At some point or another, every cyclist will run into that one super angry driver that makes the Hulk look like a sedated teddy bear. While you would hope that you could get off with some healthy criticism of your glow-in-the-dark socks not quite glowing bright enough, it’s probably going to be more like a geyser of general hatred for bicyclists and how you shouldn’t qualify as a human being because you ride your bike on the street.
Since you, the cyclist, are infinitely more vulnerable in these situations, it will likely fall to you to diffuse the situation. Here are some tips for how to deal with an angry driver.
- Before you even think about responding, take a peek at their license plate just in case things get out of hand.
- Make sure that you are always following bicycle laws. Even if you do make a mistake, you don’t deserve to be yelled at or degraded, but you may be able to avoid a potential road-rager if you don’t roll through that stop sign.
- Know that no amount of logical data or witty comebacks will make a driver change their mind. Angry drivers are not looking for a logical debate when they pull over to tear you a new one.
- While they fire off artillery, fire back with tulips and daisies. Disarming an angry driver is often as easy as saying “I’m so sorry, I got scared.” Give them a thumbs-up when they give you the bird.
- If you feel threatened, don’t be afraid to flee. Angry drivers are not Tyrannosaurs, so standing very still is not always your best defense.
A driver that stops to get out of their car or roll their window down and spew insults at you should not be counted as a rational person. Always be on the lookout for these types of people, and do your best to not escalate the situation.