Remonstrating with drivers

Is it really worth remonstrating with drivers that put us in danger?

I’ve done my fair share of remonstrating, some would say that I go to far, it’s hard to control what you say when you have adrenaline pumping through your arteries. The adrenaline is usually a result of a near collision experience, a collision which could have resulted in death or serious injury.

Most people don’t like to be criticised by strangers and I think that is fair enough. But some people go to extreme lengths when they have been. Just watch the video below, the driver passes the cyclist far too close and is shortly stuck in traffic. The cyclist remonstrates with the driver about their actions only a few meters behind them and the driver clearly doesn’t like it as they shortly brake test the cyclist and then tailgate them.
They part ways but the driver, unknown to the cyclist, turns around and follows them as they stop at a petrol station, the driver continues past but pulls up on the other side of the road. As the cyclist approaches where the driver is parked, the driver pulls away and quite clearly drives towards the cyclist as they take a side road.

And another example below, where a video camera cyclist confronts a driver that didn’t stop at a zebra crossing, a rather minor driving error in the bigger picture but worth highlighting it, but doing so in person? Not so sure, this driver clearly doesn’t like being told how to drive by someone else and when a note about where to see the offending video is thrown in the vehicle and the driver is then cut up on the roundabout. The driver takes it back on the cyclist by cutting him up. It really isn’t worth remonstrating with drivers, even if these 2 are only 1 in a 100.

I stopped talking to drivers* about their bad driving quite some time ago, I find it’s best just to take a deep breath and get on with it. I have it on video and will report them to the police if need be.

* Well starting conversations, I can’t help it if people get out of their vehicle and confront me.

15 thoughts on “Remonstrating with drivers

  1. So far I have come across mad drivers some crazy drivers and even some crazy-mad drivers, but apart from a dangerous bastard who AFAICT deliberately left-hooked me for no reason, other than I was riding a recumbent [I am thankful for powerful disk brakes] and the passenger of a builder’s lorry who threw a telephone directory at me [on my recumbent again], I have not met such targeted aggression.

  2. I think it’s a flaw in human nature that we take criticism so badly. Yes, there’s every chance a stranger will be wrong for whatever reasons, but that’s another, bigger discussion I think…

    It also annoys me, on the road and otherwise (though it’s especially dangerous with cars), that people seem to think physical aggression and violence are an acceptable response to verbal aggression (or even non-aggressive verbal contact, in these cases). Again, it’s an adrenaline thing mostly, I think.

    The highway code says something about not attempting to communicate with other drivers in these ways. A specific example being that you should not use sounding devices to show disdain or aggression. As my driving and riding has progressed, I have tried to cut out all sorts. I’m unlikely to try and talk to another road user unless it is either clearly mutually amicable or an appropriate and safe opportunity presents itself. Also, in the car/on my motorbike, I resist the urge to flash my main beams or sound my horn at people’s mistakes (certain exceptions for if they are forgetful, indicator running or main beams on, etc).

    The rule applies to avoiding aggression in all scenarios. If there is no engagement with a person, they can’t raise that engagement to aggression. There’s a small exception to this (like the drivers who get out to have a go at you), however that is often explained by them perceiving aggression, or perceiving a cause for aggression (hint: there are none).

  3. I seriously curtailed my arguing with drivers after a rather close call in Brixton having confronted a driver about his abuse of the bus lane when they pulled into a petrol station. Narrowly missed being kicked off my bike and then the same driver caught up with me about 3 miles down the road still yelling. Had to “ignore” a red to get away safely then backtracked using side roads and a cycles only section to lose them proper :-S

    Since then I’ve been more restrained, as you’d have seen in my videos I usually yell or give hand gestures, but don’t bother with the tapping on the window to “talk” to people as I tend to get VERY sweary and it’s not going to get my point across at all well. Like Gaz it’s all on camera so if it is something serious I’ll just Roadsafe the moron.

  4. I still need to learn that the camera can do the talking every-time. I have two “road rage” incidents now with the police awaiting review. I suspect that if I had kept my mouth shut (well not pointed to my camera) the first one wouldn’t have happened and second one came about because I slapped the guys car. I had to warn him off somehow. That slap apparently justified him threatening to run me over if I touched his car again. Of course him nearly knocking me off my bike and probably into oncoming traffic in the left slip lane was completely justified.

    Oh I do have one brush pass when I didn’t respond at all. The video is pretty damning in my view so it will be interesting to see what the police do.

  5. I would say no don’t do it because car drivers are never wrong. And sooner or later you would end up with a smack in the mouth, but at times I see the red mist filling my eyes……

  6. SOTWs seems like a loverly fella – he hasnt yet become accustomed to our drivers. I feel a little sorry for him on this basis as he thinks the same as I used to (or Gaz, or Mikey, or Magnatom) that somehow you can persuade them.

    I think part of this problem comes from an ineffective Police and Court system that struggles to deal with these issues, or even at times ignores them. Somehow we have to push for this to change, improve and get bad road users dealt with. Somehow we have to push for Police numbers to be increased back to sensible levels (the population goes up, yet Police numbers decrease – that surely cannot work in any logical sense).

    In the same way today on the BBC drivers are complaining that insurance is costing them too much no one is really putting two and two together and realising why…

  7. My worst incident wasn’t on video, it was just a van getting so impatient about me waiting to turn right -and not pulling in front of oncoming traffic- that he chased me up back roads, and when we I went into a friends house for safety, was banging on the door looking for a fight
    the police did get involved but the shop said they’d given it to a garage for repairs, and the garage denied all knowledge.

  8. I’ve spoken to a few drivers and lights, and I try to be polite and reasonable, even if I’m not feeling that way. “Excuse me, when you passed me back there it was quite scary” is surprisingly disarming for most people, and many have then either apologised straight away, or discussed it.

    Of course that didn’t include the French courier van driver who assured me that the highway code says I should cycle in the gutter and get the fuck out of his way …

    1. Have said this many times. But we need to PROVE to the Government that its needed, and the majority of cyclists wont engage in the debate or ask the officials to push through change and measures that help.

    1. We do still have to be sensible. Its equally daft to assume that every motorist is going to go bananas and either drive over us or get out and hammer us (as happened in Brighton or Hove iirc last week).

  9. But how do you decide?

    I have had a guy chase me down the road because I smacked the side of his late model in nice condition 4WD (SUV) with the palm of my hand when he let it drift into the cycle lane I was in. He bumped (not bad but enough of a scare thanks) into me. He had kids in his car too and it was in an up river side (read expensive $1m plus house price) suburb where it turns out he lives.

    Was it reasonable to expect to be then chased by a 4WD driver in such circumstances and threatened to have “my block knocked off”? I don’t think so. Mind you I would have done it anyway as I didn’t want him knocking me off my bike; possibly making things even worse. It really was my only line of defence; ringing a bell does not cut it.

    The bottom line from his perspective was his 4WD was far more important to him than a human being’s life, mine in this case. Did I expect this reaction? No. Stupid me thought I would have got an apology.

    Do I consider his response reasonable? No.

    Have I learnt that males in 4WDs may have serious psychological issues? Yes (taken three incidents but now learnt to just let the camera and the police deal with them).

    So it is okay to say be sensible, but I would like your mind reading skills please 🙂

  10. It’s all very well saying let the video and the police handle it, but the police usually won’t take any notice, even with video evidence. We don’t have Roadsafe here, nor anything like it.

    As far as campaigning goes, even if we do engage, we are just a small bunch of weirdos who want to inconvenience everyone else in order to follow our weird pastime.

    Of course, from a political point of view, the STATS19 reports don’t help us. How can there be a problem when there are fewer cyclists than pedestrians killed per million km travelled?

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