I don't think the driver was right in any way, but we can't ignore the fact that a cyclist deliberately stepped in front of an SUV that he believed to be threatening. This is a very, VERY stupid thing to do.
Because of this, if this ever goes to court, the judge will scold the cyclist for picking a fight, and the motorist will get a slap on the wrist.
Look guys, we all know that we cyclists can get treated really bad sometimes, but we can't go looking for fights all the time. No a-hole driver is going to hear our screams and go, "You know what, you're right. I was wrong for my actions and I'll drive with consideration to others from now on." Yes, there are places for education and winning over hearts and minds, but I don't think it's ever been at a stop light that you catch up to an offending driver at.
From second hand accounts, it sounds like this cyclist very quickly went from yelling angrily at a driver, to pleading for his very life. We do not have the upper hand. Even when we're right, a driver can choose to 'win' the argument at any time.
Lets do what we can to LESSEN the amount of anger on the road.
Tony - So if you were to get into a verbal altercation with someone over something, and they spontaneously punched you in the face and broke your nose, do you believe that person should get a "slap on the wrist" because you "picked a fight"?
I agree that the cyclist should have avoided escalating the argument if possible, but this does not absolve the driver for clearly acting in a criminal manner. Arguing with someone verbally or standing in their way does not justify being run over.
Anon- Just as I said, the driver's actions were horrific. But because of the cyclists actions, the driver will probably get away with it. Is that right? Hell no, he should be charged with attempted murder, but that's notgoing to happen.
Tony said, “Yes, there are places for education and winning over hearts and minds, but I don't think it's ever been at a stop light that you catch up to an offending driver at.”
I see your point, but I disagree based on experience. Twenty years or so ago, I chased down drivers who yelled, honked, or threw something at me. If I caught them at a stoplight, I would yell right back or even hit their side windshield…you know, the typical adrenaline fueled responses to a perceived (and in many cases real) threat. These days though, I am older and hopefully wiser, so I realize that such responses are completely counterproductive. Those are, however, exactly the types responses that drivers who honk, yell, or cut you off expect from you if you catch them. If you chase them down to question their actions in a civil manor, they are often taken aback. I can think of a few examples, but I will just give one. Not that long ago, a lady held down her horn behind me while I was riding to work. We were one a narrow two-lane road and a car was coming in the opposing lane, so she honked because I delayed her for a second or two until she was able to pass. After the other car passed, she revved her engine and mouthed obscenities at me as she went by. Once I caught up to her though, she seemed extremely embarrassed by her actions. I guess she had viewed me more as an object in her way than as a person on a bike until I was able to calmly ask her why she honked at me like that. I am sure that she would have much rather never seen me again, but when I confronted her; she did apologize and admit that she was being impatient. I don’t know for a fact, but I think she meant it to some degree.
I guess the point is that we need to keep our cool, but it IS important to let people know when they are endangering lives. Just ignoring the situation to avoid possible escalation seems to me like the wrong thing to do.
My friend Murph here in the Bay Area posted on his motorist encounter last night on Central Expressway. Stupid driving, Murph's chastisement of driver, driver ignores Murph.
I left a comment at his blog that I did something like that several months back -- the driver actually pulled over and stopped, rolled his window down, let me catch up to him and apologized. I was a ranting idiot, he took the high road and I had no idea how to respond back.
...anger, in & of itself is obviously a very natural emotion especially when it's fueled by adrenaline from a close or scary encounter...
...the trick is to pepper that anger w/ some actual fact & being loud & intense is not necessarily bad, ie:- yelling "do you understand that you could kill someone because you're being impatient ???" may actually wake someone up to that fact...
...their world is isolated in that vehicle...chances are, they last rode a bike (if ever) as a kid & they've forgotten what it's like to be exposed & vulnerable...
...& quite frankly, sometimes a good loud yell is a "tension dump" so you don't carry that negative energy around all day...
As a driver who was recently hit (yes, hit) by a cyclist running a red light (while talking on a cellphone and not wearing a helmet. And did I mention he threatened to sue me for his injuries?), I'm going to try really hard not to be too biased.
Assuming the Fox guy doesn't have other mental issues, I can kind of sympathize with him. I don't know about NYC but here cyclists are very frustrating. I live in a small, hippie beach town and they take liberal, Californian smugness to new levels. Many feel justified in riding two-abreast and disobeying traffic laws because they aren't using fuel.
At the same time, I've ridden my bike and been cut off by angry, aggressive drivers. It's scary as hell, so I can't imagine trying to box that driver in, like Dooda claims to have done.
Anyway, I think drivers who endanger cyclists need to face stricter punishments. And cyclists should report dangerous drivers to the DMV. DMVs likely can't issue tickets over reports, but at least dangerous drivers will be on record in the event of a later accident.
I also think that cyclists should be required to register their bikes and display registration (i.e. license plates) when driving on city streets. In addition to allowing police officers to better act against dangerous cyclists, it will allow drivers to report cyclists who pose a threat.
It would also be nice if cyclists were required to carry insurance. It would save me the deductible I'm unlikely to collect from my crazed cyclist.