Whenever I ask non-cyclists not to honk at cyclists, they often react with surprise.
“I sometimes honk to let you know I’m behind you!” they explain.
Trust me, we can hear you already. You might think your machine runs smooth as silk, but those of us outside of the Cage of Silence can hear the noisy din of your tires and engine just fine. I can even tell when a Dodge or Chrysler is behind me from the very distinctive creak made by your power steering. I hear your electric radiator fans and A/C coolant pumps when they kick on in the summer. If you smoke and there’s a good tailwind, I can smell your approach (yes, really). Even hybrids anymore are heavy enough that I’m alerted by your tire noise.
Perhaps the driver north of Indianapolis thought he was doing a favor when he honked at a cyclist. The news report even explains the “driver of a car honked so the bicyclist knew the car was passing.”
The cyclist — let’s call him “Spike Bike.” He was annoyed enough that he fired three shots at the car with his .45 handgun. One of the slugs struck the driver in the right shoulder, but it didn’t penetrate the skin.
This is obviously an overreaction, and I can’t even fathom using killing force in response to a rude honk like this (unlike many citizens who leave comments advocating the death penalty for cyclists who run stop signs, but I digress), but what is it that 2nd Amendment proponents like to say? “An armed society is a polite society.”
I and most other cylists (hopefully) won’t shoot you, but please don’t honk. It’s rude. I realize many of you are just trying to be helpful, but it’s usually unnecessary. Honking startles the newbies, and it annoys the crusted old-timers.
Okay? Thanks, bye.
H/T Ted in Los Angeles.