Getting Angry...

Only a Ginger
Only a Ginger Posts: 64
edited July 2014 in Commuting chat
Firstly, hello...I've been reading here for a while and decided to join in the fun!

I'm hoping some kind folk can share some tips on how not to get angry when others (motorists) drive stupidly and dangerously on a commute.

Normally, I'm laid back, I'm not an angry or confrontational person in any way at all...but that all changes when I'm on my bike.

I don't want to be angry, I'd like to be able to ignore the close passes, the left hooks etc...the rage just gets me.

It happened today, a car was stopped in a relatively wide lane, I was indicating to move over and a car behind went straight past, inches away...I caught up and had words, I was actually very calm but could feel myself getting angry and annoyed (and I think it's that feeling that scares me most).

So...how do I stop it? I am very close to trying the doctors/real help but want to try and fix myself first!

(May be worth noting that I did get knocked off my bike a couple of years ago by a lorry passing and pulling in too close, took me a year to get back on my bike)
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Comments

  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    For some reason, overtaking vehicles often (not always) give you as much room as you give the obstacle you're passing. If you are timid and pass parked cars with six inches to spare, cars will overtake you with six inches to spare. If you are bold and pass parked cars with six foot to spare, cars will overtake you with six foot to spare.
    Don't try to hide from traffic, YOU ARE TRAFFIC.

    Even if I'm wrong and a vehicle passes you too close, at least you've now got wiggle room to move into.
    Lots of shoulder checks, make eye contact with drivers when shoulder checking, be predictable, stay visible.

    And welcome to the forum.
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  • Initialised
    Initialised Posts: 3,047
    Traffic management.

    Ride defensively and assertively.

    Stay out of the gutter.

    Pass cars and obstacles on the right.

    Make eye contact with emerging drivers.

    Take primary when you're keeping up with traffic, as you approach junctions, chicanes, parked cars, traffic lights.

    If you don't think it's safe for them to pass you don't let them, if they force it you've got room to escape.

    This stops the morons hitting you by making you visible on the road so you'll only get problems from motorists with personality disorders.

    Before you fly off the handle remember, it'll probably escalate because they've got a problem so don't bother letting them project it on to you.
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    For some reason, overtaking vehicles often (not always) give you as much room as you give the obstacle you're passing.

    It's an automated neurological shortcut (System 1, see Thinking Fast and Slow). It takes effort to override system 1 decisions as they tend to feel intuitive. Exploit this by riding well out into the road and you will be much safer.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • vimfuego
    vimfuego Posts: 1,783
    mate, I'm the same. generally very laid back (near horizontal most of the time) but occasionally on the bike the red mist seems to put in appearance - usually when my life's been put in danger by some muppet who thinks a second or two delay on his journey is somehow more important than my safety - and then usually when its the second, third or fourth time in the same journey.... it's hard to take the moral high ground/turn the other cheek/just move on sometimes. BUT after a year or so of commuting in to C London it's become apparent that given the number of potential interactions with other road users on each journey, some form of "conflict" (probably a bad choice of word) is inevitable - not a ride goes by without at least one ped stepping out in front of me without looking, or a vehicle near missing for some reason - even had an ASL blocked by a police car this morning (wasn't in a slow moving queue or anything, just decided that's where he was stopping).

    All you can do is:
    a) accept that this kind of shoot will happen all the time
    b) anticipate it by assuming that every other road user and ped is a moron who's likely to do something stupid that will put you in danger
    c) ride accordingly - see above
    d) be alert / shoulder check a lot and make your signals very obvious
    e) deep breaths
    f) shake your head and laugh - don't get involved in arguments with drivers - you can't win an argument with an ignorant moron anyway & it never helps to diffuse the situation either (plus you'll be obsessing about it for the rest of your journey and therefore probably not as switched on as you could be)
    g) have a chat with your fellow riders at the next RL if you've had a near miss - they'll generally have seen it / sympathise and have a similar anecdote - makes you feel better every time
    h) accept that we all make mistakes & other road users may have a different perception of a given situation to you (even if they are wrong ;-) )
    i) come on this forum and vent/rant - it helps

    It's hard sometimes, but honestly it isn't worth the stress. Chillax dude - let the hate go man etc etc

    Happy riding!
    CS7
    Surrey Hills
    What's a Zwift?
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    vimfuego wrote:
    Chillax dude - let the hate go man etc etc
    Now i'm angry.


    :wink:
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  • kurako
    kurako Posts: 1,098
    edited July 2014
    Everything vimfuego said....

    Smile, relax, be calm. If you wanted to be miserable you'd take PT. If you wanted to be angry you'd drive. Just rise above all the petty bull. You don't want to get angry then make a stupid mistake while the adreniline is pumping.

    I'll offer some dissent on the eye contact thing. If a car is coming out of a side road you want to make sure it is stopping. You should look at the wheels. Is the car slowing? Has the driver seen you? If there's traffic the biggest danger is the car next to you being 'nice' and flashing them out. Look out for it. If no traffic move to the middle of the lane so you're more visible.

    @EKE eye contact while shoulder checking really? Do they teach that? That's way too much time looking behind for me. Quick glance is all you need. Move out early for obstructions. If a car is close wait and let it pass.

    In general be prepared to slow down or stop. Someone at some point will do something stupid.
  • vimfuego
    vimfuego Posts: 1,783
    LOL (does that make it worse?) :lol:
    CS7
    Surrey Hills
    What's a Zwift?
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Same here, but I still can't count the number of times, I've shouted and threatened to kill drivers who are passing me too close. Always had visions of me pulling them out of their cars and giving them a good kicking. Since I'm overweight and 5'6" it would not end well for me I'm sure, good job I've never caught one up.

    The close pass I had yesterday morning I was pretty much riding in primary, had had the entire lane to the right to use with good visibility, and he still passed me within inches.
  • notsoblue
    notsoblue Posts: 5,756
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    Lots of shoulder checks, make eye contact with drivers when shoulder checking, be predictable, stay visible.

    All very good advice. It happens so often that I hear a car getting a bit too close, look over the shoulder at the driver, and then they suddenly give me a whole lot more space. Its almost as though they think they can just sneak up on you unnoticed. Mental.
  • Levi_501
    Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
  • navt
    navt Posts: 374
    I'm far too busy thinking how awesome I am to be getting angry. Try it.
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    navt wrote:
    I'm far too busy thinking how awesome I am to be getting angry. Try it.

    OK, I'll try and think about how awesome you are.
  • sketchley
    sketchley Posts: 4,238
    I find the best why to relax after such an incident. Is some well chosen sweary language Aimed at said driver, followed by some power awesome to the pedals to burn off the adrenaline.

    Seriously though I try to be Zen on the bike, but w@nkers keep stopping me. I managed four weeks in row once without getting shouty, then someone tried to kill me by pulling out in front of me then slamming me into the kerb......
    --
    Chris

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • MrSweary
    MrSweary Posts: 1,699
    I hear d-locking a car window has wonderful calming properties...
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  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Try reading "The Chimp Paradox", by Steve Peters of Team GB fame...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    What's wrong with anger? Just make sure you have no blades or firearms with you... if a few fists fly in the air, it's not a big deal is it?
    The other day I resisted pushing an aggressive and insulting motor-biker to the ground and kick him on the helmet only because he was clearly bigger than me and I figured, just like Chuck Wepner Vs Muhammad Ali, he would at some point be back on his feet.

    I think there unjustified stigma on anger... it's human nature... :roll:
    left the forum March 2023
  • memsley89
    memsley89 Posts: 247
    TGOTB wrote:
    Try reading "The Chimp Paradox", by Steve Peters of Team GB fame...

    Any other suggestions? It's £6 on amazon, and I need to £4 more to get free delivery!?
  • rower63
    rower63 Posts: 1,991
    What's wrong with anger? Just make sure you have no blades or firearms with you...
    pretty sure there's a contradiction in terms embedded in that :evil:
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  • StorckSpeed
    StorckSpeed Posts: 291
    Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world - £8 on Amazon.
    My wife's just done a course on Counseling and has been reading this book. She says it's very good. May have to read it myself too.

    I've had a good run of peaceful, joyous commuting, sharing the roads with thoughtful, courteous drivers. That was all destroyed this morning by a SMIDSY. It's a good thing I was travelling slowly up hill and my brakes are good cause I was inches from his front wing, then got the hands-up SMIDSY look before he carried on. I lost it, if I had caught him at the lights up ahead there would have been a scene that I would have regretted.
    I'm going to have to read this book.......
    There's warp speed - then there's Storck Speed
  • rower63
    rower63 Posts: 1,991
    ... ... .......
    Good God man you've stolen my name! I'm Storck Guy. And I'm not even off topic, because I'm VERY ANGRY.

    :wink::wink:

    edit. btw are you the guy I met the other day who admitted to owning 4 Storcks?
    Dolan Titanium ADX 2016
    Ridley Noah FAST 2013
    Bottecchia/Campagnolo 1990
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    Hoy Sa Calobra 002 2014 [off duty]
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  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Don't get angry, get even :twisted:


    Only joking, i'm fecking zen, me.
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  • StorckSpeed
    StorckSpeed Posts: 291
    rower63 wrote:

    edit. btw are you the guy I met the other day who admitted to owning 4 Storcks?

    Off topic, but no..... sadly I only have 1 Storck....
    any more is just Willie Wagging..... :D You can only ride 1 bike at a time and I can only fit 1 bike in the back of my Aston Martin...... :D
    There's warp speed - then there's Storck Speed
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    rower63 wrote:

    edit. btw are you the guy I met the other day who admitted to owning 4 Storcks?

    Off topic, but no..... sadly I only have 1 Storck....
    any more is just Willie Wagging..... :D You can only ride 1 bike at a time and I can only fit 1 bike in the back of my Aston Martin...... :D
    You only have one car? :shock:
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Headhuunter
    Headhuunter Posts: 6,494
    Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world - £8 on Amazon.
    My wife's just done a course on Counseling and has been reading this book. She says it's very good. May have to read it myself too.

    I've had a good run of peaceful, joyous commuting, sharing the roads with thoughtful, courteous drivers. That was all destroyed this morning by a SMIDSY. It's a good thing I was travelling slowly up hill and my brakes are good cause I was inches from his front wing, then got the hands-up SMIDSY look before he carried on. I lost it, if I had caught him at the lights up ahead there would have been a scene that I would have regretted.
    I'm going to have to read this book.......
    Mindfulness! It seems to be the pschologist/therapist buzzword of the moment. That and CBT....

    I'm the same though. I get very angry when people do stupid things around me on the bike. A couple of years ago a guy pulled out in front of me, he was going the wrong way up a 1 way street. I swerved round his van and ended up in front of it from which point he proceeded to drive close behind me with his horn blaring and eventually hit my back wheel, knocked me off and drove over the back end of my bike and his front wheel ended up on my leg, jamming it between his front tyre and my bike. He had to reverse off me so that I could get up.

    Miraculously there was no major damage to my leg apart from a dent, which I have to this day where his van pressed my leg onto the bike frame... I was furious and got out and slammed my fist on his bonnet and tried to get into his van... I've never known myself like it. He didn't get out and drove off! Luckily some passing peds had taken photos of the van and gave me their numbers as witnesses. He got taken to court and had points put on his license.

    In court apparently he was asked why he drove off without stopping and apparently he replied that he thought I would've literally murdered him if he'd got out of the van! I can't imagine anyone thinking that about me... I've never been in a fight or violent situation in my life and if I came across one I'd probably apologise and run... It's weird how you can change when something flicks your switch....
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  • fatsmoker
    fatsmoker Posts: 585
    Levi_501 wrote:
    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
    Yoda has spoken the truth, but with the grammar tidied up.
  • Some great responses folks, thanks.

    Especially vimfuego & Kurako - I'm going to continuously remember the public transport and driving advice, I'd never thought of it like that.

    Unfortunately, I'm in Nottingham, on the outskirts and it's rare I see a cyclist going the same direction...although probably a good job as I always try harder when there's 'competition'.

    I'm also quite relieved to know it's not just me...I genuinely thought there was something really wrong with me because of it, but I think it is just a natural response and people deal with things differently.

    I'm looking forward to getting involved in more conversations on here!
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    Kurako wrote:
    Everything vimfuego said....

    Smile, relax, be calm. If you wanted to be miserable you'd take PT. If you wanted to be angry you'd drive. Just rise above all the petty bull. You don't want to get angry then make a stupid mistake while the adreniline is pumping.

    I'll offer some dissent on the eye contact thing. If a car is coming out of a side road you want to make sure it is stopping. You should look at the wheels. Is the car slowing? Has the driver seen you? If there's traffic the biggest danger is the car next to you being 'nice' and flashing them out. Look out for it. If no traffic move to the middle of the lane so you're more visible.

    @EKE eye contact while shoulder checking really? Do they teach that? That's way too much time looking behind for me. Quick glance is all you need. Move out early for obstructions. If a car is close wait and let it pass.

    In general be prepared to slow down or stop. Someone at some point will do something stupid.
    Its not a self driving car (yet). There is a driver behind the wheel, so look at them. A quick glance in the general direction of the vehicle behind you doesn't tell you if the driver has seen you and doesn't tell the driver that you have actually seen them. Eye contact is two way communication.
    I understand looking at the wheels, but that only tells you if the vehicle is still moving, not if the driver has seen you.

    When passing side roads I teach kids to give drivers a dirty look.
    Three anecdotes:
    1: This morning I was passing a minor road on my left and a driver was approaching, looking to to turn left into the small gap in front of me. I made eye contact (with the aforementiontioned dirty look) and the driver slammed on the brakes once they realised I had no intention of stopping.
    2: Last year I was teaching a group of 9 & 10 year old and told them about the power of a dirty look. They laughed but when they were practising one of the group, a TINY nine year old girl who wouldn't say boo to a goose, had WVM (complete with McDonalds wrappers and copy of The Sun stuffed between the dashboard and the windscreen) about to pull out in front of her. She gave him the dirtiest look she could muster and he slammed on the brakes.
    3: Earlier this year a group of trainees were practicing on a busy, but residential, road. One driver seemed to think that reaching his destination a few seconds quicker was more important than the safety of a small child and revved his engine as a prelude to a dodgy/dangerous overtake. My trainee heard the engine rev and shoulder checked, giving the driver a great dirty look. Again, the driver became all sweetness and light.

    The trainees in the above anecdotes both recieved my highest form of praise for trainees, a high five.

    I think there may be times where watching the wheels for movement may be better, but generally eye contact is the way to go. If the phrase 'dirty look' doesn't sit right with you, replace it with 'good, hard stare'.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
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    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • I don't want to be angry

    To be fair if I was a Ginger I'd be pretty angry too :wink:

    More seriously, I very rarely have the sort of experience you describe these days. We could theorise
    - Maybe the environment I ride in is very different
    - Maybe my Testosterone levels have dropped as I have got older
    - Maybe with experience I have got better at spotting and avoiding potential conflict before it happens
    - Maybe I have learnt to ride in a more assertive way

    My guess is it is probably a bit of all of the above. I do find that I get a bit more stressed if I put additional pressure on myself, knowing that I have to be somewhere at a particular time and needing to rush to make it. When time isn't an issue I tend to pootle more and never seem to have any incidents. Could it help to give yourself more time to make your commute?

    Oh yeah, and welcome...
    Nobody told me we had a communication problem
  • gingaman
    gingaman Posts: 576
    To be fair if I was a Ginger I'd be pretty angry too :wink:

    :shock:
    Watch it you!
  • Kieran_Burns
    Kieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    Some great responses folks, thanks.

    Especially vimfuego & Kurako - I'm going to continuously remember the public transport and driving advice, I'd never thought of it like that.

    Unfortunately, I'm in Nottingham, on the outskirts and it's rare I see a cyclist going the same direction...although probably a good job as I always try harder when there's 'competition'.

    I'm also quite relieved to know it's not just me...I genuinely thought there was something really wrong with me because of it, but I think it is just a natural response and people deal with things differently.

    I'm looking forward to getting involved in more conversations on here!

    My neck of the woods if you're in the South of the city... I am Mr Zen when it comes to cycling. The worst I generally do is shake my head. (there have been a couple of exceptions)
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
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  • rjsterry
    rjsterry Posts: 28,453
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    ...


    I think there may be times where watching the wheels for movement may be better, but generally eye contact is the way to go. If the phrase 'dirty look' doesn't sit right with you, replace it with 'good, hard stare'.

    Some can appear to be making eye contact, but may in fact be looking straight through you: use it but don't put all your trust in it. Also some - if I had to pick a stereotype, I'd say male, early twenties, Vauxhall or VW hatchback - take any kind of stare as a challenge and react aggressively. I've given "the dirty look" and mouthed the word "wait" to a chap who was desperate to pull out in front of me on a roundabout. He took the same exit as me, then pulled alongside and tried to barge me into the kerb. There's really not much you can do with w***ers like that other than let them storm off and continue on your way. I did put in a fairly good sprint effort after that incident though, which helped put everything right.
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