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A Guide for Cyclists Facing Road Rage

Cyclists Facing Road Rage

A Guide for Cyclists Facing Road Rage

Cyclists facing road rage isn’t a new thing.

Historically, road rage incidents have always involved cyclists since cars and bikes share the road.

Many uneducated drivers don’t understand the rights cyclists have on the roads. However, many uneducated cyclists fail to abide by the rules of the road and only increase their chances of being in a road rage incident. No side is righter than the other. Education is key.

This is a guide for cyclists facing road rage on what to do when it happens but, most of all, what to do to prevent it from happening altogether.

Cyclists Facing Road Rage

A History of Cyclists Facing Road Rage

There is nothing new about cyclists facing road rage these days.

I read something about it about every week, usually. It’s all over the world, too. I see it as far as the United Kingdom, and of course, it happens all over the United States.

I just read an article on Bicycling about an incident near Houston where young drivers almost killed a group of cyclists by “coal rolling” them with their diesel-powered truck. Poor parenting, for sure. Poor investigation skills by the local law enforcement. But nothing that new. Cyclists facing road rage is nothing new at all.

Cyclists have been shot a killed during these road rage incidents. They’ve been run over and killed. They’ve even been beaten to death.

But don’t think for a minute that the cyclist is always a victim. In many instances, they’re the instigator of the whole situation. Regardless, though, no one deserves to die during a road rage incident.

Knowing that there is a history of these types of issues is enough to realize a need to know how to handle them and what to do to prevent them from happening to begin with.

Why Do Drivers Get Road Rage?

There are many reasons why a driver would get road rage with a cyclist.

One reason is likely psychological. For something to get angry enough to want to harm another human being on the road is likely due to a mental illness of some sort. There could be an underlying mental illness that causes the driver to become raged and wish for violence.

Other reasons might not be as complex.

Some people feel that cyclists take up too much space on the road. They feel they cannot drive around them safely or at a speed they’re comfortable with.

Some drivers are reckless, and cyclists will only hinder their ability to drive recklessly and speedily. Many new and inexperienced younger drivers typically fall into this category, especially when parents and authorities are not present.

Many drivers simply don’t know the laws and rules of the road regarding cyclists. This is the fault of the local governing body that includes this type of critical education in drivers’ education and testing. People should urge their policymakers to change this.

Other incidents in which cyclists face road rage might be due to past incidents involving the driver and cyclists that have resulted in a negative experience.

Nonetheless, no matter the cause, road rage incidents involving cyclists can result in very negative outcomes, and this topic is important for riders and drivers to consider.


Tips for Cyclists Facing Road Rage Drivers

The first thing you need to do in a road rage incident is stay calm. Emotions can escalate the situation from bad to worse if we let them. The rager will be angry, and staying calm may help them become calmer.

Use “verbal Judo” to calm down the driver. Do this by being calm, non-threatening, and understanding why they are angry. Apologize to the driver if that is what it takes. Be soft-spoken but clear enough to be heard. Appear to be apologetic with your eyes and hand movements and make yourself look non-threatening. This can help defuse the situation.

The driver might be carrying a gun or weapon. Keep that in your mind. Have an escape plan. If you are legally carrying a firearm or weapon for self-defense, ensure that you can safely use it to protect yourself without harming others or putting yourself in a more threatening situation.

If it’s legal, you may consider carrying a weapon for self-defense, be it a knife, gun, or even defense spray. Just understand that if you use it, an investigation will occur, and you may be treated like a suspect until it concludes.

Be overly cautious when a driver gets out of their vehicle during these incidents. Look around for witnesses and maintain situational awareness at all times. Try to note the license plate number and make/model of their vehicle. If you have a video camera, turn it on and announce that you’re filming.

If the situation becomes threatening, call 911 immediately. Report what is occurring, give your name and location, and stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you that you can disconnect.

If the situation is threatening enough that you could get hurt, flee the scene, and go somewhere, the driver would be unable to drive.

Tips for Drivers on the Road with Cyclists

If you’re a driver on the road with cyclists, you can take measures to prevent these incidents.

As the driver, you have the most control over the situation. You’re driving something that can effectively be a deadly weapon. The cyclist’s safety and protection are weakened due to your advantage over them.

Considering this, it’s appropriate to say that you have most of the control and should do what you can to make the situation positive for both you and the cyclist.

If you see a rider, stay calm and slow down. Give the rider plenty of room and pass them when it’s safe.

Don’t honk your horn. You may think you should warn the rider, but your horn may frighten them, and they may think you’re getting ready to hit them. This may cause them to swerve, and an accident may occur that would not have happened had you not honked your horn.

Instead of honking, pass when safe and smile and wave.

If the cyclist is displaying road rage behavior, cussing, or screaming – slow down and give them space. Don’t engage with them. If you have a camera, turn it on. Call the police if the cyclist is being threatened or riding recklessly. Cyclists have a role in responsible use of the road just as much as you do.

We can all share the road in harmony if we all take an active to do so.


Preventing Road Rage

In this guide for cyclists facing road rage, I must point out preventive methods.

Prevent road rage from happening before it can happen.

You can do this by staying alert at all times. That means you shouldn’t plug your ears up with music-emitting headphones. Pay attention to the traffic all around you.

Carry a smartphone and attach a visible camera to your helmet or bike.

Speaking of a helmet, make sure you wear one at all times when riding your bike, especially if you’re riding on the road with motorists. A helmet saves lives.

Use lights on your bike, whether it’s day or night. Wear colorful and highly visible clothing when cycling. Be seen before it’s too late.

Stay to the right (or left, depending on your location), and use the bike lane if it is safe and clean enough. Don’t ride on the side of the road if you are legally allowed to. You do have rights to use the road, and you should utilize them.

Use hand signals when biking on the road. Follow the rules of the road. Stop at stop signs and traffic lights, don’t weave in between cars, and don’t ride recklessly. Doing those things invites road rage incidents, which hurts the cycling community.

Prevention of road rage is the key to having a safe and positive experience while cycling on the road.


Accidents Between Car and Bike

Cyclists facing road rage isn’t the only thing that can happen in this situation.

There might be an accident where there is contact between a bike and a vehicle.

This is an accident. The driver and cyclist must stop. If anyone flees, it’s legally a hit-and-run.

In the case of something fleeing, law enforcement should be notified immediately.

If you can safely do so, try to take a photo of the vehicle and its license plate before they are able to flee. Also, take a photo of your bike and its damage, as well as the damage to the vehicle that was involved in the accident.


The Aftermath of Cyclists Facing Road Rage

The aftermath of cyclists facing road rage can result in many different situations.

It could be simple: Both parties leave the area, and no one gets hurt. It can also result in only one person leaving in a police vehicle and the other in an ambulance or coroner van.

If necessary, call the police to help defuse the situation or if you’re being threatened. Then, start filming the aggressor with your phone camera for evidence. Flee if the situation becomes dangerous.

After the incident has occurred, consider contacting a lawyer for legal support. You may have a case for a lawsuit or damages in case your bike was hit during the incident. If you need medical attention, you could sue for that coverage as well.

You may need therapy after a road rage incident. It can do a number on your emotions and cause you to be afraid of riding on the road again. Seek help if you need it.


Final Thoughts About Cyclists Facing Road Rage

Road rage is not always the driver’s fault. It’s not always the cyclist’s fault, either.

Education and following the rules of the road (both parties) can be what prevents road rage from happening altogether. It’s important to be ambassadors of our communities to help prevent road rage by being a part of these factors.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. If you did, please share it with other cyclists you know. If you want to support me further, you can give me a one-time donation for this article.

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About Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman is the author of this post and founder of the Beginner Cycling Tips Blog.

Shawn has been an avid cyclist for around 12 years. He road, gravel, mountain, and trail bikes. He likes adventuring more than racing.

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