An Act of Aggression

Sunday, September 23, 2012
Posted in category Non-Aggression Axiom

One of my fellow cyclists sent this to me, and it is truly an amazing two minutes of insight into the aggressive insanity that is all-too-common in modern society. I find the obnoxious temperament of the driver in the video to be somewhat disturbing.

Cyclists in Colorado are out for a Sunday morning ride on a road with very little traffic. An SUV comes up behind them, and instead of just going around and being on his or her merry way, the person maintains a line behind the cyclists, getting close to them while honking the horn like a savage. The driver refuses to just go around the cyclists, and instead, he or she stays right on their tails, honking viciously, on and off, for several minutes. Not only did the driver endanger the cyclists, but also other vehicles, some of which were passing the SUV while the vehicle wavered all over the road, attempting to aggress against the cyclists.

The cyclists never once acted out in aggression, in response to the driver’s insane act, which was the right behavior at the time. Who knows what this nutjob might have done had one of the cyclists hoisted the ‘friendly finger’ at the driver? This is a quote from one of the cyclists:

This guy obviously doesn’t like seeing bikes for some reason since he sat behind us for more than five minutes blaring his horn. What’s even worse is we saw him approaching from behind and to be polite we ride single file to give him as much road as possible, as we did with every other car we encountered on this road east of Longmont, CO. This guy was so intent of bugging us that he backed up traffic behind him and cars had to pass him on a double yellow line. It seems he was the one obstructing traffic, not us. We ended up slowing up in order to force him to pass us and go on with his day. Insane. Hopefully this is the worste thing this guy does to cyclists.

The reason I post this is because I have endured this type of harassment for years. I’ve had two men pull over and get out of their vehicle to approach me while I was riding. I’ve had things thrown at me. I’ve been called the “B” word and the “C” word, and everything in between. I’ve ridden my race bikes (legally) in the road and have been yelled at to get on the sidewalk. I’ve ridden my recreational bikes on the sidewalk and I’ve been yelled at get the $%@!*&%^ off the sidewalk. I’ve had cars come as close as they can to grazing me. I’ve had cars go through red lights (or ignore my right-of-way) to whip by me, or in front of me, as close as they possibly can. Usually, I note that the physical profile of the aggressor is stereotypical of folks who hate on cyclists because they are not capable of such irrepressible zest. Additionally, I receive almost no harassment whatsoever while riding in the city (Detroit). The suburbs is where all the aggression occurs.

As expected from any sane libertarian, especially a woman who sometimes rides alone, I pack a handgun, and it is always conveniently within reach while riding. If I ride one of my bikes with a rear rack and trunk, I will carry a second, larger pistol (.45) with me. What happened when those two men pulled over in the road and got out of a red pickup and approached me? I jumped off the bike, stuck my hand in my rear trunk and kept it there, and that was enough to send them scurrying back to their vehicle to move onward. Considering the hatred some people have for cyclists, all cyclists should all be armed and prepared to deal with a worst case scenario.

Any libertarian should note that this act, on the part of the driver, is an act of aggression. The act is being committed without provocation, and the driver ramps up the hostility throughout the incident. The SUV is being used as a weapon to intimidate the 180-pound cyclists on their 21-pound bikes. What is wrong with people? Are they so bored, so uninspired by life, and so vicious that they feel compelled to aggress against and threaten peaceful people who are harming no one? Follow-up reports have indicated that the driver has a history of this behavior, and the incident is under investigation. Now only if the cops would spend their time chasing these lunatics as opposed to harnessing big budgets to harass Mom and Pop America.

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10 Responses to An Act of Aggression

  1. BrentP says:

    September 23rd, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    I would love to be armed while I ride, but it would get me sent to prison in the people’s republic of Illinois. I’ve been pulled over on my bicycle a few times.

    I’ve had all the same you mention and more happen to me. Called different names of course. The most common ones referring to a particular sexual orientation. One driver slammed on the brakes to get me to rear end him and then backed into me intentionally when I didn’t. Eventually he plead to reckless driving.

    Also like you say, almost entirely in the richer suburbs of Chicago. In the poorer suburbs I did not experience this. In the city proper I have never had anything severe enough happen to remember. The road design and traffic speeds are why IMO.

    This guy in the video… I would not have gone on the edge of the road. When I’ve done this to honking drivers they have tried (sometimes successfully) to run me off it.

  2. Bob Wallace says:

    September 24th, 2012 at 10:36 am

    My experience with bike riders is that many of them as so deluded they think the laws of man trump of physics. It reminds of me the two people I’ve seen hit by cars (one killed) because they were in a crosswalk paying no attention to anything but their cell phone. “I’m in a cross walk! I’m immune!” “I’m on a bike! I’m immune to cars!”

  3. Eyewitness says:

    September 24th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    So let me tell you about cyclists in Florida.  Nearly all either ignore or are ignorant of the laws applying to them. I can count on one hand, with fingers to spare the number of times I’ve seen a cyclist stop at a stop sign or a red light in the last year.  The driver in this video is clearly an asshole and I’m impressed that the cyclist actually got that far to the right, but it just doesn’t happen here. What does happen is that cyclists ignore the requirement to stay to the right and spread out side by side. Just this week I came behind a group of ten who completely filled the lane with two drifting back and forth over the double yellow line into the opposite traffic lane.  So there are assholes on both sides.

  4. Dave says:

    September 24th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve been cycling for nearly 50 years and have had few incidents, but I have had people throw coke bottles at me from moving vehicles, unconcerned that at 50 MPH such a thing is a lethal weapon should it strike one in the head.

    I recently had a semi truck pass me on the highway not more than two feet away, the draft of which nearly toppled me over. Although the highway is narrow, at the time there was no oncoming traffic and he could have moved into the oncoming lane, which is exactly what the car behind him did. I believe his was an act of unprovoked aggression, for I always exercise courtesy when riding, trying to stay as far to the right as possible.

    Then there are the overzealous cops. When I used to ride with Critical Mass in San Francisco back in the day, the cops would sometimes yank moving cyclists right off their bikes and hurl them to the ground. Yes, police brutality is not solely a modern epidemic.

    Of course, humans aren’t the only threat to cyclists. I’ve had numerous aggressive dogs chase me, one even managing to bite me. I recently bought some pepper spray on account of one aggressive dog that came within a foot of biting me on several occasions. I have since had occasion to give that dog and one other pepper spray therapy, with extremely positive results: neither dog chases me anymore. Don’t think I dislike dogs; on the contrary, I love them, but I do not tolerate aggressive dogs. I may well have prevented the dogs from getting hit by a car anyway, because they used to chase me right onto the highway.

    There are other hazards as well, such as wet steel on the roadway: railroad tracks, sewer grates, manhole covers, and so forth. Boy, have I had my share of mishaps on those!


  5. Tommy Udo says:

    September 24th, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I believe that nobody should be issued a license to operate a car until he or she has spent at least six months with only a bicycle as transportation and an additional six months with only a motorcycle as transportation. Then, by the time they are allowed to get behind the wheel of an automobile, the moronic arrogance will have been scared out of them and they will have gained the experience, wisdom, and physical coordination necessary to occupy the road at the same time as cyclists and motorcyclists without harassing or killing them.

  6. Tommy Udo says:

    September 24th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Starting with you, Bob Wallace.

  7. liberranter says:

    September 25th, 2012 at 9:58 am

    So, Tommy, do you advocate that bike riders be granted “special dispensation” on the road, as a number of states seem to have granted them, “dispensation” that allows them to ignore the rules of the road, as well as the laws of physics and common sense?

  8. M. Terry says:

    September 26th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Wallace – WTF, exactly, does your post have to do with this video? Do you claim to speak for the majority of bicycle riders? I’ve also seen pedestrians do what you are complaining about and I’ve seen a cyclist riding against traffic t-bone a van. Yeah – there are assholes on both sides, anon.

    Lots of assholes in cars don’t like cyclists of any sort. I don’t like cyclists riding the wrong way on a bike lane or violating traffic laws either. Most cyclists I personally know obey traffic laws, except, perhaps, riding over 25 in a residential zone – on occasion.

    Many auto drivers I see obliterate speed limits and drive like assholes too. Many car pilots also apparently don’t understand the laws of physics either. Just watch and see how many – I’d even say most – drive around 18 wheelers. It takes time to stop an 80,000 pound projectile. What does that have to do with some asshole fucking with a couple of cyclists who are riding single file at the side of a country road? Nothing, right?

    Incidentally, sometimes violence IS the answer.

    I was riding with my brothers in a bike lane in southern CA when some asshat in an SUV tossed a bottle at us. Problem was, the boulevard had a light about a half mile up the road. We had a 30 second or so sprint and caught them at the light. I’m sure what happened next was interesting for the folks in other cars stopped at the light. Anyway I’m pretty sure these guys learned the hard way not to throw stuff at bicyclists.

    Now that I’m in AZ, I ride armed, and people in cars are polite, as am I.

    However, percentage-wise, I see many more assholes in cars than on bicycles.

  9. GunRights4US says:

    September 27th, 2012 at 7:50 am

    The cyclists in this video had far more patience that I would have had under the same circumstances! I believe I would have tried very hard to maneuver around to the driver’s side of that vehicle and respond with some aggressive behavior of my own.

  10. BrentP says:

    October 2nd, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I agree with M. Terry, some drivers are just hostile to bicyclists. Period. I think the weirdest bottle throwing incident I’ve ever been the target of was when a driver of a Ford Taurus that was initially behind me, passed me after I out accelerated the driver of a Dodge Neon in the neighboring lane. The passenger in the Taurus threw a bottle at me. It appears they do it because they feel they can get away with it. Apparently has nothing to do with being delayed, the vehicle code, etc.

    I learned the vehicle code backwards and forwards and follow it to the letter not be obedient but to never give a driver any out what so ever. The end result, my current conclusion from this decade and half on going experiment is that following the vehicle code isn’t the issue.

    I could have avoided countless confrontations (almost entirely verbal) with hostile motorists simply by gutter passing and running a stop or other violations of the illinois vehicle code. The fact I followed the vehicle code led to the confrontation because the driver then had to treat someone on a bicycle as an equal. IMO it’s not being submissive that is the offense.

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