Mood: Enraged!

So I am riding my bike to work on one of those huge, open, Salt Lake roads that has room for 4 lanes + turn lane + parking + ample bike lanes.

a minivan darts through an opening in traffic, AND ALMOST RUNS ME OVER!!!

I barely have time to grab my brakes, as the minvan flashes by a mere foot in front of my wheel, -they are turning into a gas station.

My heart is jumping & twisting like a fish on a hook. After a few seconds to collect myself, I turn into the gas station after them.

These idiots are driving through the gas station, using it as a shortcut to get to a different road!!

Traffic is brisk, and they are stopped at the exit. I roll up behind them, angling towards the drivers side window….

Suddenly traffic clears and the minivan rolls forward. I am about to put my fist through their back window, but at the last second remember that is a really bad idea (for my hand, I don’t care about their window) so I do a loud open palmed thwack, and let loose with a stream of All-American obscenities at the top of my lungs (and I can be LOUD when neccesary).

Usually, confronting a 3,300 pound Plymouth Voyager while riding a 19 pound Bianchi is a VERY bad idea, but with a gas station full of people sympathetically watching, it’s a bit safer.

The minivan spins it’s wheels, & zips away with the driver giving me the finger.

I continue back on my commute, wobbly, angry, sick to my stomach, wondering if I did the right thing, and with a wild new feeling mixed in, that my life is not just about my life anymore…

32 Responses to “Mood: Enraged!”

  1. I can’t believe someone would do something that idiotic!

    Many props to you for chasing him down!

  2. Road rage seldom ends well.

    I bet you put the fear of Love into that middle aged soccer mom, though.

  3. Ohhhh, Fred! Don’t assume it was a middle aged soccer mom! More than likely, it was OWNED by a middle aged soccer mom but driven by her spoiled soccer playing male offspring.
    Glad you weren’t hurt Andrew!

  4. I prefer to picture a middle aged Mormon soccer mom (with a spalsh of repressed cougarliness to her) demurely extending her middle finger as she drove away…

    Sadly it was probably a 20-25 year old male embarassed to 1.) be driving a mini-van and 2.) be being owned by a guy on a bicycle to the point that all he could do was drive off in humbled frustration.

    I’m still going with the cougar, with the hopes that at dinner-time that evening she regaled her family with tales of her angry confrontation with the crazed biker.

  5. To be honest, when it happened, I was very shaken, & did not have a clear view of the driver…

    I saw the vague sillouete of the person through the darkened rear window as they drove away, and saw the “finger”

    but the gender & age is a mystery…

    I image it was a fleshy, grinch-like, pinkish creature, with a perpetually screwed up grimace on their face, from a life of indiscrimiate rudeness and the karmic rewards that return 10-fold upon someone who lives like that…

    (but Fred, yours is a nicer picture)

  6. Growing up riding bikes in Manhattan and especially Central Park i’ve seen that movie. Been there…done that!!!

  7. Andrew, Man I am so glad you are ok. I know it is hard but you have got to get the plate number and call the cops. With the 3 foot law in effect we have to push these people through the court system. It is our only hope for safe streets that will get more crowded with bikes with gas at $3.50 gallon. Sorry to lecture so many times I thought if only I could get my hands around their neck I know I can drag them through that window. I am glad you are ok!!!!!

  8. Ohhh, you know, If more people gave one little thought to anyone else’s life and future we’d be in a safer world. Instead, more and more people seem to be driving around as if the car doesn’t matter and people don’t matter and it is their right to be rude. (And rudeness doesn’t end with driving!) Not to spoil Fred’s fun, but there are soooo many people driving around not paying attention and not caring that it could have been a soccer mom’s brother in law who was an atheist and on the phone. Jamie, I did not even know that was a law - that’s good to know, because that is one way to make people pay attention.

  9. Sadly I think Carla’s image is probably closer to the true identity of the driver. Most people get into their cars and turn their brains off. This youtube clip caught me not paying attention. It’s put out by a Brit agency that promotes road safety.

  10. I seriously wonder if I should be biking to work.

    If I run into problems like that, and go to court, and it comes up that I’m pregnant, they could paint me as totally irresponsible. Like I should expect to get hit on my bike.

    Of course cycling is great for pregnancy exercise, but that would be irrelevant.

  11. Glad you are ok and Andrew won the C group Weekly World Championships in SLC tonite. Welcome to riding in SLC. I’ve had my share of run ins especially on 9th East??? People can’t wait to get somewhere.
    I had some kids beep at me and swerve around me. I caught up to them and wanted to pop a few dents but instead did the repsonsible thing and took a pic of their license plate and called the cops.
    Some jackass SLC detective called me back and proceeded to berate me for reporting this since if everyone called about other drivers on the road…..blah….blah….blah. I should have reported him last year.

    Jamie I reallly want to know what my rights are in this situation? If I call the cops nothing happens unless I am hit it seems. There is a case in the courts right now which will determine if the 3 foot law actually means anything.

    Last Tuesday I had some jackass buzz me within 6 inches trying to get around me on 9th East to go right at 13th. I was traveling at 25mph on a very secondary road. I said, “Could you get any closer”. Then this a-hole said, “you cyclist are all the same….your all a-holes”. This could have escalated but I kept my mouth shut which was hard. I tried to take a picture of his plate to scare him but really WTF can I do. Sue him for scaring me. I was thinking that next time I will just fall down and call an ambulance. That seems to be the only way to do anything. I don’t know. There is a lot of resentment on the roads. Some of the cyclist here bring it on us. Riding to RMR tonite we were 2-3 accross coming up to 56th West. That doesn’t do good will towards drivers.

    I am getting sick of the drivers here. I’m from Boston and I would ride my bike anyday in Boston over SLC. That’s saying something.

    Welcome to the battle of the roads in SLC Andrew. I use 11th East and 41st with wide shoulders and the bike path so as not to deal with the a-holes here. I’ve had people yell at me, swerve at me, buzz me, blow their diesel smoke in my face climbing, cops yell at us for riding two accross, etc,etc.

    Here’s an interesting thing that happened in Tuscon on a group ride with some pros and ex pros. Cop played chicken with the pack and caused a crash. When someone told the cop he caused the crash, he said “Good”. God help our world.

  12. Whooo - intense post. I’m SO glad you’re OK. My guess is that the driver didn’t see you and then was embarassed, hence got mad at you. OK, s/he probably wasn’t looking, didn’t think, doesn’t care - however, ask anyone who rides a motorcycle - you’re INVISIBLE. Even with their noise and lights, THEY are invisible, and responsible bikers make a point to pound that awareness into any new rider. It’s not right, not the way it should be, but it is true. Even if drivers were completely responsible, they’re also fallible, and you, the vulnerable one, have to look out for yourself.

    As to, more than your own life - yep. Oh, yeah. Even I, a middle-aged soccer mom, have consciously foregone certain adventures and pursuits until my daughter’s fledged. This year, the two of us will probably get SCUBA certified together, and part of me thinks I’m out of my mind - this is one of those things that the insurance companies explicitly ask you about and exclude, fer chrissake.

  13. Jamie: 3,5 dollar for a gallon? Where can you get that???

    We pay 5.86 dollar for a gallon nowadays in the Netherlands! (okay, it’s a bit inflated because of the weak dollar, but that’s ‘only’ 15% or so)

    And with that price, the streets are _still_ packed with cars. The netherlands is somewat 220 miles ‘tall’ and 140 miles wide… and for 2 weeks ago we had traffic jams totalling 550 miles!!!

    So whatever the cost of gasoline, people will still drive…

    But ontopic on the bicycle vs car problem: in the Netherlands, the bike is king! :)

  14. This whole story put me in a a foul mood, and I sat here cursing cars and people, until I realized that for every a–hole homicidal driver there are thousands of others who are conscientious towards cyclists or at least passive enough to not deliberately try to harm them. As a cyclist one becomes acutely aware of the extremes of random malice in the world today–pretty scary! But God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

  15. Andrew, I feel you frustration. Not only are we, as cyclists, often “forgotten” by drivers, but occassionally even targeted by drivers (last year one actually swerved AT me because my presense on a low-traffic street was just too much for him to deal with). And, just to thow in another side of the coin - I get almost as frustrated when drivers disrupt traffic to do us “favors.” For example, last weekend I was signalling and wiating to turn left. The oncoming car stopped 50 yards off and “allowed” me to turn in front of him. Now, I know he was just trying to do something nice, but 1) how am I to really know what they’re expecting me to do, and 2) acts like that just muddy the waters as to our role/rights on the street. Personally, I think it’s just better to let the traffic rules play out as they’re written - for the sake of safety and consistency. Did you ever see a car stop to allow another car to turn left in front of them?

    Ok, got off on a bit of a tangent there. I did want to respond to some of the comments about cyclist rights and related laws. Though there is quite a bit of consistency across the board, it is important to know that bike laws vary from state to state. There is a book available called “Bicycling and the Law” by Bob Mionske. I haven’t read the book myself, but he writes a lot of articles for “Bicycling” magazine about biking, the law, and biker rights - usually very thorough and detailed. He also has a website ( that promotes his bike-centric legal practice - it also has advice.

    Sorry that comment got kinda long…

  16. If, God forbid, this clown had struck and killed you, the driver would have had a half-dozen excuses and the criminal justice system would lean over backwards to cut him/her a “fair deal”. It happens all the time. A former RAAM competitor, Randy Van Zee was run over and killed last week. The local press is always ready to blame the cyclist. So far, Randy’s mistake seems to be riding around dusk. I don’t think anything will change until a lot more people start riding(gas @ $10/Gal.?) and there is a constituancy to advocate for stiffer penalties against careless drivers. I hate mountain biking and love to ride on the road, so I’ll have to trust fate. By the way, the only direct contact I’ve had so far with a car, was while inline skating. Go figure.

  17. The thing I will never understand (and, really, don’t want to) is how people enjoy the thought of other people getting hurt. I mean, trying to swerve into a cyclist is fun, how? When someone is on the phone and can’t pay attention to the road, that’s stupid. (Maybe illegal, depending on where you are, but mainly selfish and stupid.) But when someone is actually making an effort to scare us, knock us over, or…worse, what are they thinking?! (And that is sort of not illegal, at least not enforced.) That’s what bothers me about people not caring. Can someone really think of a person on a bike as just some moving object on the road, and their car as another moving object on the road, and the whole situation as playtime, without giving a damn that one of us is somebody’s daughter, friend, or father, that we have a future? I’m kind of a dork, and I like it that way - all winter, in 6 inches of snow, I unintentionally keep the habit of checking for a cyclist before I turn right. It would take a loooong time to be able to live with myself if one time I didn’t and somebody happened to be there….

  18. Some people are real sick jerks! If it makes you feel better, Andrew, I’ve been known to smack cars, vans, SUVs in the back as they nearly run me over while I’m crossing and they’re turning into the street. New York’s traffic laws reqire vehicles to stop to let pedestrians walk across the street and usually drivers observe this. Traffic can be very crowded and for the life of me I can’t figure out why some drivers have to rush to turn in front of people when all they get to do is sit in traffic waiting for the cars in front of them to go. That gives me a chance to smack them!
    All of you, be careful on your bikes!

  19. Let’s also remember that the conscientious, law abiding cyclists biggest enemy might not be the occasional irresponsible motorist - but rather the sadly more common than we’d like obnoxious cyclist.

    I see way too many cyclists ride aggresively, breaking traffic law after traffic law on, I guess, the grounds that since they didn’t have to get take a test and get a license there aren’t any actual traffic laws that pertain to them.

    You know those paved areas on the side of the street? They’re called sideWALKS - for a reason. Those multi-colored glowing displays at intersections? Yeah - see how when they shine red all the CARS stop…guess what, you’re supposed to stop on your bicycle too…and wait until it turns green to go.

    How about where cars are supposed to yeild the right-of-way to pedestrians…two things here. 1.) You’re not a pedestrian, no one’s supposed to stop for you. You want people to stop, get off your bike and become a pedestrian. 2.) You ARE supposed to stop for people on foot. Yeah, just like any other vehicle.

    Many cyclists are cool with the rules of the road. Many know about riding on the right side, single file in traffic, and about riding defensively (which is a pretty good idea when the other guy outweighs you by a few tons) - but a few assholes with attitudes can spoil it for everyone pretty quickly…

  20. Andrew - Having been hit by cars twice while training, I wholly understand the rage felt towards incompetent drivers. Successfully managing to put a few well placed cleat marks into the side of some suit’s Lexus AS it knocked me off my bike a few years back was admittedly satisfying. My wrist still bugs me (it broke - I cut the cast off in order to race Nationals…), but not as much as the reciprocal damage to that guy’s car likely bothered him. That said, as was explained to me, even if you’re completely justified in being angry, a car outweighs you and stupid drivers who do stupid things are generally not likely to respond favorably to being confronted. So now I remind myself that karma’s a b*tch, and I’d rather live to skate another day. Sorry to hear you met a jerk on the road. Thankful you’re okay. Hopefully the driver will think twice before cutting off a cyclist again - who knows… maybe you saved someone ELSE from getting nailed by him (her?) in the future! :)

  21. Wow, this post hit a nerve.. . or several nerves…..

    and I almost didn’t write it, I was still shaking mad, and stole a few minutes at work, barely an hour after it happened, and scribbled it down..

    thanks to every contributor…. lots of good points from a variety of perspectives..

  22. You can’t have too many cross roads in SL . The jerk who does that to you could have a gun. You need to be around for October

    On second thought you need to pay better attention to the traffic.With every one trying to be first at the red light, wait for the next break

  23. grandpa Col Ed - you got a lot of points (do you ride the bike yourself). In Amsterdam (holland) we call the interaction between cyclists and drivers: Wild West. Long time I decided not to accept the rude behaviour of these jerks (thanks for the word) and i started to yell and give fingers. Till some taxidriver turned around and came after me - full speed. I had my youngest with me on my bike — i was terrifeid by the agression and format of the guy (6,5 feet). He jumped out of the car and luckily enough i could turn around too - a narrow escape - heart bouncing like crazy. Of course, the wildwest interaction is still going on - sometimes as a traffic civil war.But i stopped visible reactions. Indeed, you never know about size and format of the driver, about knive, or gun. Getting into a fight takes a lot of time, frustration etc.
    Remember the old sutra:
    forget about drama, just say: “Oh’ and then : “OK”.
    Take care (hold distance) andrew + jessica
    stay cool, take care and the bike
    enjoy the spring of life

  24. […] by peterdoucet Andrew Love had a run in with a mini-van driver the other day- read about it in Mood: Enraged!- he concludes his entry saying ‘I continue back on my commute, wobbly, angry, sick to my […]

  25. There’s just a few questions that would be very heated that I would ask any driver who actually intended to cut me off. Then I might just knife their tyres or something. I do get really really pissed when people do that to me because there’s no reason besides just being sick that anyone would do that on purpose, or maybe they just don’t realise what would happen if they actually did hit them.

    I’ve had a few of these myself and have chased the people down, and even on a bike, you’d be surprised at how scared people in cars get of pissy bikers.

  26. Prior to my introduction to inline skating, I would depend on commuting on my mtn. bike for exercise and saving money on gas–it was only $1.15/gal back then. All this riding was in Seattle and due to the steepness of some very long hills, I would be anywere from a slow crawl of 3 mph or as much as 45 mph. What I found was people were way more couretous on two-lane roads, whereas on four-lane roads where the right-hand lane was so wide it would be wide enough for two full-size cars to drive abreast–some drivers (at least 3 time a week) would yell profanities for me being on the road. Those episodes really left me feeling nervous, but I eventually gave in to throwing in a curve to these obnoxious drivers–I began to ask them to wait, I’d play dumb and ask for directions (eventhough I knew exactly where I was going) and before long, most would be quite polite and actually offer directions. Some, after offering directions, would out-of-the-blue apologize for swearing at me. Basically, was learning to diffuse the situation while keeping the offending party engaged and allowing an “emotional distraction.” It usually works wonders and I’d say at least a third would drive away with a smile on their face, wishing me a good day.

    Point–Present yourself in a humble manner when being aggressed, and karma will return to you immediately. Remember, it is not you the bicyclist who pissed that driver off, it was someone else and they were trapped in their emotions. You just happened to be the scape goat for their emotional outburst. I actually made a few friends this way and I recall one specific driver who was totally outraged one day and waved to me a few days later.

    I realized a few weeks ago–especially when I was up in Calgary for the Masters Competition–that the only thing I am in control of in any given situation is how I react to it. I went to that competition feeling sick, tired, sore, hungry, cold, etc. I had a lot of frustrations along the way to the location. Once I realized I had no control over what I was experiencing, but did have control over my attitude and just focused on what I know I can do, I relaxed and had a really good time. By a change of attitude, I had the two best days of skatng–ever!

    Remember, situations influence your emotions and feelings, but only the individual has CONTROL over the OUTCOME. Diffuse the intensity of interpersonal struggles by throwing in distractions. That’s the only way you can gain room to positively influence the interaction.


    From the Dominican Republic at Catolina Bavara in Punta Cana where the weather is 85 & mildly humid, snorkeling is awesome, golf is fantastic, and the food is scrumptious!

  27. While some people think that the sidewalk is not for cyclists - I’d rather be on the sidewalk sometimes, than risk dealing with ANY motorist. Glad to hear you’re okay and Andrew - I’ve done the same thing to toronto cabbies. Many times over and yeah, they deserve it. After calming down, I’ve changed my stance on chasing down idiot motorists. They could pull a gun on you. Then it wouldn’t really matter what they did. Be happy that you’re alive. I’ve had a lot of close calls, but my perception gets changed every time it happens. When I was 16 and racing bicycles, I’d be on the big roads, but now, I fear them. I stil cycle nearly 35km to work, one way, but my route is mostly bicycle path and yes, sidewalk. I’ve been on a bike long enough to know that most of those people walking on the sidewalk are likely to be the very same ones that don’t give a shit about cyclist when they’re in a car. Eye for an eye.

  28. When you say “some people”, do you mean the people who write and enact traffic laws and regulations? Because those are the people I tend to go by…and in most jurisdictions, they say sidewalks aren’t for adult cyclists.

    You seem to have a problem with idiot motorists who have little regard for common courtesy and traffic law - yet no problem blatantly disregarding traffic law when it isn’t convienient for YOU - pretty hypocritical if you ask me…and be honest Eric, do you stop with your bike at red lights and wait for the green before you go? I say 50% + chance you slow down, have a look at traffic and roll right through if nothing is coming.

    And maybe some of the people on the sidewalk might be people who are ignorant drivers - but most are not. In fact, odds are, the one you hit won’t be. If you’re lucky, it won’t be someone’s kid, because if it is, you’ll might get a chance to REALLY see what “eye for an eye” means.

  29. Tim, I think you’re absolutely right - I always think how a lot of people who are being so rude in their cars are the ones who force themselves to be extremely polite through long, frustrating days, and never let it out any other way. (In my opinion, they should let it out, but that’s a whole other topic!) I also would never chase down a car (as if I could!) because if I just escaped a potentially bad situation, why take another chance at getting hurt?

    This whole thing made me email my mom to remind her I ride on “nice” roads where this kind of stuff is less likely.

  30. The whole episode in infuriating, I agree. Of course it is not something I know much about, because my bike is a beach cruiser with a cute little basket. It is defiantly a “ride on the sidewalk to the park” type of bike. But I think people are missing the best part of the story. I would love to see you bellowing loudly at a minivan, especially if the profanity was creative.

  31. I know that feeling! I was riding in Michigan with the skaters up there, suddenly this car speeds by blasting music, window open, this bottle shoots out of the window right at my tire! I FREAKED and chased after him (no use, obviously!) I was lucky, no injury! In Michigan drivers in general are a-holes to cyclists. We got honked at, swerved at, got stuff thrown at us, after a while I started carrying STONES with me. (Eye for an eye, you hurt my ride I hurt YOURS!!)

  32. i’ve often wished i had a couple stones to chuck at cars, too…probably a good thing i don’t actually carry them, i’m impulsive and stubborn enough so that under the right circumstances i might possibly USE them…

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