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How do you deal with harassment?

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Rina

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May 14 2011 at 12:38am #

I am a novice cyclist in Pittsburgh, and I feel like I can hardly ride down the street without getting hassled by motorists (and even pedestrians). Motorists leaning on their horns, shouting “Get the **** off the road,” “Get on the sidewalk,” “This isn’t a bike trail,” etc. I’m female and sometimes get catcalls and sexual comments, too.

I find this very upsetting, and frankly, it makes me not want to ride my bike. I know that isn’t the right solution, and hopefully harassment will decrease as cycling becomes more common and is normalized as an acceptable form of transportation and motorists grow accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists.

But in the meantime, harassment seems to be a fact of life. How in the world do more experienced cyclists handle this? I’ve resorted to flipping the bird once or twice, but that seems like a good way to escalate an already hostile situation, and I’m not sure it’s good cyclist PR.

Do you mostly ignore it and let it roll off your back and accept that cycling does not make you inconspicuous, you can’t please everyone, and there will always be some people who are just plain jerks?


Nick D

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May 14 2011 at 12:50am #

You will never make everyone happy. The best you can do it try to make sure you are confident in what you do and seek happiness only for yourself.

As far as harassment goes, try your best just to ignore it–at least until it becomes violent. Also, never hesitate to call the police if you feel you are in danger or are threatened.

I definitely agree with you as far as the middle finger goes. Try to keep it down and throw them a smile instead.

One great thing you can do to increase all of our safety is to talk to all of your friends and family about the rights that all road users share. You will be surprised to see how many people misunderstand the rules of the road as they apply to people on bikes.


orionz06

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May 14 2011 at 1:17am #

I ignore them and have multiple ways out all the time in case someone tries to do something stupid. If you are that nervous about it perhaps some form of self defense training that not only goes over what to do but signs of aggression, etc would be a good idea as well.


edmonds59

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May 14 2011 at 1:51am #

It seems to happen to everyone who throws a leg over a bike, and if you ask 300 people how they deal with it, you’ll get 300 different answers. Everybody has to figure out their own way.

Start with being secure in the fact that you have as much right to the road as anyone, and jerks like those are trying to infringe on your right to be there.

90% of the time I tend to get pissed off, don’t respond in any way to give them satisfaction, then drive the anger into the pedals. I take their negative energy and hammer it into forward motion, and that is very satisfying.

I see no reason to take the “smile and wave” approach with a**holes, that works for some people, I can’t do it.

I will occasionally throw the bird, although that can have repercussions and should be used with caution.

If some ass is being particularly adamant about saying get off the road, or something similar, my latest tactic is simply to shout at the top of my lungs, “NO!!” That’s all. I’m not going to get into a rolling debate with a dick, but that’s the bottom line.

Don’t let the jerks get you down. Go on a group ride, like Flock! The happy energy stays with you and quickly obliterates tons of the negative stuff.


HiddenVariable

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May 14 2011 at 2:42am #

i wonder, where do you do most of your riding? i’ve been riding in the city for years and years, and i don’t think i ever experienced the level of harassment you describe. i’m not female, so i’m sure that’s part of it, but i want to know what areas i should avoid!

my method has been mostly to ignore. i occasionally laugh and do the tip o’ the cap salute, but what harassment i get generally doesn’t bother me.

i would also echo the idea that the more confidently you ride, the less likely you are to be the brunt of someone’s misplaced anger. the angriest i see people get on the road is when they’re faced with evidence that something dumb they did could’ve seriously hurt someone. better to frustrate them by slowing them down than to make them nervous and put them on edge.

i can’t say you get used to it, because you don’t. but how you feel about it is up to you. try to let it roll off your back, and remember how much you enjoy riding a bike, and how happy you are not to be in their place.


Lyle

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May 14 2011 at 3:36am #

Today, riding the tandem in the rain, a young lady leaned way out of her driver’s window and screamed across a lane of traffic “I LOVE YOUR BIKE! IT LOOKS FREAKING AWWWWWWSSSSUM!!” Better than the usual “HEY, YOU LOST SOMEBODY” or the prize-winning “YOUR BIKE HAS TWO SEATS BUT ONLY ONE RIDER!” from a teen in Squirrel Hill who might not be an honors student.

So, y’know, sometimes there’s bad harassment, and every once in a while the positive comments make up for it. I also enjoy the occasional catcall, but I suppose if it happened more than once a year I might tire of it.

Oh, and ditto this: i would also echo the idea that the more confidently you ride, the less likely you are to be the brunt of someone’s misplaced anger.

Humans are pack animals. Act like the runt and they’ll attack you. Act like the top dog and they’ll follow you. Well, more or less — I can’t entirely guarantee it.


Nick D

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May 14 2011 at 3:43am #

If you ever want a positive bike experience, Jane will probably let you ride her tall bike. I don’t think I ever had anything but positive comments riding that thing.


Rina

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May 14 2011 at 3:49am #

Thanks for the advice, all. Keep it coming!

HiddenVariable, I’m mostly in the East End. The harassment seems to be partly a function of which neighborhood I’m in and even down to the time of day and the specific road (is there enough room for easy passing? Is it rush hour and people are on edge?), but that’s not the whole story. I think it mostly has to do with happening to cross paths with a jerk.

I try to ride visibly and predictably and signal turns and don’t run red lights or filter at lights, and I stop at stop signs if anyone’s around–but all that just seems to piss people off! They’d rather have cyclists on the sidewalk or in the gutter or the door zone, and they hate feeling like their travel is being impeded for even a few seconds. I’d rather be visible and pissing people off than invisible and innocuous and dead, but it’s hard getting hostile reactions from complete strangers.

Squirrel Hill is the neighborhood where people are nicest, I find. Downtown is also not bad. Drivers in Oakland are insane and actively hostile–rolling down windows and jeering at stoplights!

Entertainingly, the angriest driver I’ve ever encountered was going down Neville Street/Boundary Street in Oakland (if you don’t know the area, it’s right by a bike trail, so there are always tons of bikers on this particular road, and it’s plastered with “SHARE THE ROAD” and “WATCH FOR CYCLISTS” signs). The road is pretty narrow and winding, and I was going downhill at a good clip; a guy who was driving behind me couldn’t or wouldn’t pass me, and I didn’t feel like I could safely bail, and he leaned on his horn for what seemed like an eternity until he could finally pass and went down the road with horn still blaring. Good times.


HiddenVariable

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May 14 2011 at 4:13am #

well that sucks. i hope it gets better for you. i have noticed a difference in driver kindness the longer i’ve ridden. whether that’s from the increase in riders forcing people to rethink whether we belong, or from some change in my habits, or from some change in my perception, i don’t know.

incidentally, i pretty much never ride within two feet of the curb. i do occasionally filter forward, but only when traffic is so backed up that it offers me a tangible advantage, or when i can do it in a way that won’t impede anyone much (e.g. the person at the front is turning left across backed up traffic).

i have the occasional encounters with jerks. i’ve been passed while i was going 35 in a 25, but no honk was emitted. most honks seem to be friendly, actually, a practice i will never understand. man, i hate the “hey i’m here!” honk!

i think the last time i actually angered someone visibly was a few weeks back on spahr street, a narrow two-way avenue with parking on both sides. for the block of it i was on, i took up the whole road because there just wasn’t any room to pass. i was going at a reasonable clip, but some people just hate to be behind anyone they think they by all rights should be able to pass, and this was one of those guys. he came up in the opposite lane at the stop sign, where the road widened, and looked like he was yelling at me, but his windows were up and he was on the phone, so how am i to know? i think i just threw my arms up in an exasperated “what?”


gimpPAC

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May 14 2011 at 4:14am #

Yeah I’m female and live in the East End myself…on a daily basis I usually only get one perceived angry driver who passes me quickly to the next red light 30 feet ahead. And that’s just perceived…mostly people pass me with plenty of clearance.

I did recently get robbed, but even there, I still don’t feel I get too harassed normally. I usually do let it roll off. I do the smile and wave thing that Nick suggested. At least I come off as the better person.

PS: Boundary street is pretty scary sometimes. There’s no striping and since that’s a “car shortcut” people are pissed that you are there to slow them down. People fly on that road.


Steven

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May 14 2011 at 5:05am #

Several of my bad experiences were on roads that weren’t ideal for cycling. Example bad roads: Washington Blvd, Fifth Avenue through Shadyside. Switching to alternative routes when possible seemed to help. The Bike-Pgh map was good for this. Of course that only reduced, not eliminated, the problem.

When I first started riding, it bothered me a lot, but I’ve gotten acclimated to it some.


Rina

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May 14 2011 at 5:33am #

Steven, I’ve never been on Washington Blvd, but Fifth Avenue in Shadyside bothers me not a whit: I just plonk myself down in the dead center of the right-hand lane, and people see me and go around me. This doesn’t seem to make motorists overly angry; in my extremely limited experience, people are much more tolerant if I take the entire rightmost lane on a multilane road than if they perceive me to be riding too far toward the center of a road that’s only one lane in each direction, because they feel they can’t pass. I get a lot more angry motorists on Centre Avenue right by the hospital than I do on Fifth.

I did witness something scary the other day on Fifth in Shadyside, though. I was in the center of the right-hand lane, and there was another cyclist a little way ahead of me, riding as far to the right as he possibly could. A motorist comes up behind me, sees me, and moves into the left-hand lane to pass me. She evidently doesn’t see the other cyclist because he’s too far over. She starts to go back into the right-hand lane RIGHT ON TOP OF THE OTHER CYCLIST, sees him at the last possible second, swerves and fishtails, and almost gets into a wreck with several other passing cars.

This helped cement my opinion that I will never ride in the gutter if I can possibly help it!


Pseudacris

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May 14 2011 at 12:38pm #

I’m another female who rides around the East End a lot. It definitely has gotten better over the years with more cyclists on the roads.

I agree with some of the other commenters here: ride predictably, with confidence & try to let the insults roll off your back. You’re probably having a lot more fun on your bike than they are in their car, and paying less for parking :-)

If you keep getting bothered on the same routes (but by different drivers), try altering your route or the way you ride on that route and see if that helps.

Ride with other cyclists from time to time on group rides: I’ve found it to be confidence-building to share the road with other cyclists, learning some new routes & traffic-riding techniques.

The cat calls are probably trying to get a different kind of response – best to just pretend you didn’t hear them at all.

Don’t ever get within arm’s reach of a driver who is trying to tell you something or pull you over, whether or not you think they are trying to be helpful.

It can be helpful to have a very clever/funny/crude expletive or retort that you scream in your head, but not out loud.

Meanwhile, put your game face on and keep on riding!


rsprake

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May 14 2011 at 1:04pm #

If you keep getting bothered on the same routes (but by different drivers), try altering your route or the way you ride on that route and see if that helps.

That’s my advice too. Knock on wood, but I haven’t been harassed in months.


stefb

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May 14 2011 at 1:27pm #

I also live in the east end and i have figured out a route to and from work with the least amount of traffic and least amount of encounters with motorists. I haven’t been yelled at or had anyone gun around me recently when I have been alone. When i do get drivers who gun around me unnecessarily, they usually get caught at the red light. I like to pull up within an inch of their back bumper and shine my brightass light in their rearview mirror. It lets them know that they didn’t have to be in such a big hurry like that.

On group rides, we get the “lance!” “fags!” and now the entertaining “passing on the left!”, which i am pretty sure is from Portlandia. I will yell back “Dale ernhart!” or “show me your tits!” even if it is a guy. The latter I don’t say much anymore, because even though I am joking, people may not take it that way.

If i am by myself and I get yelled at, I ignore it. Not worth the energy. I also do what Steven does and I take the entire right lane when there is a left lane for people to pass me in. It works the best on Penn going through the strip. I also take over the center of the lane going through an intersection if it is safe for me to do so in an area where there are a lot of people making right on reds onto my lane and if there are cars parked at the curb all the way to the intersection. It can be hard for people to see you through the parked cars.


Lyle

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May 14 2011 at 3:01pm #

Huh. I like the image of shouting “show me your tits” at drunk meatheads on E Carson.

And yeah, ditto taking the center of the lane going through intersections. If you can’t see the drivers’ eyes, they can’t see you. I don’t really go through that kind of selective “if, and if, and if” decision process though. It’s easier just to make it a habit – get out where I can see everything. Sometimes you have to signal and merge to make that possible.


StuInMcCandless

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May 14 2011 at 3:08pm #

It’s good to see the women checking in on this thread. Not much I’d add to the above. My take is that gender has something to do with it, but not that much. Like a bull seeing a red flag, idiot drivers see and react to the bicycle before doing a gender identification, i.e., figuring out you’re female may direct what they say, but only after they’d decided to say anything at all.

(Kinda hoping ejwme, saltm513, bikeygirl, skipdip and a few other women riders chime in here. I think highly of their opinions.)

+1 on group rides! Especially themed ones!


Lyle

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May 14 2011 at 3:38pm #

My BFF told me yesterday that she had experienced exactly one instance of someone cutting her off, squealing to a stop, getting out of the car and advancing toward her.

And in that case, once he realized she was female, he sputtered to a stop and left. So the gender thing probably cuts both ways.

Which reminds me of the time I got catcalled by a couple of guys in a pickup truck, while I was stretching in my front yard prior to a run. When I straightened up and turned around, they rolled up their windows real fast (and, I assume, swore each other to secrecy).


Ross

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May 14 2011 at 7:36pm #

Bike Snob made a comment once that defused a lot of this for me. Paraphrasing — if they’re making obnoxious comments to you, well at least they see you.

Since I find that being invisible to drivers is the most dangerous part of what we do out there, I’ve found comfort in the fact that the total dick who is yelling for me to get off the road at least knows I am there. There’s something to be said for that, silver linings and all.


caitlin

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May 14 2011 at 10:11pm #

I personally follow these exact rules:


caitlin

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May 14 2011 at 10:18pm #

that said, i am also a female in the east end. i cant avoid some routes… negley is the only way out of my neighborhood, and i find that if i am harassed or gunned around by vehicles, it is here. last night i rode with another lady cyclist and we were harassed from a porch by a large group of women and men and told to “GET A JITNEY” which to me, was way too funny.

If i hear something vaguely sexual i ignore it… sadly they really want a reaction when you hear that i think.

i think that since you are novice that it will seem really harsh right now…. but give it some time and your skin will be thicker and you can just ignore it all, and concede that you are having WAY more fun than everyone driving, and that you probably feel great biking through the city like a female bike warrior.

I admit that I am lucky to usually have a cyclist or two to ride with , who are also women. If you ever want to ride with us or hang out so you have some other lady riders to cycle with, please feel free to pm me!


Marko82

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May 14 2011 at 10:50pm #

I will steal a line from Mick since he hasnt chimed in yet. Dont flip the bird or cuss, yell DRUNK! or F`n drunk! usually people stop their rant and drive off in a quiet way, since most of these drivers would rather not take a breathilizer test. it usually attracts attention from pedestrians too, and someone may notice the plate # moreso that just cussing will.


orionz06

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May 15 2011 at 1:45am #

“Hello Good Sir” works from time to time, as does blowing kisses at them.


Erica

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May 15 2011 at 1:51am #


rachel_ding

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May 15 2011 at 6:12pm #

I’m a lady and I’ve been riding my bike for 5+ years just about every day.

I have found that over the past 2 years the harassment has gotten wayyyyy less.

I think a big part of this is that people are getting more used to bikes because there are so many more of us than there were 4 or 5 years ago. Also, my skin is a lot thicker now than it was then.

But like others have mentioned, a few years ago I began finding alternate, chiller routes instead of riding on busy roads and that helps A LOT. I had been riding on some high-stress roads that you mentioned, Rina – Centre, 5th, etc. I rode on them because I was less experienced and these were the most obvious roads to take. I don’t go near these roads anymore… I just take calmer roads to get where I am going, and I still get there just as fast usually. It makes a realllllly big difference and I feel much safer/happier.

So… how to deal with it?

- you’ll get thicker skin over time.

- take chiller, less-stressful routes.

- laugh it off or wave when it comes to verbal harassment. Those people don’t matter.

Of course, being put into real physical danger is different and more scary than someone shouting at you… there isn’t just one good way to deal with situations like these, but being alert and knowing who/what is around you helps. Also, thinking in advance about what you would do if someone did X thing to you helps!

Note: Sexual street harassment against women/LGBTQ folks who are on bikes, walking, on the bus, etc. is a whole other animal and if the conversation ends up heading in that direction, I have some ways to deal with that too!


helen s

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May 15 2011 at 10:02pm #

I did have a driver downtown threaten me 2 weeks ago after I quietly told him there was a law that required 3 feet for passing. I unfortunately participated in the escalation, which I regret, but at least I did get to suggest he enjoy his anger management class that day as my parting comment. I attemped to get a plate number, but was infront of him trying to get away.

I always try to remember that as much as I do not want ot get hit, they do not want to hit me either as the consequences go both ways, assuming they are seen and caught.


sprite

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May 15 2011 at 11:24pm #

I don’t get much harassment, maybe due to quiet routes or maybe to an unexpected looking bike already forcing them to think? One classic if uncreative “get off the road” and one (between jail trail and panther hollow trail so it was extra “um, duh? What am I on my way to/from?”) a passive-aggressive “you know there are bike trails!”

Friends know I bike; the more chance of everyone having a FOAF who bikes, the more chance they don’t yell things they wouldn’t yell at someone they consider “people” or let others yell it. So spread the word that bikers are just folks.


HiddenVariable

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May 16 2011 at 3:09pm #

Fifth Avenue in Shadyside bothers me not a whit: I just plonk myself down in the dead center of the right-hand lane, and people see me and go around me. This doesn’t seem to make motorists overly angry; in my extremely limited experience, people are much more tolerant if I take the entire rightmost lane on a multilane road than if they perceive me to be riding too far toward the center of a road that’s only one lane in each direction, because they feel they can’t pass.

this has also been my experience. i often avoid fifth because the speed and volume of automobile traffic make it more stressful than the parallel side streets, but sometimes i just don’t feel like putting up with all those damned stop signs.

…or “show me your tits!” even if it is a guy. The latter I don’t say much anymore, because even though I am joking, people may not take it that way.

do you have a story?


Mick

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May 16 2011 at 4:11pm #

@ marko Thatnkls for the shout out!

I try never to swear at people on the road.

Doesn’t accomplish anything and it will convince some people (either perps or witnesses) that you are wrong.

Never calms and could escalate.

I usually call “Drunkard!” when there is too fast, dangerous driving, but I guess it works with harrassment, too. In general, it is a good curse word substitute.

Yesterday, I was walking on Dawson street and a guy was blasting through. I yelled “Hey DRUNKARD! SLOW DOWN!” He slowed down so fast I thought he was going to stop and harass me, but no. I’m guessing he was over the legal limit and I reminded him of how much trouble he could be in.

It is intensely gratifying to see a positive change in someone’s driving behavior.

The “Drunkard” shout will rarely do that, but sometimes it will. “F**k YOU, jerK!” never will.

Usually with harassment, I just wave. If they impugn my sexual orientation, I blow them a kiss. If traffic is slow enough for a dialog, I ask, “What is it about gay men that fascinates you?”


salty

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May 16 2011 at 4:18pm #

I remember Stef, Noah, and I having an “afterschool special” moment about why it’s wrong to yell “show me your tits” to drunk dudes on Carson…


ejwme

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May 16 2011 at 6:32pm #

I typically ride on roads that most drivers, if they don’t live there, don’t know about. The ONE up side to living/biking/working in the suburbs. I’d say the general density of harrassment is higher in the city, but by far the psychologically most detremental encounters have been in the suburbs. Not sure why, maybe it’s just my perception (in the city it’s mandatory that I ignore most sensory input, in the suburbs there’s less to pay attention to so more gets in?), or maybe it’s the concept that these jagoffs are my neighbors and councilmembers, and these streets are where I walk my dog. I don’t know. It’s definitely where the lengthier, higher speed, and more harrowing encounters happen. But I’d say 99.9% of the drivers pass me and we all move on with our lives. Sometimes I get a happy toot or a wave.

In the city, it’s worse – in terms of frequency. In the suburbs, there’s a shoulder or two lanes or just so little traffic that passing me is relatively easy. In the city, no space. Luckily, drivers in the city don’t usually imagine their driving experience will be devoid of cyclists, red lights, and speed limits (like the suburbs). Those that do are typically pissed off at everything (since there’s lots of cyclists & redlights) so it’s easy to not take their impotent rage personally. There’s enough other things that need my attention such that, unless the threat is immediate, it’s not on my mind.

I typically don’t respond at all, maybe a “why hello there, what what!” wave (half greeting, half ‘woops’). Sometimes someone tries to engage me in a discussion, I try to be polite – if they’re interested instead in “teaching” me some kind of “lesson”, I satisfy their perception that I’m clearly one of those “self centered idiots” and ignore them, since no good will come of it. 10 seconds at a red light isn’t a teachable moment, at least not for me.

Cat calls? Man, I kinda wish I got those (like ever – even as a teenager jogging I never got them). Closest I ever got on a bike has been a “WOOO-OOOO YOU GO GIRL!!!” at a stop sign by a fantastic lady who let me turn (in the suburbs, on Northern Pike). Perhaps I have the “leave me alone or I’ll cut you” expression on my face, hills don’t bring out my best. And I wear down right scrubby grungy clothes, I couldn’t really look worse. Not blaming the victim, just trying to explain the absence to my ego.

I’ll third (fourth?) the recommendation to ride with the Flock… Besides being FANTASTIC for morale (seriously, everything is better after a good Flock :D), maybe there’s some tips and tricks you can absorb from the group, or glean from watching.

Oh, sometimes I imagine that really rude drivers just lost their family and house in a freak gas explosion, or their parents were actually vicious ogres who only fed them cream of wheat, or their job is junior elephant poop scooper at the zoo, and that’s why they’re less than polite. Then they’re really easy to forgive. Kind of silly, and doesn’t always work, but sometimes does. I know I’ve had less than stellar moments I’d like to take back, and I’d like to imagine I’m still a decent person. It feels better than judging an entire human’s life by one freak road encounter.

And no matter what, counting drivers who pass with enough room and don’t give me grief ALWAYS boosts my mood. The number just gets too high and really puts the bad encounters in perspective.


ejwme

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May 16 2011 at 6:33pm #

man, that was the “edited for brevity” version. sorry to be so verbose.


willie p

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May 16 2011 at 7:00pm #

I think the faster paced cyclists tend not to get harassed as well, those that have strong handling skills as they are able to; keep with traffic a little better, able to confidently hold a line through rough pavement or obstacles and look maybe a little more confident such that drivers don’t bother.

I ride quite a (usually 4-5 days per week) on all the major streets (climb McCardle, Saw Mill Run, Butler St, all of the East End, Oakland, Carson St to Homestead, Becks Run, etc). I probably get harassed 1-2 times per year total.

I used to see it much more. However, I am also from Cambria County originally – which is off the charts in terms of bike hostility! (I used to get threatening calls at home from people that knew I was a cyclist).

I will say – when I am in “motorist” mode I do see some cyclists here in Pittsburgh that make me want to roll down the window and say something like “you know I am a 20 year veteran cyclist and then unload on them about how terribly they are riding with respect to how poorly they are handling their bike amongst traffic.

Maybe we should have more events oriented toward safe cycling skills? ..around town.


Jacob McCrea

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May 16 2011 at 7:44pm #

I agree with Wille P that riding faster seems to reduce confrontations. It seems like the faster I ride, the more time drivers have to see me and make plans to go around me 1) safely, and 2) without getting pissed off. It also seems like the more I actually obey the traffic laws, the less I’m bothered (which is very minimal, by the way). I will also pull off and let faster-moving traffic go by, much like larger, slower vehicles use “pull outs” on 2-lane mountain roads, even though I’m aware that I have as much right to the road as anyone. This seems to help to avoid confrontations. Maybe this is all just my impression, rather than reality, but so far it seems to be working well.


Mick

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May 16 2011 at 7:59pm #

@ejwme

1) I’ve generally found teh suburbs to be worse for harassment – both as a cyclist and as a pedestrian.

2) If I were the type to cat call, I would DEFINATELY cat call for you. ;)


Tabby

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May 16 2011 at 8:13pm #

ejwme, I never get cat called in Pittsburgh either. I’ve decided that it’s the decency of the people here to let others go about their business as opposed to the rapid decline of my feminine charms since moving here.

I tried thinking of some advice, and the best I can come up with is try to take less traveled roads/avoid the peak times when feasible. Keep riding predictably and confidently, that seems to keep comments at bay for me.


Pseudacris

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May 17 2011 at 12:25am #

Ug,

I had a bad run in with a PAT driver this afternoon on Fifth Ave. I was shaken & pissed for several hours. The guy was harassing me with his bus. Fortunately I got his route & vehicle # & filed a complaint. Mostly, I don’t have a problem with Pat Buses or drivers. I usually try to stay behind them. This guy needs to get off the road until he is prepared to share the road.

Should I call 911, too? The person who answered the phone at PAT seemed concerned, listened to my whole story & seemed to be taking down the info (said he’d file a complaint). I don’t know if I should follow up somehow.


Lyle

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May 17 2011 at 12:47am #

If you call 911 and say it’s a PAT bus, they automatically forward to the PAT police, who exist to protect PAT assets. So… I doubt it would do any good. What route, and what time?


Pseudacris

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May 17 2011 at 1:05am #

Route 61A inbound, bus #5673, very close to 1pm.

As I was closing in on one of the bus stops close to Carlow U, the guy passed me very fast and very close. Had there been a pothole in front of me, I’d probably be dead or severely injured. I should have just waited behind him, but there was another bus right behind me and a long line of passengers getting on the aggressive bus.

I passed and, of course the light turned red, so I am eye-to-eye with the guy and his open window.

I said Excuse me, but you passed me really dangerously close. That was very scary and I could have easily been injured or killed.

He said he didn’t see me and I pointed out that I was wearing a bright yellow jacket and blinking red lights.

Then he launched into a YOU PEOPLE tirade.

You people break all the rules. You people are impossible to see and weave in and out of traffic. You people run red lights all the time and cut us off. Why the hell don’t you just ride on the ^&*%$ parkway.

Me: that’s illegal. Riding on this street is not.

(there was more back n forth….)

Then I was stuck in the middle lane (my bad) with two buses to the right of me, and it was very hard to get back over to the right lane where I belong. I felt like he was playing games with his speed to block me from moving back over and I didn’t want to cut off the bus behind him (there was not much of a gap).

If he had addressed me as an individual I probably would’ve chalked it up to his bad passing judgement, followed by mine. It was his generic rage towards all cyclists that made me feel compelled to phone in a complaint & that he probably was intentionally harassing me with his close pass and will probably keep trying to teach other cyclists a lesson….


Morningsider

Private Message

May 17 2011 at 2:02am #

I think if I was behind all that, I probably would have blamed any impediment on the massive vehicles blocking the right lane. But that’s just me.

Sorry to hear that you had to endure the wrath of a very small person behind the wheel of a very large vehicle.

One of those guys almost splattered me just past there one morning last week. I almost tried to pass him as he merged onto Fifth but the raised median made me think better of it. When he finally saw me, we both stopped and he tried to wave me on. I think at least in my case, he realized how wrong he was.

As far as your case goes…I work with a guy that doesn’t turn his engine off when he fills his car up with gasoline. Some people just don’t get it.

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