Intimidating Motorists?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
gbnz
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Intimidating Motorists?

Postby gbnz » 24 May 2019, 7:39pm

To what extent can cyclists legally intimidate motorists?

Had a case today; having politely waited behind a timid Range Rover driver to pull forward through a medieval gatehouse blocking entry into the town (He/She missed 2-3 clear chances), he/she finally pulled forward on the fourth attempt - only to stop half/way.

Have to admit having just hit 15-17mph I continued, easily passing through the medieval gatehouse, motorist passing the other way fairly indiferent.

Until the second motorist (NB. An old man, driving a huge 4/4 through a medieval town centre, sounded the horn at length, prior to shouting abuse through the window. Have to admit, I stopped, pulled back and proceeded to give the "old &^$%^* a piece of my mind :wink: " :wink:

Rather glad I didn't open his door, grab his keys, or grab the old f&%£&* by the throat. But can one be done for shouting abuse at an old *&^%&?

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 24 May 2019, 8:03pm

Potential offences under section 4a or 4 of the Public Order Act, so you could be arrested. In 3 decades I'd arrested dozens, hundreds of people doing just as you describe.

It's a stupid thing to do - don't attempt to deliberately intimidate anyone in public unless you're happy to risk either arrest or a knife in the ribs.

I've seen people do just as you describe, only for the 6'8", 25 stone lorry driver to get out of his cab and stick his rather large fist through the aggressors drivers window glass and into the gobby idiots ear. There is always someone higher up the foodchain that you, and while they may then get up arrested you can't undo getting your teeth kicked in.

Suck it up, move along, get in with your life, which is far too short to be squandered on fools.
Last edited by Lance Dopestrong on 25 May 2019, 7:38am, edited 2 times in total.
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rmurphy195
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby rmurphy195 » 24 May 2019, 8:07pm

Why would you want to intimidate me when I'm driving (or riding for that matter)? If I get in your way, live with it.

I don't intimidate cyclists when I'm driving, or when I'm riding or walking for that matter.

Legal - by intimidating you mean threatening behaviour, road rage, offensive behaviour etc. - you can look up the legality of these, you don't need to ask on this forum. In fact, you shouldn't need to ask.
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gbnz
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby gbnz » 24 May 2019, 9:39pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote: It's a stupid thing to do .


Oh, I'd agree :wink:

But having patiently waited for 20-30 vehicles to pass through a medieval gatehouse, to have some old [rude word removed] in a huge 4/4 sounding off the horn and giving abuse because I've cycled through, can be difficult not to respond to!

On a postive note, I gave way to a couple of 20 tonner Tarmac trucks struggling on the incline later in the morning (NB. And got a wave of thanks), apologized to the Lidl checkout asssitant having called in twice (NB. I'd forgotten to buy the chocolate for a chocolate cake :oops: ), pulled over to let the livestock farmer with a 25' trailer pass and resisted jeering at the old ......on a superlight road bike, dressed in all the gear, who I passed several times (NB. I was stopping to have a look a around castles while he made progress at 5mph

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 25 May 2019, 7:45am

Its easy not to respond to so when one is psychologically adjusted.

I dont get much anyway - one of the perks of being the same height, weight, and not dissimilar build to Dolph Lundgren is the few that do start off that way usually become amusingly contrite when they get close enough to eyeball me properly - but when I do encounter the idiots I whisper something in my mind, and otherwise ignore them.

Gettting het up like that is a psychological flaw and not normal behaviour. If you don't address it then it will escalate, then at best you risk getting arrested, at worst killed. I've been to road rage deaths, they do very much happen, and they ain't nice - if you can't behave then do yourself a favour and get the bus until such time as you can, as if left unaddressed that behavioural trait will start to do you no favours at all.
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pete75
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby pete75 » 25 May 2019, 7:55am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:Its easy not to respond to so when one is psychologically adjusted.

I dont get much anyway - one of the perks of being the same height, weight, and not dissimilar build to Dolph Lundgren is the few that do start off that way usually become amusingly contrite when they get close enough to eyeball me properly - but when I do encounter the idiots I whisper something in my mind, and otherwise ignore them.

Gettting het up like that is a psychological flaw and not normal behaviour. If you don't address it then it will escalate, then at best you risk getting arrested, at worst killed. I've been to road rage deaths, they do very much happen, and they ain't nice - if you can't behave then do yourself a favour and get the bus until such time as you can, as if left unaddressed that behavioural trait will start to do you no favours at all.


Not something I'd want to admit to. :wink:

lund.JPG

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 25 May 2019, 8:05am

That's it! My hair's a bit shorter though.
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Cugel
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby Cugel » 25 May 2019, 10:27am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:That's it! My hair's a bit shorter though.


Iz that a foodbaby? No more cake until at least tomorrow, for you!

Cugel

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 25 May 2019, 11:12am

It's a skin coloured cycling top, and that's where I stash my spare tube, gels, and wedding cake.
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slowster
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby slowster » 25 May 2019, 1:10pm

When I am on the receiving end of some bad/dangerous driving, and the opportunity presents itself to speak with the driver, I always try to take the following approach:

1. Don't just be calm, be completely dispassionate and unemotional. That might sound quite difficult if you've just come within inches of being killed or severely injured, your heart is racing and the adrenaline is flowing through you. Nevertheless, I think for most of us it is achievable. Age, experience and maturity help. The short interval between the incident itself and the moment you speak to the driver also gives you a chance to recover from the shock and collect your thoughts.

2. Point out to the driver what they did wrong. Do so in the manner that a driving instructor might point out to a learner driver what they did wrong. By that I do NOT mean talk down to the driver, but instead talk to them as an equal. View them as someone who, like all of us, has made a mistake and whom you are helping to realise that and to understand what they did wrong. Criticise the driving, not the driver, i.e. don't say that someone is a poor or bad driver, say that that particular manouevre was poor driving. Better still, don't use a pejorative word like 'poor' or 'bad' - instead describe specifically what they did wrong, e.g. 'too close' or 'too fast' etc.

I've had varying responses to this style of approach:

- Once when close passed by a bus, I was able to speak to the driver when the bus halted at a bus stop, and I simply said, "You were too close when you passed me. You need to allow more space." The driver acknowledged that, and I like to think that he probably was more careful overtaking cyclists after that, at least for a while.

- Once when close passed by a camper van with literally no more than a couple of inches between me and its wing mirror, the camper van then immediately turned left into a side road and stopped. I turned left and spoke to the driver and pointed out that he had been far too close. His reply was "What are you complaining about, I didn't hit you, did I?" It was clear that the driver was incapable of recognising that he had made a mistake, and I knew that I would be wasting my time saying anything further. I just shook my head in disappointment and rode away.

- Once when overtaken dangerously by a car on a tight left hand turn I called out as he passed, "Too close!" The driver heard (the passenger window was open), and he immediately braked to a stop and started to swear at me. There was clearly no point in talking to him, and instead my eyes were caught by the behaviour of the woman who was in the passenger seat. She was not looking at me or him - instead she was staring straight ahead as if nothing was happening. She must have witnessed his road rage on multiple occasions and developed that 'eyes forward' technique as a coping strategy.

For those drivers who are responsible and receptive, this approach is probably more likely to have a positive effect on their subsequent driving than a hostile or aggressive approach, which may only get their back up and result in their bloodymindedly continuing to drive badly.

For those drivers who are a lost cause, this approach saves you wasting your breath and emotions any further. If you want to express your displeasure, just shake your head like a parent or teacher faced with a recalcitrant child.
Last edited by slowster on 25 May 2019, 6:09pm, edited 3 times in total.

Mike Sales
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby Mike Sales » 25 May 2019, 1:19pm

slowster wrote:When I am on the receiving end of some bad/dangerous driving, and the opportunity presents itself to speak with the driver, I always try to take the following approach:


In those circumstances I have tried to begin by telling them quietly that I was rather frightened by their driving. This may not be productive always, but at least is not immediately aggressive.

slowster
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby slowster » 25 May 2019, 2:49pm

Mike Sales wrote:In those circumstances I have tried to begin by telling them quietly that I was rather frightened by their driving. This may not be productive always, but at least is not immediately aggressive.

I think that whatever you say, how you say it can be as important, or even more important, than what you say. What works with some people will not work with others, and it is extremely difficult to judge how someone will respond to any given approach in the heat of the moment immediately after a scary near miss.

Neverthless, I don't think saying you were frightened is the optimum approach. I am sure that some drivers would respond in a positive manner, but others would turn it against you, e.g. 'if you're frightened, then that's your problem'/'you shouldn't be on the road' etc. Others might not respond positively because it implicitly blames them, and many will adopt a defensive and closed mind response to being blamed, or even consider it your fault for trying to make them feel bad/guilty.

Your statement that you were frightened is presumably an opening gambit, which is intended to lead on to why you were frightened, i.e. the driver was too close, too fast etc. However, it's an opening gambit which, intentionally or otherwise, seeks to put the other person on the back foot and make them feel guilty, and many people will not respond well to that.

Whether you were frightened is not important. Similarly I do not give a damn whether the driver feels guilty or sorry about their mistake: it's already history and not something they can undo. All that I care about is influencing their future behaviour, even if only slightly and only for a relatively short period. My being aggressive or passive-aggressive or otherwise emotional is likely to be counter-productive to that.

So I would not talk about being frightened. I would go straight to the point of what was at fault with the driving, and talk about it in cold dispassionate terms, e.g. 'You need to allow more space when overtaking a bike. The Police say 1.5m minimum'.

I used the driving instructor/pupil analogy above, because I think that is the type of communication that is likely to work best. If a pupil makes a serious mistake, a good instructor does not get angry, nor would they tell their pupil that their driving had frightened them (which would only serve to needlessly undermine the pupil's confidence). Instead the instructor explains to the pupil the nature of their mistake (without being patronising), and tells them what they should have done.

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 25 May 2019, 3:18pm

Ninja rocks are fun,

brynpoeth
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby brynpoeth » 25 May 2019, 3:49pm

@ slowster
Plus One
Perhaps we could take a leaf out of the driving instructors manual
..
Touch of brake to get third
Let off the clutch slowly until you sense the biting point :?
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fastpedaller
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Re: Intimidating Motorists?

Postby fastpedaller » 25 May 2019, 5:13pm

There was a guy in a local cycling club who was legendary for 'sorting out' the really bad motorists. Not to be recommended unless you are 6ft+ and an ex-naval hard man, like he. On one occasion it seems a motorist deliberately drove into him as a 'punishment' for being in the faster moving 3rd lane of a roundabout where he was turning right, the motorist's reason being 'a bike shouldn't be overtaking me'. Our cyclist hauled the driver through the car window and knocked him out cold. I don't advocate violence, but on this occasion it was possibly justified. :shock: