Road Rage and the mild mannered citizen

You want me to smell your what?

A car whips over into your lane as you approach a red light, slicing off your path of travel and causing you to brake excessively and skid.  Do you fly into a tirade of verbal assault and berate the driver and all people within earshot “just because”? If you had been in a car and the same thing happened, would you respond differently or does the vulnerability you have when motorcycling change your reaction?

In this guys opinion the latter is usually true and as I age I have put more and more thought into how we as the motorcycling community handle situations like this.  Now I’m not saying that we all need to prance merrily thru the streets with cagers and sing kumbaya, but we don’t have to kill each other over simple mistakes that harm no one. I’m all for a person learning their lessons and accountability, but sometimes it’s much easier to admit fault (whomever’s) and move on.  Some people just process at a different rate of speed.

Sadly though as motorcycling rises in popularity for its freedom from four wheeled solitude and also the lighter hit to the wallet afforded by high MPG’s, that just means that there are more of us out there NOT being paid attention too.  Traffic deaths involving cars, trucks, busses, and tractors versus motorcycles continue to rise.

As an alumni of the IMPA or International Mirror Punchers Association, I have had my fair share of run-ins with aggressive and seemingly oblivious drivers in the past but I’ve matured and as my career as a trainer/troubleshooter for a major company has taught me that some people are unreachable.  Maybe that 18 yr old girl driving, texting, painting her nails, and drinking coffee shouldn’t be on the road, but who’s to blame?  The cell phone company, her parents, Obama, or maybe we should keelhaul her driver’s education instructor for not waterboarding more as an acceptable method for programming it into driver’s heads. Anyway you slice it there are going to be idiots on the highways and byways today.  It’s up to you to fight the battles, pick your wars, cover your ass, and rage hard into the bendies.


~ CK

6 Responses to “Road Rage and the mild mannered citizen”

  • robbo':

    it seems that tha likliehood of cages and bikes bein involved in collisions is growin at a alarming rate. I think tha term ‘road rage’ may well evolve into a new term ‘road murder’!Beit from tha death of so many motorcyclists or tha angry reactions that are eventualy gonna evolve from this happenin way to frequently and fer no obvios or defendable reasons..
    I have bin involved a few times with cages and had a couple of reasonably bad injuries from this,tha next time it happens(god forbid) I hope that I can still move and get me hands ontha daft bastids who knocked me of LOL unles uts me own fault :D

  • adam:

    IMPA….hmmm never heard of it, we always rode with the IMKA ;)

    I understand the aggression thing, and generally I’m really good about it. In the car, I can cool off and just ignore people generally…on the bike it is a bit more personal yes. Friends of mine used to kick off mirrors, toss change/bearings on hoods, kick in doors etc etc. I don’t really think that helps though, it just makes both people increasingly angry. . .

    However, if I had a back seat, it’d sure be nice to take em for a ride and show em what it’s really like on a bike…and how often cagers almost kill us.

    That is 90% of the problem in my opinion. These people don’t consider bikes because they’ve never ridden one and don’t understand the capabilities etc of bikes.

    Bottom line tho, ride defensively—ALWAYS! You’re not going to get through to all these people, so everything in your power to avoid them.

    Keep the fight alive!

  • Phoenix:

    Unfortunately the rise in accidents isn’t simply a series of errors or simple mistakes. As a full time cage who puts regular miles on my car in all sorts of driving (be it motorway, residential, urban or city) it has come to my attention that there has been a dramatic increase in down right inconsideration for other drivers in recent years.

    Now I’m sure people will be able to cite many different causes to this mentality but I’m not here to point fingers. It is simply an observation that it is increasingly common that drivers/riders act with little to no consideration to their fellow road users as people seem to believe that their journey is more important than the person infront or behind them.

    In a society with an ever decreasing accountability for your own actions, people are by and large becoming more selfish on the road, and as a result, the rate of accidents and unfortunately deaths, not just between motorcyclists, but drivers too is steadily increasing.

    I believe that to be truly good at something, you have to be passionate about it. Unfortunately most see driving/riding as a means to get from point A to point B. The journey to work has now become the spare 30-45 mins to check your mail, do your hair, eat your breakfast or drink your coffee, when in reality, most have forgotten that they are in control of and operating a piece of heavy machinery that requires constant attention and vigilance.

    People, keep your eyes open out there, and remember, you’re longer driving/riding for just yourself anymore but everyone else too. If you can see their mistakes before they make them, it will give you just that little more wiggle room and the potential to avoid disaster altogether.

    Play hard, Ride safe, Life well

  • TrogMog:

    You can pick your battles, but most importantly you can pick your town. OF 36k people in the town I moved into, about 1/3 are senile old sharts who can no more see or hear as shoot bottle-rockets out their asses. 1/3 are between 15-18, with the remaining portion mixed numbers. First Friday of the month and every Sunday is aggravating AT BEST. Almost as bad as the place I came from; The only reason I don’t run into shit anymore is because I changed my traffic time clock- sometimes there are simply too many to fight against.
    Pick your battles….

  • Fastenloose:

    “There are old bikers and there are bold bikers, but there are no old bold bikers”, or so the saying goes.

    After 23 yrs in the saddle (since 16, u do the math!), I’m feelin old but just keep getting faster. And I keep getting better at dodging the stodgies and the pickup drivers who think they’re Al Unser Jr reincarnate. I’ve had three big wipeouts with no serious injury, but the last time I fell off was more than 10 yrs ago and I ride almost every day.

    IMO a street fighter is the safest bike on the road. Goes faster, turns faster, stops faster and takes up less space than almost anything else out there. If the fokker hits me I say it’s my own damn fault!

  • Don Of Pensacola:

    I find that when it’s an “honest” mistake, drivers are very much apologetic. I usually just wave back when it’s clearly a mistake. It’s the tailgaters that get the spare change after attempting to place distance between us. I also wave or salute the drivers who make eye contact with me on a side street. The ones who start to pull out and stop. I think giving cagers respect for looking twice it will go a long way. The finger wave usually just pisses them off when you do that. When it’s neglect to pay attention and pull out, then by all means I give it to them. You know that guy who Is always late for work and intentionally pulls out in front of you. Just because he don’t want to wait 5 more seconds.

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