Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Ying and the Yang

My ride home today featured a run-in with some idiot who must have had one too many cups of coffee this afternoon. I came to a 4-way stop, did a complete stop with my foot down well before the guy approaching towards me. I started through the intersection, and I guess he figured he would save some time by pulling right up to my ankle to wait for me to leave the intersection.

This move really pisses me off. These people think I’m supposed to know that they are good drivers and I should just trust them. The thing is, it usually ends up that it’s exactly someone who would bother to drive like that who I don’t trust.

I gave him a little wave of my hand down by knee just to say “stay back”. That’s really the only gesture I gave. He wound down his window and yelled some pretty rude obscenities at me and invited me to fight with him. I turned my bike back towards him. The story fortunately doesn’t get any more exciting at this point. He started to drive away. Then he stopped. I rode towards him again. Then he drove away. I know I probably didn’t do the smartest thing, but I don’t regret it, given that it didn’t go too far.

After that, I rode about 2 or 3 kilometres and met up with an electrician who rides his bike all over Toronto to get from job to job. He was happy to talk to me, and I appreciated a bit of friendliness at that point. He had a handful of cable in one hand, and a bunch of gear in his panniers on the back. And when I say he rides around Toronto, I mean Toronto and more. He rides to jobs from Yonge St to Etobicoke and even up to Markham and Newmarket. That’s 50 km (30 miles) away! He said his days have been much better since he started riding 2 years ago.

It was a great end to my ride.

Darren J 10/01/2005 12:41:00 AM

3 Comments:

Hey Darren, good job dealing with the driver. People seem to think they can call you whatever they want with no repercussions. I've actually had no problems with drivers, but with pedestrians stepping out in front of me into the road without checking, and then calling me very bad things. I think my brakes are wearing out from jamming them on to let them know that if they're going to give it, they'll have to take it too, as evidenced at the end of the entry I've linked.
I think your example and my example both show how little all this crap has to do with who was in the right. All that matters is who had a bad day and wants to get set off.

I wish I had more problems with pedestrians though, since I expect it would go hand-in-hand with drivers looking to the left and right more often, and looking for things smaller than a Honda Civic. (I'm not saying you have it easy down there, with your street car tracks and parked cars you have to deal with.)

As for repercussions, I can't imagine myself giving the guy any more of a hard time than I did. I think this idiot was pretty surprised that I came towards him. Based on the names he called me, he was under the impression that I was small (maybe true, depending on who's beside me). I think he was misled by the shirt I was wearing making me look kinda skinny. My wife disagrees.
Yeah... I mainly stop when someone calls me a name when *they* were in the wrong.
Cars are generally okay down here on my normal route... I've ridden it so often, I generally know how they act on different parts of my route. Pedestrians are tricky though (and I'm assuming there are more pedestrians here than in Richmond Hill...?), because they're unpredictable, and see cyclists as a lot less threatening than cars, so they step in front of me a lot. Having said all this though, I took Queen St. in today, and it was nuts with drivers whipping by me at 60 kph, inches from me.

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