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  #1  
Old 06-20-2011, 08:59 PM
merlinmurph merlinmurph is offline
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I could have handled it better

I had a bit of a skirmish with a car today, and after thinking about it, I could have handled it better than I did.

Riding out where I live in the boonies, I was going down a long, gradual, tree-covered downhill with houses, and near the end is a right curve followed by a stop sign. I go around the corner and there's a car in the middle of the road, trying to back into his driveway. No big deal, I go around him, and am at the stop sign. All is well.

Then he starts screaming at me, dropping a continuous flow of f-bombs.

So, of course, I start yelling at him. I ask him what he's so pissed off about, drop some of my own f-bombs, then head away.

Then he calls me a ????ing faggot, so now I have to go back and yell at him some more. We trade f-bombs again, and then I decide to leave. That's about it.

I guess he was pissed because I surprised him. I really wasn't going that fast because the stop sign was right there.

Now, this is guy was no threat. He was a 60ish guy (I'm 57), smaller, and definitely not fit. I had no problem approaching him, and I think he realized he pushed the envelope when he called me a faggot. I'm also about the least intimidating guy myself.

After I have these encounters, I always go back and ask myself if I could have handled it better, and in this case, I could have.

I should have let him have his tirade and said nothing myself, just let him vent. Then I should have calmly asked him what the problem was, and explained that I was just riding my bike and going no faster than any car would have been going. Maybe, just maybe, he would have realized that he overreacted and that I really wasn't the asshole he thought I was. Then, we could have parted semi-amicably and he might have ended up with a better opinion of cyclists. If he had no interest in discussion, then I'd call him a ????ing asshole because, well, his mind is made up.

Any comments?

Murph
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:03 PM
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AngryScientist AngryScientist is offline
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i'm a big fan of letting people rant and rave, get all pissed off, and calmly as : "do you feel better now" - gets them every time.

dont sweat it, emotions run high every now and then, as long as no blows were exchanged, no harm, no foul.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:05 PM
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SteveFrench SteveFrench is offline
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I can totally empathize with you. I have a knack for matching a motorist's anger, and everytime afterward I wish I handled it differently.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:05 PM
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wooly wooly is offline
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I think you handled it like 90% of us would have but you were lucky that this older gent wasn't a younger red neck with a buck knife, bat or something worse. Although, that may have changed your approach

But I agree with your thought of approaching it in a more level-headed way. But then again, it's tough because some guys are real douche bags.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:10 PM
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rugbysecondrow rugbysecondrow is offline
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I can't remember the last time I have been yelled at like that, but I am not good about keeping my cool either. at least it didn't go any further because then you would see if you fitness was a match for whatever trick he might have had.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:17 PM
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thwart thwart is offline
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It's tough when someone verbally attacks you like that. Counting to 10 doesn't work as well in practice---I likely would have done the same.

Must be the day for jerks... we were out riding tonight with a buddy on a rural road with little traffic, when a new black Camaro SS roars up close by and hammers the throttle immediately in front of us. Another biker came up a few minutes later and said he'd seen the perp leave a bar we passed, did the same thing to him, and then approached us from behind at a high rate of speed before hitting the brakes and doing his litttle performance for us. The biker thought he'd take us out given his closing speed.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:19 PM
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edit, nevermind
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:09 PM
rustychisel rustychisel is offline
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Don't worry, hindsight makes more sense every time. You reacted in and of the moment.

What chance the other bloke finished backing his car, calmed down, and thought to himself "Now what the hell did I blow like that for?". Maybe he did.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinmurph
...snipped.....
I go around the corner and there's a car in the middle of the road, trying to back into his driveway.
snipped.....

Now, this is guy was no threat. He was a 60ish guy (I'm 57), smaller, and definitely not fit. I had no problem approaching him, and I think he realized he pushed the envelope when he called me a faggot. I'm also about the least intimidating guy myself.
IMO that's a bad assumption on your part. For my own safety I always approach motorist as if they are armed. And in Texas a very large number are. Just because he is in his 60s and not fit doesn't mean he can't shoot you dead.

Funny thing is that the last time I had a similar encounter with a motorist it was I who was trying to back my van into the driveway so I could unload building materials, and a motorist got all bent out of shape because I was blocking the street in front of my house for a second or two, and reacted by angrily leaning on the horn. That escalated fast because I didnít appreciate their aggression. I very much regret my reaction, but will bet they never do it again.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:02 PM
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If you would've asked me a few years ago I would've suggested flipping the guy off and swearing to your heart's content at the driver. But I've changed. These days I simply wave and continue my ride. Nothing can be gained from getting upset. Nothing.

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Old 06-21-2011, 05:55 AM
gearguywb gearguywb is offline
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I try to smile, wave, and shout "have a nice day". Sometimes it is tough though....especially when the endorphins are kicking in.
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  #12  
Old 06-21-2011, 06:12 AM
2LeftCleats 2LeftCleats is offline
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This must be a nearly universal gut reaction. After all the years of dealing with idiots, I have great difficulty rerouting that impulse to my brain instead of middle finger. And I nearly always regret it immediately because:
--it's partially my fault
-- it inflames me and spoils a nice ride
--people carry weapons these days
--I can't run so fast in cleats
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:21 AM
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Ahhh, riding is so therapeutic.




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  #14  
Old 06-21-2011, 06:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryScientist
i'm a big fan of letting people rant and rave, get all pissed off, and calmly as : "do you feel better now" - gets them every time.
+1.

I do the same thing now. They feel like asses when you are calm and collected. It makes their tirade seem way out of proportion. I find if I introduce myself and talk about my family and job it makes me human and really deflates them. They need to dehumanize you in order to have that much anger towards another person.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:46 AM
dekindy dekindy is offline
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You were totally in the wrong in my opinion. If you were a car and came around the curve and there was a car in the middle of the road you would have stopped until he was finished backing into the driveway. At least I would have maybe you don't.

He was probably scared because if he had not seen you he might have ran over you while he was concentrating on getting backed into the driveway. You had no way of predicting what maneuver he might have to make.

I am really tired of hearing cyclist's rants when if they would have acted like a car, which is what they are supposed to do, and showed common courtesy instead of thinking they own the road, then incidents like this would never have happened. I did not read all the replies, but the ones I read seemed to sympathize with you and that does not give me much hope. Maybe I am lucky, 99.9% of the motorists in my area give me the right of way when they don't have to. I am also very conservative and cautious, more so than anyone that I ride with, so I come from an extreme position on the spectrum.
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