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Driver pulls out on me, doesn't like me tapping his bonnet in protest.

kingdavkingdav Posts: 416
edited March 2018 in Commuting chat
Last night, on the way home from work, I had a driver on the A23 near Croydon pull straight out of a side-road into my path. I braked a little but ended up coming up his inside and carrying more speed overtook. I tapped his bonnet as I went past, to let him know I was there and hadn't magically disappeared.

He hooted, shouted out of the window, gave chase shouting at me through the window that I hit his car. I shouted back that he shouldn't pull out on people so dangerously like that. He overtook again and cut me off into the kerb (now stopped and blocking the a23).

He got out of the car and started telling me I needed to pull over into a side road so he could "talk to me" before "he might do something he regretted", he was complaining that I shouldn't be allowed to touch his car without any comeback. He was quite a young guy, had a baseball cap on and earbuds dangling on wires over his ears. I'm a 6ft, early 40s mamil. I climbed up onto the kerb with the bike now standing on the pavement, and said I wasn't impressed that he'd had a good a good go at killing me (twice now). A pedestrian decided he wanted to intervene holding my handle-bars and asking me "did you hit his car". The shouty driving man kept on trying to usher me off into a side-road, but I wasn't keen to hang about at this stage as the threats continued and being in front of a bus which likely has a camera (I don't) felt safer.

The bus driver being held up with a queue building behind him wasn't impressed though and the man eventually drove into the adjacent side-road still asking me to follow him. The pedestrian guy was now on my side, understanding that the man was more than a bit volatile and that I'd had reason to remonstrate, so he let go of my handle bars and said, "go, go!". I got back onto the road and made my exit. Unfortunately having not planned to stop was in quite a high gear and didn't accelerate very quickly. The driver guy had ditched his car into the side-road and then hopped out and ran after me, he managed to just about grab my arm but my pace was building and I was able to escape. I didn't see him again.

I'm quite shaken by the experience and didn't sleep well last night, running over it in my head - asking myself how should I have handled it better. I really don't think someone should pull such a dangerous stunt and not have some kind of comeback, because if they think there was no harm done they'll repeat it. At the same time, life too short to get into fights. I didn't attack his car with a bike pump or anything, it was two light taps with the flat of the hand. He very much dismissed any kind of discussion on his driving, solely interested in the touch to his precious property. I guess he thought he was as in the right as I did, or at least in the heat of the moment focused on diverting attention of the gathering crowd from anything he might have done.

I sincerely hope he does have a bit of a think about the whole thing and is less likely to pull out on people in future. Even having thought about it a lot, I'm not totally sure what I should or should not have done really. Still not over keen on having a camera, but in this instance, maybe the best thing if I did have one, would have been not to tap his car and let him go, but try and give some footage to the police and encourage them to have a chat with him later.
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  • joenobodyjoenobody Posts: 550
    kingdav wrote:
    I sincerely hope he does have a bit of a think about the whole thing and is less likely to pull out on people in future.
    Highly unlikely I'd imagine. He probably thinks he did nothing wrong, that you tried to damage his "pride and joy", and now hates all cyclists just a little more than before... That's not a dig at you for reacting how you did, but more of a reflection of how tiny this guy's penis probably is :wink:
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,252
    Like all of these things they aren't ever going to end well so it's better just to walk/cycle away without any further comment and let him think he "won". It's happened to me a couple of times on the bike and also on the motorbike* when filtering. I'm 6'4" though and am (according to the recent IIP feedback within our business) "a big, scary bloke" so when I climb off they normally f**k off quite quickly.

    *the motorbike one was quite amusing - a guy in a Focus took a huge swing across the lane to stop me filtering so I gave his window a thump and carried on. I had it all on camera. He rang the police and the first I knew about it was when I got asked to attend the police station as a witness to an incident on the M27. I attended and it turned out that the car behind him was an unmarked police car that had also filmed it. He got a significant fine and a few points for Careless Driving.
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  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 4,039
    joenobody wrote:
    kingdav wrote:
    I sincerely hope he does have a bit of a think about the whole thing and is less likely to pull out on people in future.
    Highly unlikely I'd imagine. He probably thinks he did nothing wrong, that you tried to damage his "pride and joy", and now hates all cyclists just a little more than before... That's not a dig at you for reacting how you did, but more of a reflection of how tiny this guy's penis probably is :wink:
    Yeah, this.

    Maybe you shouldn't have touched his car, but he could have seriously injured you, once through carelessness and once through deliberate action. I'd have been more than a bit miffed too.
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  • The man (a term I use loosely) was clearly unable to think or speak rationally (is his car made of tissue paper?) so you undoubtedly did the right thing.

    It's never nice to just have to stand there and let someone rant/threaten you, but any other course of action by you would've only escalated it.

    I'm like you and tend to obsess about stuff like this, and the only way I've found to get over it is to get back out on the bike and actively try to concentrate on all the good things that happen on a ride, and hopefully the zen will return.
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    Yep, I'm afraid that some people seem to think that touching their car at all, no matter how softly, is akin to spitting on their chips.

    Regardless of how stupid that is, you're not going to change it, or at least not in that instant. Trying to do so in that situation is, frankly, a lost cause.
    Therefore the best advice is standard stuff like avoiding such situations through preternatural spidey-sense wherever possible, and gliding past giving a WTF? hand gesture and shaking your head when it isn't.

    It's unfortunate, and I'm sorry, but being morally correct when you're being punched won't make it hurt any less.

    I think the only change to the attitude which causes the problem will come about when (if) cars are no longer seen as a status symbol. Either they have to get a lot cheaper (unlikely) and aren't worth caring about, or they become things people only rent as-and-when, or society changes so much that car owners become social pariahs like smokers are at the moment in some places.
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  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Yeah, as covered, don't touch their cars unless you are actually prepared to deck them, in which case you might get a nice opportunity when they stop to remonstrate with you.

    Shouting and gesticulating is generally a safer option, either way, be prepared to make a speedy getaway or take a kicking.

    He probably didn't even see you in the first place - selective attention - the first time he knew you existed was when you touched his car.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo
  • kingdavkingdav Posts: 416
    Thanks for all the supportive comments. I think the lesson for me to take away is that turning a near miss into physical contact escalates things and that's not really the direction to take it so I'll find other ways of attracting attention. A guy I know has a loud horn, I'll have a think.

    Great video that TimothyW, I was shown it a few years ago in a work context by Prof. Rhona Flynn who is an academic who focuses on "human performance in high risk industries and organisational safety culture". She studies things like selective attention and how it affects pilots or oil rig staff in safety critical situations. It really is amazing what you can miss.
  • mattsawmattsaw Posts: 907
    I generally have the opinion that is someone is acting like a c0ck, and they are a c0ck, then they're probably not the kind of person who is going to thank-you for telling them they're a c0ck.

    Having said that, it's very easy to be all zen when you're sitting at your desk, and a lot harder when said c0ck has needlessly put you in danger through their own selfishness.

    I wouldn't dwell on it, strike it up to experience and enjoy the thought of you cycling away from him as he stands helplessly in the road raging away.
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  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,962
    timothyw wrote:
    Yeah, as covered, don't touch their cars unless you are actually prepared to deck them, in which case you might get a nice opportunity when they stop to remonstrate with you.

    Shouting and gesticulating is generally a safer option, either way, be prepared to make a speedy getaway or take a kicking.

    He probably didn't even see you in the first place - selective attention - the first time he knew you existed was when you touched his car.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo

    +1, although now, I usually shake my head in a disapproving manner
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Yes I learnt this quite quickly - touching the car escalates things. No matter how much in the wrong the driver is - he is in a tonne plus of metal and he could really hurt you. No point having the moral high ground if you're in bits.

    I'd think about changing my route if poss or get a diferent bike/outfit for the next fortnight just in case you see him again whilst its fresh in his mind.
  • kingdavkingdav Posts: 416
    Working from home today by coincidence and I will use another bike for a few days probably.
  • SewinmanSewinman Posts: 2,131
    People are incredibly precious about touching their cars, about the same level as touching a wife! The other thing is a 'tap' on a car sounds a lot louder inside the car than it does outside and also usually shocks the driver out his quiet little oasis of metal. It is like waking up someone who is sleepwalking.

    I once literally brushed a car with my courier bag and the driver got out and went berserk. It is not an unusual reaction to be honest.
  • Ricky hRicky h Posts: 119
    As others have said, banging on a car never improves the situation no matter how wrong the driver is. I've been there, remind yourself it's usually a choice between a spell of hospital or jail food, neither being very attractive.
    It's hard to maintain your zen but a photo of the car and a report to the police might push the little censored 's insurance premium up (if he even has a policy). Also worth checking the dvla mot database with the registration, there's a surprising correlation between aggressive entitled tossers and not paying their way.
    Try and put it behind you, it was just your turn to encounter an censored and you won't be the only one who's had difficulty trying to reason with the baseball capped yoof of Croydon.
  • warrengwarreng Posts: 535
    I had a very similar experience in Tooting a few years ago and it ended up in a fight. I still think about it now but I bet the caveman I was fighting with didn't give it a second thought so don't dwell on it - it wasn't your fault so forget about it
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,603 Lives Here
    Sounds sh!t mate.

    As a small gobby w*nker, I can both empathise and let you know that this stuff happens fairly often to me.

    Best to do is a) not be gobby, and if that doesn't work b) stop being gobby asap and if that still doesn't work then c) stop running it over in your head. Get back on the bike, and fuggdetaboutit.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    Yep, over time (like 10 years of commuting) I (very) slowly learned that the best option was just to keep my smart comments to myself. I rarely do more than raise an arm in complaint when some maniac tries to murder me these days. It just makes for a quieter life and generally leaves me happier.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 4,039
    I had an incident a year or so back driving. I had a twunt behind me who did a very dangerous overtake as we approached a mini roundabout on a single lane road, there was also traffic coming from the right who he forced to do emergency braking.

    Following the roundabout was a red light, so as i stopped behind him I gave him a slow, ironic hand-clap from inside the car. This seemed to incense him, he got out and started shouting at me whilst banging on my window. I didn't get out, just smiled at him as a) although i'm 6'5", weigh 17 stone and twice his size, i'm a pacifist b) he had a mate with him and c) i was mindful of the story of someone who worked for my firm (i didn't know him) who was beaten to death with a baseball bat in a road-rage incident after someone cut him up and he remonstrated with him. After a while, seeing all the traffic building up behind, he gave up, got back in his flatbed van and drove off.

    As an aside, the murderer had his kids in the back of his car who must have seen the whole thing, which i think also tells you something about his character.
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  • Sadly there are these idiots about, similar to the guy threatening me in Colliers wood for me shaking my head after he cut me up to the guy who work for K9Capers (now KingstonK9s) chasing me around a roundabout benny hill fashion.

    I don't like the idea of it but sadly letting these Morons go seems to be the safest option, that, or hope it's like that nutter near priory lane a few years ago when so many other cyclist turn up you have safety in numbers before someone stuffs his car keys into a drain.
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,603 Lives Here
    I read somewhere cycling was one of the few ways 'middle aged men understand what it feels like to be a women' in that you incur lots of daily trivial infractions and if you kick off about it you risk putting yourself in a worse situation.
  • I've been assaulted for kicking a guy's car after he pulled out on me without looking. The driver clawed at my face and broke my cycling glasses. The fact I could kick his car showed how close it was.

    Policeman got involved and sided with the driver mostly and said we should "agree to disagree" and move on. I didn't know until I got home I was bleeding on my forehead or I would have made a bigger deal of the assault.

    Pretty much every non-cyclist I've told this story says it's my fault for touching his car. :lol:
  • vimfuegovimfuego Posts: 1,783
    yeah bad luck mate.
    As above - just wave your arms at 'em & call them something choice if you have an obvious escape route.

    It's a really difficult one though I think, because if you just turn the other cheek and don't react, then they either have no idea you were there at all (which is frightening) or they did, but thought it was OK as you are only a cyclist (and their risk assessment is different to ours) and through getting no complaint or comeback, it actually reinforces to them that it's OK / next time they pull the same move they'll worry about it even less and some poor sod will end up under/over the car instead. Broken window theory & all that. So, coupled with the immediate anger that some censored has just put your life in danger, it's hard to stay calm all the time.

    Over the years though I've decided I'd rather not pour petrol on the situation - 50% of the time it's people so clueless / focussed on something else that they genuinely had no clue you were there or that they did anything wrong in the first place, so they now think all cyclists are card carrying angry lunatics. The other 50% is ignorant psychos who are justing spoiling for a fight and you're heading for trouble. So now I just wave an arm angrily and carry on.

    Funny though isn't it, it's OK for their car to touch you (in no way dangerous guv ) but so much as brush their piece of sh!t vehicle and it's like you've defiled their daughter and spat in their face.
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  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I've been assaulted for kicking a guy's car after he pulled out on me without looking. The driver clawed at my face and broke my cycling glasses. The fact I could kick his car showed how close it was.

    Policeman got involved and sided with the driver mostly and said we should "agree to disagree" and move on. I didn't know until I got home I was bleeding on my forehead or I would have made a bigger deal of the assault.

    Pretty much every non-cyclist I've told this story says it's my fault for touching his car. :lol:

    So basically - a driver was bad but no harm done until you kicked the car ? You can kind of see why the policeman was on the drivers side. There was no independent proof that the driver had acted dangerously.

    Stuff like this happens just about every ride. If you go around kicking car doors every time then your life expectancy wouldnt be great. Shrug it off.
  • condormancondorman Posts: 811
    As everyone else has said, touching the vehicle is a big no, no and only escalates matters. It's not easy but the I try to stay calm and congratulate myself for having avoided and spotted the potential threat.

    You've no idea who the person in the car is and what they're prepared to do. I was nearly taken out by a car last week on Sydenham Hill as the red mist had descended in a "road rage" incident between two cars. The driver in the front car (complete with child on board sticker) was deliberating preventing the car behind from getting past (presumably what had happened earlier) and he and his passenger were merrily gesticulating to the car behind. Then they got stuck in the queue of traffic and the driver of the car behind got out, opened his boot and produced a metal pole and went to have "words". The driver of a vehicle behind was shouting that "it wasn't worth it" and once words had been exchanged he drove off up Sydenham Hill on the wrong side of the road overtaking all the stationery traffic and narrowly avoiding me further up the hill filtering past the stationery traffic.

    If someone is shouting and tooting their horn at you it's worth just putting up your hand in acknowledgement - to them it means they were right and you admit you were in the wrong for existing but to you it's acknowledgement that they're an idiot and everyone's happy.
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  • fenix wrote:
    So basically - a driver was bad but no harm done until you kicked the car ? You can kind of see why the policeman was on the drivers side. There was no independent proof that the driver had acted dangerously.

    Stuff like this happens just about every ride. If you go around kicking car doors every time then your life expectancy wouldnt be great. Shrug it off.

    No harm was done because I have good reactions and functional brakes. The driver is oblivious to the fact he almost took me out due to either not looking or not giving a **** I was there so I made it known to him I was there. I didn't kick his car to damage it.

    As for the copper, his first question to me before I explained what happened was "Were you cycling on the correct side of the road?". :roll:

    Of course, everyone here is a god damn Vulcan with no emotional response to careless/oblivious motorists. :roll: :lol:

    My solution in the future will be purchasing a camera and uploading videos to the Met!
  • hopkinbhopkinb Posts: 6,041
    I'm big enough and ugly enough that I'll scare off everyone except the utter nutters. I have only ever whacked a vehicle when it has been closing in on me, rather than after the fact. I still bought a front camera though, and am about to buy a rear. Not for closeish passes, I think I've said elsewhere that I have been lucky enough not to even review the footage in anger yet, but at some point, it will be useful, even if just to stop a d1ck being a d1ck because they know they're being recorded.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Good move to leg it.

    I've had two hairy incidents in the last few years: one for slamming the side of a van by Chelsea Bridge, and one, very recently, for gesticulating (and uttering a couple of choice words) at a chap who cut across me.

    Both drivers gave chase. They both completely and utterly lost it. I escaped from the first one, but the second incident ended in a physical confrontation.

    Zen is definitely the better option, but much easier to say that than practice it.
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  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 14,150
    Options.
    1. Zen.
    2. Fight.
    3. Overdo an endo and drag your bike over his bonnet.

    Not necessarily in that order.
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  • .Ian.Ian Posts: 15
    As others said, I doubt he even saw you until you tapped his car.

    I’m another one who reacts but tries not to. Especially when you’re commuting and seing the same cars every day it’s probably safer to not make enemies.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    Of course, everyone here is a god damn Vulcan with no emotional response to careless/oblivious motorists. :roll: :lol:

    I wouldnt say it was like that, its that everyone has learned from bitter experience of going all feisty Klingon, and then instantly regretting it, as you realise you will never convince another person in an incident like that, they did something wrong, people draw their battle lines, and it escalates very quickly out of hand.
  • ryan_w-2ryan_w-2 Posts: 1,162
    Rick, CJ, I got your back. Feel free to kick as many cars as you like around me.

    I have serious anger management problems, but I’m working on it...

    Shouldn’t really ever touch anyone’s car / motorbike.

    By all means call them a cnut and use hand gestures, if they want to go from there, then let them.

    I had a guy on a motorbike nearly knock me off at about 60mph on Grosvenor Road by Vauxhall Bride. I got off at the lights and approached him calling him a few choice names. He censored it and went through a red light. Proper pond scum.
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