The vast majority of drivers are very polite. But there are some exceptions. Some time ago, Lance Armstrong and a […]
The vast majority of drivers are very polite. But there are some exceptions. Some time ago, Lance Armstrong and a riding partner were brushed by a motorist. Lance gave the guy the finger and threw a rock. The motorist turned the truck around and ran them off the road. That doesn’t sound like a good idea, does it? What is the best you can do when a bike rage is about to come? Here are 10 pieces of advice and suggestions collected from other cyclists.
Try to claim the lane
That way, if a driver overtakes too close to you, there is a space for you to escape into. If you ride too much on the right side and a driver overtakes closely you have no space to do anything. If he or s she is getting too close to you with the back of the car, slow down. That way any collision will be at a slower speed.
Cycle with a helmet camera, so any incident will be filmed. If it is serious enough, you can report it to the police.
Challenge them, but do it with a smile. Anyhow, if they’re angry you can always make off in a direction they can’t.
Take out your phone and photograph the driver and the number plate. If they think that you are about to take photographs to identify them in a report to the police their behaviour tends to calm dramatically.
Shake your head at them and say nothing. This will make them wonder what they did wrong. Sometimes they honestly didn’t know they broke some rule which could offend your rights.
Don`t be agressive
Just turn around, give them a smile and a wave at them to thank them for being patient, even though they are not and you’re actually in the right. Keep in mind that less aggressive response usually calms people down.
Never get into fights
Ignore any eye contact and allow them to pass. Never get into fights you’re not sure you could win. The problem is you never know when you are going to meet a complete nutcase high on drugs, carrying a knife or an iron bar.
Pretend that your iPod is in fact a police radio and ostentatiously read their number plate into your sleeve.
By no means raise your middle-finger. Flipping the finger invariably brings on the Red Mist Syndrome. Anything can happen then.
Blow them a kiss! It’s even more effective when you’re dressed in Lycra. They will be so concerned about what other people might think that they will just shut up and drive away.
And what experts say: As cyclists, we’re in the far more vulnerable position in these conflicts, so staying safe—and not escalating with a response—should be your top priority. When you’re dealing with someone yelling at a stranger on the street, you’re not dealing with a rational person. So do not shout back. Do not gesture at the driver in any way. Breathe, think, and ride away in one piece. If this person is an absolute idiot, don’t you want them to stay away from you? In case of exchange of opinions admit the driver scared you. You can smile or give a thumbs-up. Just because this person is angry doesn’t mean you have to be. If they’re continuing to drive, they’re answering your wish—let them continue on their way.