Road rage is a serious problem, both for cyclists and for those who are operating a motor vehicle. If you find yourself in the middle of a road rage incident, it’s critical to do whatever you can to move to safety.
Here are some of the steps you can take to handle road rage as a cyclist:
- Change course: The nice thing about riding a bicycle is that you can stop and change your course on short notice. Sure, it means that you’re going out of your way, but it’s better than engaging with someone who is acting in a hostile manner.
- Avoid eye contact: A gesture as simple as making eye contact can set someone off. Keep your eyes on the road and your surroundings as you remove yourself from the situation.
- Don’t make matters worse: Maybe you want to yell back at the person. Maybe you want to confront them. Perhaps you want to use a hand signal (or two) to show them how you feel. It’s not worth it. When you do any of these things, there’s a greater chance of the incident escalating.
- Call 911: This is a last resort, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unable to remove yourself from the situation and/or the person is acting in a dangerous manner, such as threatening to harm you, it’s best to call 911. Even if you’re able to escape a bad situation, it doesn’t mean the next person will. The 911 dispatcher can contact police in your area and send them to the scene.
It’s should be your hope that you never come face to face with an aggressive driver, but it’s something to expect as a cyclist.
If you’re injured in an accident as the result of road rage, stay where you are, assess your injuries and call 911 to request an ambulance. Depending on the circumstances, do your best to gather information from the scene, such as the make and model of the vehicle (in case the driver flees).
Your health comes first, but also consider the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.