It’s funny how just a few words can change your opinion. My favorite bike magazine is Bicycle Times and also enjoy Momentum Magazine. Both of these magazines focus on everyday riding with only a rare mention of racing. As a member of the League of American Cyclists I also get a subscription to Bicycling Magazine. But since it focuses so much on racing, it doesn’t normally resonate as well with me. But while I was reading an editorial entitled Mad Men by editor Peter Flax in the latest edition of Bicycling I read a phrase that really resonated with me.
Peter was describing an all too common encounter with an angry motorist. This is not the only story I have read or heard about lately. Byron of BikeHugger.com recently documented an incident he had with a driver in Maui. This reminded me of an incident David Bernstein discussed on the FredCast last summer. In my own experience I have been honked at and yelled at but most of the time that seems to be teenagers trying be tough rather than drivers angry that I am on a small part of their precious road.
All these stories have made me want to be ready to react properly if and when I run into an angry driver. Surely I want to defend myself. And surely I want to protect myself. But escalating a confrontation is probably not the best plan. But now I have a guideline for any action thanks to Peter Flax. I want to have a levelheaded sense of outrage during and after any incident. To me this means staying calm, keeping safe, collecting information that can protect me in the long run and not escalating any situation. It occurs to me that this attitude would help with interacting with not just drivers, but also the police if needed.
I need to spend some more time thinking of specific actions that fit the idea of levelheaded sense of outrage. But also I will keep reading Bicycling Magazine and hope for help preparing for the world we ride in.