What Do You Do When a Motorist Almost Runs You Over?

My Lucky Number’s One posted this picture and had this to say:

Cars keep almost running over cyclists in the bike lane right here. Cyclists are being amazingly polite in getting their attention.

Politeness is good, right? But does it make a lasting enough impression on the average dick motorist? How do you teach people to share the road and be more aware of their surroundings? What are the answers to these seemingly unanswerable age-old questions?

24 Responses to “What Do You Do When a Motorist Almost Runs You Over?”

  1. hoboking says:

    Depends how bad it was:

    a) Stink eye for as long as you can.
    b) Shouted obscenities – middle finger
    c) Cut in front of them and ride really really slow
    d) Wave bike lock threateningly
    e) Spit loogie in/on drivers side window
    f) Get up off ground if your broken bones will let you and attempt to beat driver with shattered bits of your bike frame.

    Of course if you do any of these things remember the driver may either run you over, respond in kind, post snarky blog comments, get out of their car and shoot you.

  2. plainform says:

    I understand the disdain for motorists, because I too, as a disabled individual walking with a cane get extremely tired of cars nearly running me over through their impatience at my taking longer in the crosswalk.

    In the same vein, however, I get tired of cyclists’ sense of entitlement when it comes to issues like these, as I have on a regular occasion, nearly been hit by cyclists’ inability to yield at stop signs while I am attempt to cross the street.

  3. DocPop says:

    I’ve only been hit by a car once. I was in the bike lane on Valencia when a car that was driving along side of me suddenly turned right at 18th.

    Things could have gone terribly, but by some freak circumstance the car actually bumped my handlebars and turned me along with it. I stopped my bike as quickly as I could and I screamed at the driver.

    He stopped his car about 10 feet down on 18th and got out. I was totally shaken up and had no idea what to do. Had he been just slightly ahead of me when he turned I would have crashed into him, or if he was slightly behind he would have hit me, but as things were he merely turned me….

    I just yelled at him about how lucky he was he didn’t cause anyone any damage and he needed to pay attention when turning. I still don’t know what exactly to do when a car hits (or comes dangerously close to hitting) you when on your bike. If there’s no damage I guess you just count your blessing and to be just as lucky the next time someone hits you.

  4. Dan says:

    I just ended up on the hood of a car at 16th and Valencia. Every time I think about it I wish I had put a dent in her car so next time she’d stop w the bullshit excuses.

    Things to look out for-

    1. Expensive cars. (Sense of entitlement)

    2. Car share cars. (They cant drive)

    3. Whatever racial/gender/social demographic usually almost hits you. (For me I think its cosmic retribution for noticing that asian women have hit me three times on my bike and twice on my motorcycle.)

    • Tsar Khastiq II says:

      Maybe their vision is impeded by the light-weight welder’s masks that some of them are sporting to keep their skin “flawless”.

    • Yup, expensive cars, seems like Mercs are more dicks than BMWs, Audi is bad. Prius is the worst, though, followed by the Civic Hybrid, not sure why.

      I totally researched this daily on market st.

  5. Tsar Khastiq II says:

    “What Do You Do When a Motorist Almost Runs You Over?”

    First: Remove your helmet. If it’s dark, turn off the the flashing bicycle lights, dismount and being careful not to scratch the paint of the offending vehicle, approach the driver side. If the driver is have a conversation on a cellphone, texting, staring at a GPS device, applying makeup, rolling a joint, eating a burrito, reading a document (map, homework, the Enquirer), masturbating, swatting a child or dog, wait patiently until they are finished before greeting (w/o expletives) and proceed to show them all of the safety gear, including perhaps a reflective vest that you wear to make yourself as visible as possible. and gently remind them that as a cyclist you are far more vulnerable to injury than a vehicle driver is.
    Go on to mention that you never, ever run stop signs, traffic lights, use crosswalks as conduits, and you ALWAYS yield to pedestrians. Cite places where you and fellow cyclists take special pains to obey the rules of the road, such as the Wiggle and the Valencia corridor. If the driver seems unconvinced, show them some of your merit badges from various bicycle coalitions for you exemplary skills on the streets of San Francisco.
    Maintain a soft but urgent voice as you amicably show them their mistakes.
    Who knows: If you’re a male and the driver is female, you may have a “Let’s do coffee!” date! If you’re male and the driver is male, you may have a “Let’s do coffee!” date! If you’re female and the driver is male, you may have a “Let’s do coffee!” date. If you’re female and the driver is female, you may have a “Let’s do coffee!” date.

    Aquí paz, y en el cielo gloria

  6. Heather says:

    I took this picture last night on Valencia street near 17th. The cyclists all either whistled, yelled “hey!” without an angry tone, or tapped politely on the car, each while pointing to the bike line. It seemed a car would suddenly swerve into the bike line about every five minutes, crazy! Not ever having owned a bike or a car, I had no idea this bike lane was so dangerous. But kudos to the polite bike riders.

  7. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    Not sure what I’m looking at in this picture, I don’t see any cars in the bike lanes. Am I missing something?

  8. JP says:

    Making my way home with groceries (a little more off balance than usual), a driver decided to take a right across the bike lane without warning and caused me to tip over. As I was going down I yelled some words in a moment of anger. The car stopped and a large angrier driver emerged hovering over me with his fist ready to make me eat my words. I think his girlfriend co-pilot’s pleading was the only reason he didn’t put the final touches on the damage he had initiated with his vehicle.

    • sevan says:

      did you take his license plate # to try to file a report or get his name? if you file a report and he is pulled over for something else might be retribution, if that is what you are looking for.

      but you do get an “I’m sorry that happened to you” from me! sincerely!

  9. Iknowrebekah says:

    As someone who owns a car in town [mostly to run short errands & also to leave said town] as well as a bus taker & walker, I try to be as decent to bike riders as possible. I take extra care when I’m in bike heavy areas to make sure I’m not in their way.

    I think there are many folks like me who want to be as courteous to folks as possible, it doesn’t mean that accidents are totally inevitable.

    There are going to be jerks on both sides–cyclists who think they are ALWAYS in the right & cars who don’t give a shit–placing a wide cast net isn’t going to make it better.

    • sevan says:

      something has gotta happen so that drivers can take right turns and bicyclists don’t have to gamble if there is no signal.

      I took a bicycle coalition class and they said to go to the left at such intersections. I feel like an idiot swerving in the lane since no one knows this rule and when I do it cars just stop behind me.

      • i ride bikes says:

        That’s exactly what I do. I never trust a car that is in the right lane and assume they will always make a right turn signaling at the last moment, if they even signal. You just have to ride defensively and take the lane if a car looks like it might be turning right. I usually like to hang back behind them and make sure I am never on the inside.

        I think I’ve been honked at twice in the last five years riding in the city doing this. Just waving at them with a smile is enough to irritate them and get them to be quiet.

  10. whit says:

    always take the lane. never get wedged in the bike lane at intersections or you will get hit. i get yelled at by bikers and motorists a like for taking the lane in weird situations like that. but you know what, i’d rather be safe than dead.

    when i do almost get run over, i yell like crazy but ride away. luckily nothing too close has happened recently.

    • Sara says:

      I think this is more dangerous than just riding defensively in the bike lane. Drivers see you as slowing down traffic needlessly, thinking that if there’s a bike lane you should be using it, not the car lane – whether this is correct or not, it’s how they see it, and you being in their lane can make drivers angry, which can lead to aggressive driving that threatens you and everyone in your vicinity. I stay in the bike lane and slow down to stay behind any car that I even suspect might make a last minute turn, and it’s gotten me by unscathed for the last 5 years or so.

      • whit says:

        to clarify, if there’s a bike lane and it is safe, i will ride in it. however, when approaching tricky intersections (there’s a huge curve in the road or cars are already moving into the bike lane to turn right or whatever), i safely move over into “real” lane so i am more visible to drivers.

        everyone on the road needs to learn/understand that bikers often need to “take the lane” for a myriad of reasons. today it was:
        -not going to roll over a shit ton of glass just because i “have to ride in a bike lane” etc

  11. neigh-bor says:

    I used to do the stinkeye and in extreme instances pull up to their window and confront. I was getting really mad. I was riding around the City mad and seeing the streets as more of battlefield, feeling a real need to defend my rights. Basically that sucked.

    Now I try to keep the anger out. I ring my bell to let people know where I am. If I’m going around them because they are parked in the bike lane, or because they are turning right across a bike lane, etc.

    The things that still piss me off are the intentional assholes – the ones that weave close or cut me off after passing me. These people are just jerks – there is no reasoning with them.

  12. hunh says:

    I am a very safe car driver and always take pains to be especially careful around bikes/motorcycles. I check the bike lane before signaling and turning right. And I never run stop signs or stop lights (do you!?). So when a bike comes out of nowhere and I get the stinkeye/swearing/fist pumping, even after an “oops, sorry I didn’t see/hit/touch you” it makes me wonder where the entitlement comes from.

    Share the road, man!

  13. ACwastaken says:

    a nice, firm, open hand slap to the ass of the car (the trunk). It does no damage and alerts the driver they are too close. I also sometimes don’t mind throwing our a “mother fucker” if I am in an unfortunate mood.

  14. erlthegirl says:

    As one of those dang city car share drivers I don’t have the glazed over thing going that my fellow drivers do. I don’t drive as often and maybe don’t know the ins and outs of every road, but I keep a vigilant eye for bicyclists and pedestrians when driving anywhere. That said – even when I am watching a cyclist like a hawk when I’m about to make a right turn, signal on well ahead of time, I very frequently run into the issue of the cyclist not stopping at lights or signs at all, making it hard to predict where and how to share the road (Folsom more than Valencia). So please be aware of how your bicycling behavior also impacts the drivers.

    As a ped, I totally bang on cars in a solid place where I won’t do damage. The hubby is petrified I will some day be shot.

  15. justin case says:

    “How do you teach people to share the road and be more aware of their surroundings?”

    That’s a difficult question as there are far more dick bicyclists as with motor vehicles. Discussion points:

    What is the percentage of motorists that drive on sidewalks?

    How many motorists routinely drive with no lights at night?

    What is the percentage of motorists that routinely drive on the wrong side of the road?

    Bicyclists need more training that for motor vehicles, if for no other reason that cyclists don’t believe how or why vehicle laws apply to them. Completely oblivious.

  16. janel says:

    lets switch the bike lane and parking lane so we don’t have to deal with the situation in the first place.

  17. Crowe says:

    Being both a motorist and a cyclist, I can tell you there are plenty of dick cyclists that share just as much of the blame.
    I wont be shedding any tears for the next asshole I see run a stop and get splattered by a dump truck.