Don’t honk at cyclists, Bro

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.

machine gun - assault rifle - cyclist - cropped

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.


  1.  Link changed.  Also reading the article, why are they looking for the cyclist instead of locking up the driver for starting the incident.  He honked because he couldn’t pass… oh wait, to let the cyclist know he was there.  Then when the cyclist flipped him the bird, he slammed on his brakes.. why?  Sounds like in his own words he tried to get the cyclist to run into him or was planning on attacking the cyclist.  Stuck around until the cyclist had a gun out of a fanny pack… that isn’t quick draw action… the driver did more than just slam on his brakes. Put it in reverse maybe? Sound like defensive fire to me prevented “Oh, I was passing the dead cyclist when he suddenly swerved into my car”.  3 ounces of lead vs. 3000+ lbs of steel… sounds fair to me.  Being a roadie, his rounds probably didn’t penetrate because he was shaving grams off the bullets to save weight 🙂

  2. Sadly, it’s part of vehicular code in many states. Antiquated of course, but legally correct to honk at me before/as you pass.

  3. And you wonder why everyone hates you? Yet you talk like entiteled socially irresponsible scum, then you moderate comments to drown out everything but your own vile opinions. Complete scum!

  4. As a global road cyclist of 30 years, short toot on the horn is a good thing. From a 22 wheeler truck passing even better. In Europe – simply common practice. no one gets upset. Only is US would a person reach for a gun. Lucky thing migrating out of US is low.

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