Motorists incessant disregard for cyclists

Gabbo
Gabbo Posts: 864
edited December 2012 in Road general
I've got a bike, however I am not a commuter on my bicycle. Just how frustrating is commuting by bike during rush hour, knowing that motorists have little regard for cyclists and therefore can often be careless when in close proximity.

It must get frustrating for cyclists that they have so many close encounters with motorists and know deep down that some kind of accident awaits because of the carelessness of drivers nowadays.

Today I witnessed a cyclist getting knocked off his bike. Didn't manage to see what caused the crash, but saw the cyclist roll off the bonnet of the motorists car. Fortunately, he was fit enough to get straight back to his feet, boot the motorists car door, and cycle off. That anger and frustration must have been growing within. I thought kicking the car was a little over the top, but can understand it nonetheless.

Cyclists are provided with no protection apart from a helmet and to see drivers completely disregard us is frustrating to say the very least.

So, who here has been involved in an accident with a motorist? And if so, how did you respond in the moment of it all?
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Comments

  • karlth
    karlth Posts: 156
    It's not as bad as you make it sound, tbh. You develop a thick skin after a while for the "closer than you'd like but very unlikely to actually take you down" passes, and the impatient buggers behind you at pinch points. Most of them aren't out to get you; they get a bit frustrated because they think you're holding them up, without realising that all these people in tin boxes hold you and them up at junctions. They don't think "well the congestion'd be worse if these cyclists were driving", because (a) they're unlikely to realise that you are commuting a distance you'd otherwise have to drive (most other cyclists find a 15 mile commute like mine unremarkable; most non-cyclists are amazed such a feat is possible) or (b) they don't realise you're commuting at all and think you're just having a jolly at their expense.

    But most of them do nothing worse than pass closer than you'd like; I think they know the Highway Code advice but think of it in terms of "in an ideal world" rather than what really is expected on the roads. I've always maintained that most of them would be horrified to learn that their behaviour is actually unpleasant and potentially dangerous. You've got to actually perch on top of 10Kgs of aluminium and carbon travelling at 20mph to suddenly find a ton of metal doing 40 two feet from your right elbow to appreciate what it's actually like, and they've not done that.

    I don't feel "completely disregarded". I sometimes feel misunderstood, but on the couple of occasions I've landed on the deck (once from a wet tramline, the other when I literally ground to a halt clipped in on Winnat's Pass) I've found them genuinely concerned for my well-being. If it was as bad as you seem to think we wouldn't do it.
  • IMO, if the cyclist was 100% innocent, there wouldn't be a frustrated kick / leave, you'd get the reg and go from there.
    I'm an avid driver and recent cyclist. The behaviour of some cyclists / some drivers astounds me. If any induvidual thinks "us and them", horror often ensues.
    Ride like a motorist, drive like a cyclist - that way you'll only ever come to grief with the 0.5% of the population that are just too ignorant to coexist with others.
  • fludey
    fludey Posts: 384
    Saw one myself today out Peterborough way, me going one way in car, cyclest coming other way with a Nissan micra coming up behind him. As I saw Micra get closer I was thinking surely he is going to move out, silly old duffer moved at very last minute and smacked guy on bike with his mirror.
    Mirror broke guy managed to stay on and guy in Micra stopped, I backed up to see if he needed a witness but think he was just happy to give bloke an ear bending.

    I'd have took the witness offer as he was clearly driving without due car and attention. :x
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  • estampida
    estampida Posts: 1,008
    fludey wrote:

    I'd have took the witness offer as he was clearly driving without due car and attention. :x


    that is the point, the coppers are never on the street and prepared to prosecute for due care and attention


    that white line at a junction, you have to stop before it

    that line down the side of the road, you have to drive inside it

    that amber light, is a request to stop, not accelerate.......

    the roads are lawless.......
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    estampida wrote:
    fludey wrote:

    I'd have took the witness offer as he was clearly driving without due car and attention. :x


    that is the point, the coppers are never on the street and prepared to prosecute for due care and attention


    that white line at a junction, you have to stop before it

    that line down the side of the road, you have to drive inside it

    that amber light, is a request to stop, not accelerate.......

    the roads are lawless.......

    In order to satisfy your desire for their to be a police officer present at every incident, the government would have to recruit more police officers rather than enforcing retirement and cutting budgets. You might want to check with your local force to find out just how many police officers are available on any one shift. There certainly aren't enough to put one at every likely accident spot.
    IMO, if the cyclist was 100% innocent, there wouldn't be a frustrated kick / leave, you'd get the reg and go from there.
    I'm an avid driver and recent cyclist. The behaviour of some cyclists / some drivers astounds me. If any induvidual thinks "us and them", horror often ensues.
    Ride like a motorist, drive like a cyclist - that way you'll only ever come to grief with the 0.5% of the population that are just too ignorant to coexist with others.

    Absolutely. Just as there are dickhead drivers, there are dickhead cyclists. Even if as a cyclist you are totally innocent of any transgression during an accident or altercation with a motor vehicle, there is no excuse for causing damage to the vehicle. Get the details of the car and driver, any witnesses and report it.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • I work in London and daily see insane situations.

    Cyclists jumping red lights, cyclists whizzing inbetween pedestrians as they cross under a green man. One cyclist decided that he would be able to squeeze pass a bus on the inside with about 2 inches spare. He hit the kerb and fell in front of me, I jumped over him as I was late for my train. He said "Don't worry I am okay". I just said "it was your fault"

    I see suicide weaving between traffic.

    I also see motorcyclists doing all of the above except jumping red lights.
    I also see nutty car drivers. Bus drivers are the worst.

    And then you have pedestrians, crossing the street without looking, texting as crossing, reading a book while crossing. Crossing infront of incoming traffic with a minute window to do so. Stepping out on the road to pass somebody without checking if any bike is coming in the bike lane, or busses in the bus lane.

    And my pet peeve, people walking beside me and then crossing in front of me, I 9 out of ten times step on their heals on purpose, I just shrug my shoulders when they look at me.

    You also get pedestrians bump into each other at full speed, nobody stops, they just continue on.

    You also get cyclists going 20mph on the path(roughly)

    So if somebody is nutty, they are nutty no matter whether they are walking, cycling, motocycling or driving any vehicle.
  • Ron Stuart
    Ron Stuart Posts: 1,242
    Too many rats in one barrel and they all go mad!
  • davidof
    davidof Posts: 3,036
    You are very vulnerable on a bike and have to ride defensively. I'm very against getting confrontational with other road users unless strictly necessary. I don't think it improves things.

    I've been knocked off once while commuting. A pickup builders truck tried to overtake me under a narrow bridge with oncoming traffic and I got hit quite hard by his mirror which took me off, the driver didn't stop. This was back in the day before cyclists rode on the pavement or jumped red lights so there was less aggro between car and cyclist.

    Had a few near misses. Used to commute 5 miles a day in Paris before the Velibs' appeared and reclaimed the streets, it was a bit of a nightmare on some junctions. You've also got priorité à droite madness to cope with in French towns. Imagine a wet cobbled road where drivers can just pull out into the cyclist's lane without warning and at speed.

    It was easier when I was younger and raced competitively. I used to have the zip to sprint at 30mph+ and ride at the speed of traffic or faster in town occupying my lane.
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  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    I love it.

    No genuinely.

    You develop a 6th sense and start to preempt stupid monouvers from all parties. Of course it helps if you can hold your own and travel with the speed of traffic and take the lane when needed.

    I actually find country lanes scarier than the city.
  • Ron Stuart
    Ron Stuart Posts: 1,242
    iPete wrote:
    I love it.

    No genuinely.

    You develop a 6th sense and start to preempt stupid monouvers from all parties. Of course it helps if you can hold your own and travel with the speed of traffic and take the lane when needed.

    I actually find country lanes scarier than the city.

    R.I.P.
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    Touch wood but 22,000 city and suburb miles in 3 years, doing ok thanks ;)

    If you dig out some stats think you are more likely to get squashed in the countryside.
  • farrina
    farrina Posts: 360
    edited September 2012
    In my experience most motorists, like cyclists, are considerate to other road users and pedestrians. In fact I frequently raise my hand to acknowledge the thoughtful motorist who has used their common sense and waited for an appropriate place to pass me.

    The issue as is often the case the is with the minority who are on auto pilot, dont look or are just plain homicidal in the manner of their driving/riding.

    Where motorists do tend to fall short is their complete lack of appreciation of the speed that you can be travelling at, which leads them to pull out in front of you, or having overtaken pull back in front of you too early and horror of horrors overtaking only to promptly stop to turn right/left.

    Personally I would like to see offending motorists put back on a bike to mix it with traffic (and dodgy road surfaces) for a few days. The majority would be terrified and they would have a new found appreciation (and hopefully respect) for the cyclist.

    Regards

    Alan

    Cyclists (and car driver)

    Ps Perversely my near miss this morning, came about whilst I was out running and involved a newspaper boy riding his cycle along the pavement past the concealed entrance to a local park. We met about at about 8mph (well that was my speed anyway) and missed each other by about a foot. Would say we were equally to blame - me for not slowing down enough coming out of the park (it was 6:50am!) and him riding his bike on the pavement whilst having a bit of a doze ... :oops:
    Regards
    Alan
  • One of the main reasons I got a bike was because my missus is preggers, and when she returns to work we would need another car. I enjoy cycling and thought 'maybe I can kill 2 birds with one stone by commuting by bike, and save lots of cash whilst at it'.

    I have to say threads like these are making me think twice.

    I do think that country roads must be more dangerous because of the speeds cars reach. My commute would be said country roads then busy city/town roads. :(
  • The problem with the whole debate is one response experience cannot be extrapolated to the country, drivers or cyclists as a whole. How about that in cities, "Cyclists incessant disregard for motorists" as a headline ?

    I cycle about 3,000 miles a year on average, none in cities and have had one moderately close call in six years. From that one could deduce that all non-city drivers are carful and considerate. I use mainly A and B roads and the vast majority of drivers are careful and considerate in my experience.

    Everyones an expert and everyone considers their experience typical - and they are completely wrong.
  • This thread again. What a novel idea
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    Bustacapp wrote:
    One of the main reasons I got a bike was because my missus is preggers, and when she returns to work we would need another car. I enjoy cycling and thought 'maybe I can kill 2 birds with one stone by commuting by bike, and save lots of cash whilst at it'.

    I have to say threads like these are making me think twice.

    I do think that country roads must be more dangerous because of the speeds cars reach. My commute would be said country roads then busy city/town roads. :(

    Do not worry, its more a perception than actual risk. You have to adjust your riding accordingly but ride patiently and sensibly and it should not be a problem. Don't rule out taking cycle training, even the best riders have bad habits. Then plan ahead, over the years my route has changed loads, started out naive on the most direct route on the faster roads and now take the longer, far more enjoyable route.
  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    I was knocked off last Friday on my way to work, someone pulled out in front of me and stopped across the bus lane I was travelling in, and way too close for me to stop....resulting in my head cut open, separated ac joint in my shoulder, various cuts and bruises, ambulance ride to hospital, police etc.

    First time in over 25 years of commuting, training, racing that I have been knocked off by anything other than another bike..

    The driver admitted to the police in his statement that he just hadnt seen me...police are taking no further action, which at the time they told me, at the hospital, I just accepted cos I had other concerns, but now I am struggling to understand. Surely its driving without due care and attention, if thats the right phrasing, cos if he had been paying due care and attention he would have seen me. Is it possible to pursue that with police, to push them to take further action?

    Anyway, cant wait to get back on the bike tomorrow, not put me off in the slightest, although the missus is insisting I wear a helmet from now on. Fair enough.
  • Surely alot cycling comes down to common sense. I appreciate some have more than others.

    This morning on my commute to work, traffic built up at traffic lights where a bus was at the front waiting for the lights to go green. Immediately after the lights is a left turn, the bus had his indicator on. I stopped behind the bus and waited. Next thing I know is a cyclist pull up alongside the left hand side of the bus. Nevertheless, when the light went green the cyclist tried beating the bus to the turn and was inches away from being squashed and he starts shouting at the bus driver???

    My motto is "treat others as you yourself wish to be treated" why take up loads of road space at 13mph holding people up when you could just move a little closer to the pavement until the cars pass?
  • SheffSimon wrote:
    I was knocked off last Friday on my way to work, someone pulled out in front of me and stopped across the bus lane I was travelling in, and way too close for me to stop....resulting in my head cut open, separated ac joint in my shoulder, various cuts and bruises, ambulance ride to hospital, police etc.

    First time in over 25 years of commuting, training, racing that I have been knocked off by anything other than another bike..

    The driver admitted to the police in his statement that he just hadnt seen me...police are taking no further action, which at the time they told me, at the hospital, I just accepted cos I had other concerns, but now I am struggling to understand. Surely its driving without due care and attention, if thats the right phrasing, cos if he had been paying due care and attention he would have seen me. Is it possible to pursue that with police, to push them to take further action?

    Anyway, cant wait to get back on the bike tomorrow, not put me off in the slightest, although the missus is insisting I wear a helmet from now on. Fair enough.

    Many factors in them pursuing it, maybe there were no witnesses?

    Anyway you can still claim of his insurance for loads of things, due to injuries, at least £3000 for them. And then bike costs etc.
  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    SheffSimon wrote:
    I was knocked off last Friday on my way to work, someone pulled out in front of me and stopped across the bus lane I was travelling in, and way too close for me to stop....resulting in my head cut open, separated ac joint in my shoulder, various cuts and bruises, ambulance ride to hospital, police etc.

    First time in over 25 years of commuting, training, racing that I have been knocked off by anything other than another bike..

    The driver admitted to the police in his statement that he just hadnt seen me...police are taking no further action, which at the time they told me, at the hospital, I just accepted cos I had other concerns, but now I am struggling to understand. Surely its driving without due care and attention, if thats the right phrasing, cos if he had been paying due care and attention he would have seen me. Is it possible to pursue that with police, to push them to take further action?

    Anyway, cant wait to get back on the bike tomorrow, not put me off in the slightest, although the missus is insisting I wear a helmet from now on. Fair enough.

    Many factors in them pursuing it, maybe there were no witnesses?

    Anyway you can still claim of his insurance for loads of things, due to injuries, at least £3000 for them. And then bike costs etc.

    Got a witness or two, and his own statement...anyway, am now pursuing personal injury claim via a solicitor...

    Unfortunately, the only damage to the bike was a ripped saddle :( Will get chucked into the claim though, along with all the expenses incurred.
  • SheffSimon wrote:
    I was knocked off last Friday on my way to work, someone pulled out in front of me and stopped across the bus lane I was travelling in, and way too close for me to stop....resulting in my head cut open, separated ac joint in my shoulder, various cuts and bruises, ambulance ride to hospital, police etc.

    First time in over 25 years of commuting, training, racing that I have been knocked off by anything other than another bike..

    The driver admitted to the police in his statement that he just hadnt seen me...police are taking no further action, which at the time they told me, at the hospital, I just accepted cos I had other concerns, but now I am struggling to understand. Surely its driving without due care and attention, if thats the right phrasing, cos if he had been paying due care and attention he would have seen me. Is it possible to pursue that with police, to push them to take further action?

    Anyway, cant wait to get back on the bike tomorrow, not put me off in the slightest, although the missus is insisting I wear a helmet from now on. Fair enough.

    Many factors in them pursuing it, maybe there were no witnesses?

    Anyway you can still claim of his insurance for loads of things, due to injuries, at least £3000 for them. And then bike costs etc.
    Just because he didn't see you, it doesn't follow that he was driving without due care and attention. It could be one of those things, unfortunately. With the number of objects on our roads, some collisions will happen.
    That said, you could push it. Mrs BBGeek was knocked off her bike a few years ago, and the police's initial reaction was not to pursue it. She got righteously angry with the traffic sergeant and demanded they have another look at the case. In the end the driver accepted a driving course rather than a court appearance. It depends whether you think a day in court will make you feel better.
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  • SheffSimon wrote:
    Anyway, cant wait to get back on the bike tomorrow, not put me off in the slightest, although the missus is insisting I wear a helmet from now on. Fair enough.

    Why would you not wear a helmet anyways? As a newbie to cycling I am surprised by how many people I cycle past with no helmets.
  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    SheffSimon wrote:
    Anyway, cant wait to get back on the bike tomorrow, not put me off in the slightest, although the missus is insisting I wear a helmet from now on. Fair enough.

    Why would you not wear a helmet anyways? As a newbie to cycling I am surprised by how many people I cycle past with no helmets.

    Personal choice, dont like them, find they detract from the pleasure of the ride. However, in the interests of domestic harmony I have relented....but please dont turn this thread into a helmet thread.

    Looking back at your earlier post in this thread, I wouldn't be so quick to be pulling over into the gutter to let cars past, cos some will take that as your invite to do so regardless of the room available...
  • I had some bloke pull out on me on the way home last night - he looked straight at me and still pulled out even though I was hacking along - had to stick the bike on it's nose and only just stopped in time. He drove off the other way and I gave him the international sign language for self loving - next thing I know he's turned around and chased me down, pulled along side, screaming obscenities (bear in mind he had his wife / partner and 2 kids in the car!) and tried to run me off the road. I slapped his front wing ( he was that close) and he then accelerated up the road, handbraked into a driveway, got out the car and stood IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD waiting for me !? WTF!?!? I managed to swerve around him but not enough and he landed a punch right in the middle of my back. Lucky really as if he'd have kicked or pushed me over or grabbed an arm I'd have been on the deck.
    I was soooooo angry but stopping was suicide - he was clearly a nutter and him stopping told me all I needed to know - get the hell out of dodge !

    Staggering ?!

    PS - has anyone actually tried to fight someone whilst wearing SPD-SLs ? I can't see them being too stable.
    PPS - I'm 41, haven't had a fight since school and that last comment was clearly a joke ;)
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  • I've gone to being more comfortable on the roads for my commute than the cycle path that pretty much takes me from home to work. Out of control dogs, people with headphones jammed in their ears and the sociopath teenagers from the nearby school are all far more likely to cause an accident than the cars on the road. I try to be assertive (but not aggressive) on the roads and clear in what I'm trying to do, as I get better at that I seem to be having less problems with cars. I think the drivers appreciate it too as it helps remove uncertainty from their perspective too.

    There are a lot of idiot cyclists around though, mainly young people who don't seem to have been taught how to ride on the roads, probably because kids these days seem to be chauffeured around the place. I used to get peed off at them, but now I just think "you're fault if you get killed" and get on with my own life.
  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    SheffSimon wrote:
    I was knocked off last Friday on my way to work, someone pulled out in front of me and stopped across the bus lane I was travelling in, and way too close for me to stop....resulting in my head cut open, separated ac joint in my shoulder, various cuts and bruises, ambulance ride to hospital, police etc.

    First time in over 25 years of commuting, training, racing that I have been knocked off by anything other than another bike..

    The driver admitted to the police in his statement that he just hadnt seen me...police are taking no further action, which at the time they told me, at the hospital, I just accepted cos I had other concerns, but now I am struggling to understand. Surely its driving without due care and attention, if thats the right phrasing, cos if he had been paying due care and attention he would have seen me. Is it possible to pursue that with police, to push them to take further action?

    Anyway, cant wait to get back on the bike tomorrow, not put me off in the slightest, although the missus is insisting I wear a helmet from now on. Fair enough.

    Many factors in them pursuing it, maybe there were no witnesses?

    Anyway you can still claim of his insurance for loads of things, due to injuries, at least £3000 for them. And then bike costs etc.
    Just because he didn't see you, it doesn't follow that he was driving without due care and attention. It could be one of those things, unfortunately. With the number of objects on our roads, some collisions will happen.
    That said, you could push it. Mrs BBGeek was knocked off her bike a few years ago, and the police's initial reaction was not to pursue it. She got righteously angry with the traffic sergeant and demanded they have another look at the case. In the end the driver accepted a driving course rather than a court appearance. It depends whether you think a day in court will make you feel better.

    My reaction to it has been that I cant for one minute imagine it was done with any intent and it was just an accident, one of those things.

    I guess a day in court wouldnt make me feel better, but my other thoughts are that maybe if more drivers were pursued for such accidents, then maybe there would be more of a healthy respect for other road users amongst the small proportion of drivers who dont seem to care.

    Dunno yet...
  • Beatmaker
    Beatmaker Posts: 1,092
    I had an incident riding home last night. I was on a long straight but narrow stretch of road with a car approaching in front as I heard a car coming up behind me. The car behind then overtook me as the oncoming car passed and his wing mirror grazed my arm. It was stupid, there was no room to safely pass and as I often drive down this particular lane, I've had to almost curb the car when a bus comes in the other direction, its that narrow. I decided to have words and gave chase until I caught up with his car at lights, on my approach I could see a child seat in the car and was very wary I didn't want to spook the kid so when I drew level I gave a calm and gentle tap on the window. He just sneered at me and drove off. I gave chase again and caught up with him in town where he parked up. I drew alongside and said in a very calm and polite manner his overtaking manouver earlier had been dangerously close. He said he had loads of room and carried on walking. I suggested it wasn't a very good example to set his kid and that as a cyclist perhaps I had a better perspective in the closeness of the situation, I said I wasn't in the habit of chasing down drivers for no reason and that it might be nice if he offered an apology and promise to be a bit more aware next time. I just got a "I'm not apologising to you, I've got nothing to apologise for" and then I realised he was an idiot, always will be an idiot and there is nothing I could do or say to reason with him.

    It was sad, I've done the angry in the past and got better results than the reasonable approach of last night. There is a long way to go before cyclists and drivers share the roads in harmony. :(
  • iPete wrote:
    I actually find country lanes scarier than the city.

    As another London cyclist I can understand this. Cars coming past at 60 on country A roads scare the hell out of me too (so much less time between hearing them and them coming by).

    I really do wish I could spend 5 minutes with everyone I see undertaking moving traffic at junctions explaining how 90% of London cycle deaths would be avoided if people stopped doing it. Cycling defensively does not mean cycling slowly and short of SMIDSY moments should mean you can avoid just about any accidents.

    Hope the guys who have had accidents recently recover well, you seem to have met some proper loonies between you.
  • SheffSimon wrote:
    SheffSimon wrote:
    ...quote]...
    Just because he didn't see you, it doesn't follow that he was driving without due care and attention. It could be one of those things, unfortunately. With the number of objects on our roads, some collisions will happen.

    My reaction to it has been that I cant for one minute imagine it was done with any intent and it was just an accident, one of those things.

    I guess a day in court wouldnt make me feel better, but my other thoughts are that maybe if more drivers were pursued for such accidents, then maybe there would be more of a healthy respect for other road users amongst the small proportion of drivers who dont seem to care.

    Dunno yet...

    I'd have thought that unless there was something big in the line of sight this (failing to see something that's right there) is pretty much the definition of driving without due care and attention.

    Having said that I doubt I'd be looking to take the driver to court. Everyone makes mistakes and since the driver stopped and owned up to it a day in court isn't going to achieve anything unlike the case earlier in the thread with the moron who got out of the car looking for a fight.
  • slowondefy2
    slowondefy2 Posts: 348
    edited September 2012
    Admittedly I do as little cycling in built-up areas as I can... but, I've found that incidents only tend to happen when I've not been assertive enough on the road (usually from letting my concentration slide). British Cycling have a good article about primary and secondary road positioning (Here it is) and I think it's very sensible. Putting yourself a gnats whisker from cycling in the ditch will encourage every driver to disregard you.

    Low sun at this time of year is something to look out for too. If you're having to squint into the sun then the driver behind you will be too...

    I sometimes do an 'accidentally-on-purpose' little wobble when a driver is about to pass, if I think it'll help to concentrate their mind on a safe overtake.

    I don't think 'driver education' should ever be attempted in any way (verbally, international sign-language for self-love or otherwise). It is never successful. Simply try to think how a similar situation might be avoided in the future (regardless of fault, there's always something you can do different/better), then either concentrate on thanking the drivers who do drive considerately or cycle so hard that your mind is cleared, otherwise I find the negatively caused by one idiot can eat you up :-/