As I was on my evening commute from work, I moved one lane to the left to leave a right turn only lane. I looked back and there was plenty of room and the closest approaching car was a ways back and in the third (far left) lane. For some reason, he didn’t like me in the middle lane and made a point of yelling all about it to me as he drove by. At the time the light was green but it quickly changed and he had to stop and I was one car back in the next lane. Various scenarios were rushing through my head. I could simply slide up and say “excuse me, I couldn’t hear your pathetic rampage.” I could be a little more belligerent, a LOT more belligerent, profane . . . I could also do nothing at all.
I was on Independence at 15th heading North at about 7:00pm. Not prime rush hour, I didn’t delay this guy at all. Sure a couple of people queued up behind me at the light but they cleared me in about 10 seconds after the light went green. I’m not one of those stubborn, I have a right to the road cyclists, I will give up a route due to heavy traffic volume and I am not too proud to take to the sidewalk, if that is the less stressful path to where I am going.
I will ride this road again. Someone who was there at that stop light last night will pass me again. Maybe even the guy who yelled at me. Do I really want to be notorious on a vehicle that is perhaps 1/10th of 1 percent of the mass of theirs? If I had gotten into a confrontation with that guy, I would have been memorable in those people’s minds. What happens when they start to view me as a threat rather than an inconvenience? I want to be recognized for what I am, another person on their way home from a long day at work.
I chose to do nothing. I will see these people again and I don’t want them to remember me as the cyclist that went off on a motorist. They won’t know that the motorist yelled at me similar to a sports official who only sees the retaliation, not the original foul. I want them to see me and remember me as a competent, predictable and hopefully happy guy who regularly and purposefully rides his bike.