Rude Drivers on the Road…

No photo today, just some miscellaneous observations about rude drivers on the road.  Today was certainly not my day.  No, none of my machines got harmed but instead I came close on three different occasions on this given Sunday.  Definitely not my day.

First, I was out on my bike this fine Sunday morning.  I enjoy riding any of my lightweight road bicycles and it is a great way to stay in shape.  I have several and today I decided to head out mid-morning once things settled down with the weather here in Upstate, South Carolina.  I have the good fortune of living in an area with some simply awesome country roads with very little traffic on them, literally in my back yard.  These roads are in good condition, have rolling hills and are a joy to ride.  They are so nice that a huge amount of local cyclists drive their cars with their bikes to a nearby parking lot and start their rides from there.  I am lucky enough to just head out from my back door!

What makes this area so nice is that the great majority and let me repeat that: the great majority of residents are extremely nice and respect cyclists on the road.  There are enough of us cyclists in this neck of the woods that majority of people slow down, give enough room and overall give us our place on the road.   However, since these are country roads, there is a certain element of society that show their ignorance, arrogance and complete disregard for cyclists and motorists at large.

The first incident happened about 18 miles from home, when a dude driving a poorly maintained pickup (my bike is likely more expensive than his truck) cut a curve and literally ended up in my lane.  I just shook my head and just kept on going.  I suppose he saw me and did not like it because I noticed he slowed down, eyeballing me out of his rear view mirror.  Since confrontations only lead to tragic outcomes with these folks, I just kept going minding my business.  After all, I was obeying the rules of the road, he was not.

The next incident happened on the last sector on the way back home.  This one was even more disturbing, let me tell you why….  You see, I was on the end of my ride on a road with a very nice ascent I like to climb because it is always a nice challenge.  I’ve been on it dozens of times.  On this same stretch is a nice sized Methodist church and today, I had the misfortune to pass said church at 11:48AM – exactly the time when the flock of parishioners was given the Word to head out.  The outcome of all this was quite unexpected!  I saw plenty of four door sedans with silver-haired drivers being more than courteous to me as they passed.  However, there were many SUV’s and pickups (see the pattern here) with more rude drivers behind the wheel driving with very little regard to me.  One of the vehicles – a white Mustang which I had seen in the church’s parking lot – buzzed me and the driver even went to the trouble of lowering his window, extending his arm as far as it would go and then gave me his best delivery of the “finger”.  For the Mustang guy, SUV drivers and the pickup drivers, I guess the biggie-sized serving of Sunday Lecture with a large side of Salvation failed miserably.  Their preacher needs to take them in a room and give them a serious lecture on WWJD.

The third and last incident today was after I got back from my bike ride and decided to take bowtie6 out for a short drive to get the engine oil hot so I could change it.  About 2 miles from my home, I see a decrepit van approaching.  As we near, the driver starts drifting towards me and crosses the yellow line on a two-lane road.  I blow my horn and as we pass the driver yells to the top of his lungs “F*CK YOU!!”.  He was in the wrong, after all he crossed the yellow line and all I was trying to do was get his attention.  I guess I got his attention all right.

In Conclusion:

  • Incident number 1:  maybe the dude in the truck was just having a bad day (like I did) and was trying to cut a quick corner to save a second or two.  Big deal.  What real saving is there if you injure a cyclist on the road?
  • Incident number 2:  the SUV, pickup and especially the Mustang drivers must really hate cyclists.  I feel sorry for them – not only are they endangering cyclist’s life, they are also exposing themselves to a large lawsuit…
  • Incident number 3:  what can I say?  the irresponsible driver who quite frankly thinks the roads are for them exclusively.  Give me a break!

Some given Sunday, huh?  For those of you who read this post just remember to give cyclists room.  It is the law.  The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced this is all a cultural thing.  Hell, folks riding their almighty Harley Davidson’s routinely buzz me; these are the same folks that literally beg  for drivers to respect them when they are on the road.  Yet they don’t extend the same courtesy to cyclists.  I have also been passed by folks in superbikes (crotch rockets) and they have all extended every courtesy on the road.  Wonder what the difference is?  Same can be said about pickup trucks and SUV’s.

So the next time you get behind the wheel (or handlebar) and see a cyclist on the road – give them space.  So what if you are 30 seconds late to your destination?  Remember you might save a life.


3 thoughts on “Rude Drivers on the Road…

  1. clunkerlove

    Years ago while cycling a clapped out panel van decided to run me into a deep mud puddle out on a country road. It was a hot central Florida day and I’d gotten lost, then finally regained my bearings 40 miles later after running out of water and most of my strength. Then a yokel tries to punt me into a mud puddle because I’m on a bike. I bang on his van with my fist thinking he must be unaware I’m there … so he swerves completely in front of me and stops. I narrowly avert doing an endo and unclip from the pedals in the deepest part of the puddle. This man-troll jumps out and walks towards me, saying he’s going to beat my ass and so forth. And there I am, near heatstroke, parched and on wobbly bike cleats in a shin deep puddle. So he starts to wade in right as a red Honda CRX comes around a bend in the road. The driver quickly assesses the situation, stops and jumps out; he’s a big muscly guy – and there’s a Thule bike rack on his car. The first words out of his mouth to me are “do you need any help?” and I said YES that I was about to be assaulted.

    I’ve never been happier to see a stranger. The cave man fled in his pedo-van and I thanked my savior for and his cute girlfriend in the passenger seat and headed home, constantly checking the road ahead and behind me for lurking murderers. Being so rattled by the experience I didn’t get his name, but he’s my hero.

    And that’s cycling in the deep south – however rednecks are everywhere. I don’t know why a guy on a bike makes them boil over with rage … but I’m going to pay my debt forward eventually.

  2. David

    Bowtie, Amongst the many things I do, one of them is to teach the Driver Safety Course for AARP. Although it is geared to older people I do get younger drivers to. In my course I stress the fact that divers must share the road with cyclists, motorcyclists, horses and pedestrians as hikers. I too live in a rural area of NYS similar to what you describe. The country folk are pretty good and wave to most, but the outsiders (tourists) are another situation. Many don’t know the roads and surely drive a lot different than they should. Perhaps that is the reason the local constables do so well on the weekends and holidays.


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