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eminva
12-05-2011, 06:12 AM
Hello --

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that no driver had ever truly gone off on me, which I speculated was due to gender, but my luck changed last Wednesday. I was riding that evening in DC and, for the first time ever, I made contact with a stationary automobile. Which led to the first ever driver verbal tirade.

I was approaching a red light, and usually I like to be to the right of the center of the lane, about 2/3 of the way over to the right if you start at the left lane markings. For whatever reason, I was coming into the light too far to the right. I realized this as I slowed, but undercorrected and made contact with the left rear corner of a car waiting in the right turn lane. I know I put my hand out so my glove touched; I'm not sure what other parts of me or my bike touched the car but it wasn't too much and it was at very slow speed. The driver immediately rolled down his window and asked if there were any dents. I looked and said "No dents, and I don't see any scratches either, but you should come look for yourself if you are concerned."

He got out of the car and said, "This is a $53,000 car and that @#$% bike . . . " and walked back to look at the fender. He said, "Yes, there are scratches here." I said I would be more than willing to pay for any damage I caused and I would give him my contact information. He replied, "I had a bad day and you just made it worse." I moved my bike to the sidewalk to write down my contact information, but he got back in his car and zoomed off.

I guess I should be grateful it stayed as low key as it did; I know some of you have had to put up with worse. I also know some of you read BSNYC and he blogged about a similar incident last Monday, where a motorist took her road rage to Craig's List. She used very similar words and a similar sentiment to the driver I met up with -- do these guys follow a script or something? You'd think if they were angry, the response would be "how could you be so careless?" but instead it's about the relative worth of our vehicles. Also, what's with not accepting the offer of making him whole? Weird.

Anyway, I always try to learn whatever lessons I can from my brushes with danger so in the future I will pay more heed to lane position, etc. Hopefully I will not meet up with that guy again.

Liz

americancyclo
12-05-2011, 06:48 AM
Glad things didn't escalate any further and that you are ok. Very strange that it becomes about worth of vehicles instead of damage, or even fault.

Dirt
12-05-2011, 07:35 AM
You handled it well, Liz. You set a great example for all of us.

(I'm going to contain my disappointment at not hearing a tale of Liz being the one that road raged all over some poor, unsuspecting driver.) ;)

Smooth and peaceful riding to y'all! Hopefully your next road rage incident doesn't happen for an equal number of years or more.

Pete

invisiblehand
12-05-2011, 08:43 AM
"I had a bad day and you just made it worse." I moved my bike to the sidewalk to write down my contact information, but he got back in his car and zoomed off.

Liz

For what it's worth, sometimes people simply need to vent. Your response let him get something off his chest but defused the situation.

While trying to rationalize it is likely a lost cause, I'd guess that he realized that there really was nothing done to the car and wanted to stop wasting time.

Greenbelt
12-05-2011, 09:54 AM
I think a lot of drivers, especially after the recession cut jobs and incomes and gas prices went higher, are inwardly regretting those $50k investments. They spent all that money (or went into debt), and they're still sitting in traffic, just as frustrated as before, they're not getting taller or having better sex after all, and you're out there on your bike looking all healthy and having fun getting to work. It just doesn't seem fair.

Riley Casey
12-05-2011, 11:11 AM
jeez, here I thought my 13 year old Subaru would get me all those things.


I think a lot of drivers, especially after the recession cut jobs and incomes and gas prices went higher, are inwardly regretting those $50k investments. They spent all that money (or went into debt), and they're still sitting in traffic, just as frustrated as before, they're not getting taller or having better sex after all, and you're out there on your bike looking all healthy and having fun getting to work. It just doesn't seem fair.

americancyclo
12-05-2011, 11:22 AM
they're not getting taller or having better sex after all

You got TALLER riding your bike? I must be doing it wrong.

Tim Kelley
12-05-2011, 11:30 AM
You got TALLER riding your bike? I must be doing it wrong.

I wouldn't worry about it. Finding 64cm+ frames is harder than it sounds...

pfunkallstar
12-05-2011, 03:32 PM
That sounded like a downright civil level of interaction compared to the run-in's I've had. Be that the man with two small children in the back of his car that yelled at me to get off my "F@#$ott-mobile" or the woman in the Mercedes who decided that the flooded pothole on F St. needed to be more on me ("You shouldn't have been riding on my right!"). Anyways way to handle yourself.

KLizotte
12-05-2011, 03:53 PM
I suspect that when he got home, had dinner, and plopped down in front of the boob tube that he had a moment to reconsider what a snot he was about the whole affair. On the other hand, he may have already forgotten about it.

Yesterday I drove for the first time in weeks and went to Mt. Vernon and National Harbor. I hadn't realized the GW Parkway went thru Old Town and suffered thru lots and lots of lights (as well as an unexpected "kink" in the lane markings). I also found it hard to keep my eyes fixed on the road/cars because I was too busy checking out the action on the MVT (sighing much in the process). I also got a little lost trying to figure out how to get on to the Wilson Bridge from the Parkway (so much easier by bike!) and mistakenly went down a one way street (lots of honking and flashing lights ensued). Then I was shocked to find out that I had to pay for parking at NH (it was free the last time I was there). It was definitely not a good driving day and made me appreciate how much simplier and nicer it is to get around by bike despite the occasional run ins with stressed out drivers.

And for the record, I don't think cyclists should be on the GW Parkway now that I've driven it with an eye to cyclists' safety. Everyone, including me, was going over the speed limit by quite a bit and there is no shoulder at all. Seems too dangerous unless they get the speeding down to a more appropriate level which I assume can only be done with speed bumps and we know that isn't going to happen any time soon.

acc
12-05-2011, 04:56 PM
eminva - You are much more of a lady than I'll ever be. If some idiot jumped out of his car and told me it was worth $50,000+ I'd sneer and reply, "Huh, I would have never guessed."

I think you were smart and rational, your reaction kept things from escalating. Also, because I know you I can imagine quite clearly how cooperative and friendly your were. I bet he felt ashamed. All kidding aside, I'm glad you are safe and glad you kept your head.

ann

Riley Casey
12-05-2011, 10:02 PM
The real moral of the story.


... made me appreciate how much simplier and nicer it is to get around by bike despite the occasional run ins with stressed out drivers.
.

bluejaitucker
12-12-2011, 09:35 AM
I agree with the other posters that you did an excellent job handling the situation. Also loved Greenbelt's comment!

What I wonder about: when are drivers going to wake up to the fact that driving makes them angry and irritated???

And that there is NO WAY to have fast, uncongested traffic in a crowded urban area, so we need a better way of getting around?

And that given the nature of cars, driving, and parking lots, it's kind of silly to spend $53,000 on a car?