sense about where they ride and the time of day regarding traffic, we aren't the ones who are taking the risk to ride at that place and time. You are. The fact that you are taking the risk to enjoy your hobby is YOUR problem. Just like when I used to climb rock, if I fall, whose problem is it? MINE! A little less attitude and some personal recognition of the hazards YOU CHOOSE to deal with would be in order here. You don't live in China or Japan where bikes outnumber cars in the daily commute! Just a little food for thought. Not trying to make anyone angry. I think its a wake up call for the guys who got ticketed for blowing through the red light. Just because you need to use a little extra leg power to stop and start again is what? Aren't you there for the workout anyway? What's a tad more burn? No different than the two minutes everyone else is impatient about!

phipps said...

The guys who got ticketed were "rolling through a red" while making a right turn, not "blowing through" as in going straight through the interesction at full speed where cross traffic has the right of way. Same fine, sure, but there is deffinitely a difference in the potential danger of the two.

Jules said...

A little food for thought
Surely you are aware that CA vehicle code classifies bicycles as vehicles subject to the rules of the road, ergo the traffic infractions and penalties you guys referenced. SO, since the law recognizes that bicycles belong on the road and not the sidewalk, the problems we cyclists face are more perception and education of drivers.
Good try at making this about personal responsibility, but it's not that simple.