9.24.2009

my blood is still boiling... my heart is still racing

this morning on my very short bicycle ride to work in downtown DC I had a nasty encounter with a car...

I was rolling down Columbia Road through Adams Morgan passing Atomic Billiards when a car behind me leaned on their horn and passed me obnoxiously fast and obnoxiously close
the driver was going so fast that there was no time for me react
the driver was going so fast that there was no time for her to stop at the Stop Sign 20 yards ahead
there would have been no time for her to react had a pedestrian stepped off the curb
luckily she was able to stop in the line of traffic that was 20 yards past the stop sign

with her stuck in the queue just ahead I knew i had a chance for a rebuttal

I had flipped her off when she passed me... she flipped me off when I approached her
there she was in her car stuck behind a line of cars at a red light... which waited for the green light only to move forward to get stuck and held behind the line of cars waiting at the next light
good thing she showed her Lexus goes 0-60 in seconds flat!

after we exchanged one finger salutes
the driver of this car mouth something about me having to be over to the side or our of her way
she was not bold enough to roll down her window so her message was not entirely clear... she was bold enough to sit in her metal cage waving her finger at me as she made a phone call
maybe calling the police
maybe calling her anger management support group
I hoped that she called the police... because that was something I had considered doing

this did not go well... it did not go as planned
it is hard for a person to turn the other cheek when that cheek nearly got run over seconds earlier
flipping her off the pointing the camera in her face may not be the way to turn her around to appropriate behavior
but... more than likely I am not going to get her to conform to civil behavior
for some reason this woman feels a greater entitlement to the the road than those around her

my heart rate still has not dropped
she is a menace to the roads
she is a danger to herself and others
her actions behind the wheel would qualify as reckless driving
if a police officer had seen this... he would have clearly thrown the book at me
as the car culture does not see things as the cyclist sees them
while in actuality she should have her license revoked
in fact.. three violations at one time equal enough points to take someone's license

SPEEDING! (maybe doubling the residential speed limit)
PASSING CROSSING THE DOUBLE LINE!
FAILURE TO STOP AT THE STOP SIGN!
FAILURE TO YIELD TO BICYCLE TRAFFIC/UNSAFE PASSING!
there has to be another law broken there
IMPROPER USE OF THE HORN?

again... Submissive Cycling enables Aggressive Driving

yes... I could have handled my side of this encounter better
but it is tough to be rational when you have just had your life threatened
it is tough to give others respect when they are showing no respect towards you

it is a crappy way to start the day... I wonder how she tells the story at the water cooler?
I bet she is going to the once bicycle commuter in her office and giving them a piece of her mind

tonight I will check out the images of her... and maybe post some more words
I may even run her tags
in the past I spoke with Police on this matter... I may even send her vehicle and tag information to the DC Police... let her get a warning... she needs to realize that her aggressive driving style could result in DEATH
the word accident would not apply
VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER

her reckless behavior is far from justifiable
she is a terrorist!
terrorizing the streets of our city
not just threatening my life... but a threat to any and all that encounter her
where she ran this stop sign is right in front of a toddler park/rec center
I would not have liked to see what would have happened if there had been a few strollers rolling into the cross walk as she blazed through that stop sign at 45-50 MPH

MAN! I AM FRAZZLED AND FREAKED OUT!

9 comments:

PoorDumbBastard said...

this is my world on a fairly regular basis over here in western pa! normally once i start getting yelled at, i'm the first one to suggest calling the police over in a situation where my right of way was not being yielded to. 99% of the time after i call them on it like this, they'll just drive off, but i usually get a pic of the plate and refer it over to the police just so there is a record of it for future issues involving that particular driver. it still gets irritating though.

Gunnar said...

Sorry that your day had to start out so crummy. I hope the rest of the day goes better.

I think I too would have reacted in the same way. And no, law enforcement doesn't care.

Mark said...

I had a very similar encounter recently. A car buzzed by me at about 40 mph about 2 inches from my handlebars. I am still shocked by it. When I came up to the car, the passenger leaned out and started hurling every kind of insult she could at me -- and the driver filled up a water bottle with wine (no lie!) at 9 in the morning. I am really still puzzled by the anger. The only thing I could think is that they didnt realize they could have killed me.

Cycle Jerk said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkdP02HKQGc

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you pointed the camera at her -- did you get a pic? Sounds like she was worse your average driver in DC. Perhaps a little blog-shame would be more satisfying than flipping the bird. I suspect that, as in so many situations, the finger-flipping just gives the recipient the opportunity to feel wronged and indignant -- thus ignoring the fact that he/she just did something wrong. I don't feel good about yelling at drivers who just did incredibly dangerous things, even if they deserve it. Most of the time, they have no clue what they've done, and yelling at them just seems to give them an excuse for feeling indignant instead of apologetic.

And I worry that some folks may be gettign the wrong message from the yelling. Leaving Ft. Reno last night, a couple kids on dirt bikes were zipping through red lights right in front of moving cars, whose drivers - understandably -honked at them. The biker kids' response was to yell fuck off and flip the bird. Not a good sign -- I worry those drivers aren't going to be too charitable to the next bikers they see -- which could be me.

So, I'm not going to stop calling out drivers who drive like idiots, but I'm going to try to remember to slow down and say "thanks" the next time someone goes out of their way to do the right thing.

Jan said...

Sorry to hear about your commute. I have the same thing happening to me once in a while. I agree with Gunnar, law enforcement doesn't care.

Unless you had video evidence of infractions of the law and video evidence of license plate number?

For a while I've contemplated rigging a small, cheap, waterproof video camera held onto my bike with velcro pointed backwards toward cars coming up from behind. This way I'd have video evidence if someone was being reckless. Not too expensive ($50. on Amazon) and may do the trick. http://www.amazon.com/Oregon-Scientific-ATC2K-Waterproof-Action/dp/B000F5FKHI

Mark said...

Don't forget her violation of DC's 3 foot law. We've had that law now for 1.5 years. Of course this law can only be enforced when a driver has hit a cyclist or a cop see the offense and understands the law.

I expect drivers to do stupid shit when I ride. I've actually become numb to it all.

Anonymous said...

yes , submissive cycling enables aggressive driving.

yes, cops dont care...where do you live...dc = doesnt care

what did you do...nothing

whats going to happen next time...same thing

good job pussy

gwadzilla said...

as a cyclist I held my position on the street
I was not riding all the way to the right

by submissive cycling versus aggressive cycling

I am not telling people that they should carry their U-Lock as a weapon
although it is not a bad idea

submissive cycling means hiding to the side in the gutter... rolling in the door zone... allowing cars to pass you inches away in the same lane

take the lane is what I am saying
let them go around you

my blood boiled and a Mount Pleasant neighbor who was on bike and experienced essentially the same pass shared with me the frustration that we can not strike back

I am an adult
I am trying to sort this out and handle this as adults do

I am an advocate
I try and work with the system

although at times I may ride like an anarchist
I am not an anarchist

I try to work with the system to make things better

there are just not enough hours in they day for me to be all the people I want to be

a few years ago I was attending BAC:Bicycle Advisory Council meetings in the district
but realized I did not have the time for all these responsibilities
coaching my son's soccer team bumped the BAC meetings off my already busy calendar

(Jeff Peel? what is the difference between council and committee again?)