Can’t fix stupid

I get annoyed when people say that cyclist should follow every traffic law to the letter so that drivers won’t get so pissed off and will give us more respect.

My argument: the drivers who are hostile towards cyclists are just hostile in general, and do the same thing to other drivers.

They are the same ones who aggressively tailgate me when I’m driving to work, and who honked at and flipped off my daughter when she had a learner’s permit and couldn’t go over the speed limit.

My theory is that these people just can’t stand the feeling of someone being in their way or inconveniencing them.

Tonight while riding I got direct confirmation of this theory.

I was out on the TT bike, moving along at a pretty good clip on a fast section of country road (Music St, for those who know). From behind I hear someone laying on the horn. Not a beep but a long sustained blast that intends to say, “get the f*** off the road!”

It was a diesel pick-up truck. He got in front of me and tapped the brakes like he was going to brake-check me. He then slowed and turned onto a side street. I caught up and pulled alongside.

He rolled down the window. Instead of saying “what is your problem”, I decided to ask, “why the hostility?”

Basically it came down to: bikes shouldn’t be on this road because I might not see them coming over a hill and my truck is big and has side mirrors. Yes, that’s it.

So it’s really about someone perceived as being in the way and being an inconvenience.

After a minute or so, I knew that talking to the guy wouldn’t make any difference. A rational discourse doesn’t change that kind of mindset, because it’s not rational.

So I tried the irrational approach, and just told him that he should be careful because he doesn’t know which cyclist might just have a concealed-carry permit.



Filed under culture, cycling

11 responses to “Can’t fix stupid

  1. Was it a silver “Super Duty” with custom everything? if so I had an issue with him on Caves last week.

    • Brian

      This one was all black … not sure what make. The unfortunate thing is that there are a lot of them out there.

      In contrast though, later in the ride I had someone help me to get across the heavy 422 traffic by waving me across as he waited to make a turn and stopped the traffic behind him.

  2. Jim

    I agree in most things you write here. These people are a-holes and nothing we say will ever change that. They would be the kind that tail-gate you on the freeway because they left home late and you are in their way.
    However, I am a firm believer in following traffic laws and rules. IMO, one has nothing to do with the other. If I follow traffic laws, it will not make him a less a jerk BUT it takes away one excuse he could have for his actions.
    Just my $.02.

    • Brian

      I tend to be ‘pragmatic’ about traffic rules. I would never blow thru a traffic light or stop sign. But coming to a stop sign, if I slow down and have a clear line of sight and there is no traffic anywhere to be seen, I’m not coming to a complete stop. Similarly, if there’s no traffic at a light, I’ll proceed with caution.

      And I’ll break the speed limit wherever possible. I figure a speeding ticket on a bike is a conversation piece that would be worth the price.

      • Jim

        Ask Pandy if it was worth it!

        • Brian

          I seem to recall Larry taking a bit of pride in getting that ticket, so yeah, maybe worth it. Thurs evening I made a point of riding that stretch where he got it. Alas, there was no cop at the bottom of the hill.

  3. Anonymous

    Pepper spray works just as good as a gun and its non lethal. Just worry a little bit on the blowback and it will get on your hands. Don’t wipe your face until you wash your hands.

    • Brian

      I’ve been meaning to do that, just in case. In this case … it wouldn’t have been warranted. Actually in all the years I’ve been riding, I can think of 2 cases where I would have potentially used it.

      • Jim

        I might be wrong but it would be my guess that this would amount to assault. It might have been the other guy who started it BUT when it is “he said, she said”, you had better have a witness or some other method of proving it.
        I agree with Brian on the number of times it would be useful (not very many). Pepper spray is fine on dogs but people tell tall tales. I can’t see too much good coming of it. Besides, who knows how many motorists are packing?

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