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Cyclists: how to handle road rage

As a cyclist, you may face aggressive drivers. Both verbal and physical aggression can be scary and dangerous. Road rage is always fear-inducing, but when you are on a bike you do not have the protection of a passenger vehicle. Even when road rage is not a factor, drivers are at fault in the majority of collisions involving bicycles and cars.

When you find yourself at the mercy of a raging motorist, you may now know how to react. Here are some suggestions on how to handle a driver with road rage

Diffuse the situation

It probably irritates you when a driver cuts you off or aggressively changes lanes near you. You may feel like yelling or making an obscene gesture at a negligent and reckless driver, but this will only make matters worse. Not only will reacting escalate the situation, but it may also complicate any insurance or legal claim you want to pursue in the future. The best thing to do is to keep a level head and avoid any temptation to fight fire with fire.

Disengage from a conflict

If a driver exits the car to physically confront you, get out of there. It never benefits you to engage with a driver who is angrily approaching you. Try to identify any witnesses while you are riding away because they may be valuable if law enforcement gets involved. 

Document important info

Note details about the vehicle and driver if you can safely do so. Try to document the license plate number, make, model and color of the vehicle, physical attributes of the motorist and the time and place of the altercation. Obviously, your physical safety is more important than anything. If you are in immediate danger, you do not need to pause to write something down. 

Defend yourself against violence

If you encounter a physically aggressive driver and you cannot escape, do what you can to protect yourself from violence and create distance. Call the police right away.