How should we handle errant motorists..?
It’s too easy to get angry and upset at drivers who we think have driven errantly or dangerously, but there is a few things we should consider before we start accusing them of too much…
- Never assume all motorists are bad, rude or ignorant.
Perhaps, often, motorists are angry because they don’t understand what they did wrong, or why we are upset. So the question is: how best to educate them.
- Was it aggressive, or resolute indifference to the rights of the cyclist?
At least try to determine whether ignorance or malice was at the root of the problem. And perhaps even malice can be (eventually) overcome with a show of decency and rationality.
In an argument with a driver
Sometimes situations can deteriorate with either the cyclist or the driver wanting to enter into a discussion about what happened. If you feel threatened in any way, you should call the police. It may be necessary for you to file a police report, for which our ‘Vehicle Collision Report‘ print-out is ideal, and there is an example police statement also available.
- If the driver is becoming aggressive
Ignore the motorist’s profanity, if there is any, and instead explain the situation as we see it (what you did; what he did). Even if you get sullen silence or a stream of abuse, use the teaching opportunity. Then leave quietly, to give the motorist time to think over what you said.
- If the driver claims you were ‘weaving’
Drivers often claim that the cyclist was ‘weaving’. Be sure to state that you were riding steadily and straight, if that is the case, or to explain carefully whatever manoeuvre you were making or obstacle you were avoiding.
- If people are being dismissive about you being in a bicycle
Refer to the bike as a vehicle, which it is, legally, eg. “when both vehicles had stopped, I asked him ..”
… and more things that drivers say could be added and refuted….?
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