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Pretty much every outing now with my local club run seems to involve at least one instance of abuse shouted from a car, often accompanied by some threatening driving.
The groups we ride in are usually less than 10 and pretty well disciplined (though sometimes a little slower to 'single out' than I'd like).
So is this typical of other club runs?

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 4 years ago
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Last Sunday a coca cola can was launched out of the window of a car at a junction while going over the M25.

Later on in the ride, a man in an expensive rover tailgated me and swerved around behind me sounding his horn.

A woman, also in a rover, sounded her horn unnecessarily while performing a dangerous overtaking maneuver.

Several 'hot hatchbacks' also performed overtaking maneuvers. No doubt in stolen cars.

It angers me that ignorant fools are ruining something which we so passionately enjoy, especially because we tend to respect them as road users in what should be a two way relationship.

Whetheryou want to take to the roads with a GoPro stuck to your helmet is up to you. It could offer the potential to be evidence in court, I don't bother though.

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OldRidgeback [2625 posts] 4 years ago
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Blame Jeremy Clarkson and his ilk.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 4 years ago
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Raleigh wrote:

It angers me that ignorant fools are ruining something which we so passionately enjoy,

Completely agree - its really getting me down lately as I can't help thinking its only a matter of time before I get taken out.
I half expect abuse when commuting but why is there so much anger on a country road on a sunday morning?

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Hypoglycaemic [20 posts] 4 years ago
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The best thing we can do is not rise to the aggressive motorists' bait. I try to just feel sorry for how idiotic they are rather than let them win by getting me wound up. I know that doesn't make them any less dangerous but at least I can get on with my ride and enjoy it. I am looking at getting a helmet camera so I can point at it to a motorist who is giving me abuse. "I've got your reg number madam / mate!"

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MikeWall [3 posts] 4 years ago
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Main reason why I gave up going on club runs - now find it more fun to go out on my own or with one or two mates. Thing is I can understand the frustration of car drivers when faced with a phalanx of 10 riders in front of them on a country road, even if stretched out singly. Doesn't warrant the abuse and dangerous driving though...

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MattFr [105 posts] 4 years ago
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I have to say on club runs we're generally lucky. Obviously there are the odd idiots. My theory when it comes to some of the drivers is that we as cyclists present them a challenge, they can't just drive in a straight line, they need to actually think about what to do when they pass us. This is why they react the way they do. Obviously there are a few idiots who do it for their own amusement. Anyway that's just my theory, it's not an excuse for them, far from it.

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Giant Rob [59 posts] 4 years ago
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I ride on my own or with a friend. I now and again get a honk of a horn or a shout but that is about it. In groups of 4 or more you get hassle.

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 4 years ago
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Though slightly removed from this (although I often join a club run on my trips back to the UK) I think there are two factors at work here.

One, as was pointed out above, is that the Clarksons and other columnists, presenters and pundits looking to be controversial choose cyclists as an easy target and one of the few remaining to them which will not lead to prosecution for incitement.

But second, and more controversially perhaps, I think they are only feeding off a sense that motorists are regarded by the government as a cash cow and there is a genuine argument that their taxation has outstripped representation.

I know we are fond of saying we pay 'road tax' too but the amount of money raised from motorists in VED and fuel taxes vastly outweighs the money spent on roads, even if you include an estimate for carbon emissions.

They really do get a shit deal and since there a no government ministers available to take out their frustrations on, cyclists are the immediate face of 'the enemy'.

Cycling organisations and cyclists are often seen as setting themselves in opposition to motorists and their organisations. It is viewed as a net sum game - take from them, give to me.

I'm not excusing or justifying the behaviour but sadly it will continue until there is less higher-level antagonism between the groups. We should be looking for a more equitable deal for all road users.

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Sudor [188 posts] 4 years ago
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I suffer frequent abuse ( over 50% of rides) and threatening/aggressive driving whilst in groups and riding solo but I feel safer in a group.

In a group most drivers will wait for a safe opportunity to overtake (even if they also develop inappropriate frustration whilst waiting) - but when I'm solo more will try and overtake when it's not safe, cutting me up when they try to avoid oncoming cars.

This is a particular danger as, In my experience, any car driver will avoid a perceived threat to themselves or their car even if, in doing so, they take out or threaten a cyclist, pedestrian etc. For an example of an example of how driver self preservation instinct overrides (literally) the clear relative vulnerability of cyclists see the 2011 stage 9 TdF outrage at:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxoWQVgwvzA

Sadly there's not alternative than staying very alert to idiots and risks.

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SamShaw [266 posts] 4 years ago
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We seem to suffer relatively infrequent abuse on the roads up in Scotland, even when out with 15+ club members on a ride. Possibly due to the population pressure being a lot less in the Stirling area than it would be further south in England.

Being from England originally, (I moved up here for uni 12 years ago) I now find that population pressure on road networks down south is one of the largest factors keeping me up here.

That's not to say that we don't get our share of moronic or dangerous driving, it's just in my experience there seems to be less of it in my local area.

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myosportstherapy [1 post] 4 years ago
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I too have all but stopped riding with club runs, the differentiating skills mean some are not aware of bunch riding, string out too slowly etc which equals drivers with less patience. This said I have experienced poor riding skills when out with 3/4 others. There will always be drivers in a hurry etc but a those that do wait for a safe passing opportunity a quick hands up to say thanks works well. This is not just a UK problem I rose in Australia for 3 years and had similar issues. Strange as it may be but I find solo riding much safer and drivers more patient.

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OldRidgeback [2625 posts] 4 years ago
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While returning from dropping my kids off at school, I saw a particularly dangerous overtake of a cyclist made by a white van. The van cut into the lane just behind the cyclist to avoid vehicles turning right off the main road, then cut back into the lane again, just missing the cyclist who carried on ahead as his lane became a bus lane. What struck me was that there was a traffic queue ahead. All the van driver did with his dangerous overtake (that took him within cm of the cyclist) was to arrive at the back of the long queu of vehicles marginally earlier than had he allowed more time and distance for the cyclist to get ahead. And of course, the cyclist almost immediately overtook the stationary van by passing in the otherwise empty bus lane. It struck me just how many vehicle drivers are unable to think further than the end of their own noses so to speak. The van driver made no difference to his journey time with his dangerous overtake, yet put the cyclist at risk and entirely unnecessarily.

Too many vehicle drivers behave in the same way, without appreciating that by driving slower and more considerately, they will arrive at their destination at exactly the same time as if they had driven aggressively. Driving slowly and more considerately reduces overall accident risk, and reduces feelings of aggression that can trigger road rage.

Moreover, the perceived immediate congestion in the mind of the vehicle driver caused by the presence of a slower moving cyclist in the road ahead is only momentary, and generally makes no difference at all to the overall journey time for a vehicle driver. In fact, the presence of cyclists on the road actually reduces journey times for vehicle drivers, as by their very use of a bicycle the cyclist is removing a vehicle from each traffic queue.

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Simon E [2743 posts] 4 years ago
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MikeWall wrote:

I can understand the frustration of car drivers when faced with a phalanx of 10 riders in front of them on a country road, even if stretched out singly. Doesn't warrant the abuse and dangerous driving though...

"Frustration", but why any more at cyclists than with anyone else?

They don't honk at people on a pedestrian crossing while the lights are red. Or at a tractor, a milk float, the queue of cars in front that's travelling slower than their preferred velocity, a bus stopping to pick up passengers or a low loader transporting an earthmover or static caravan on its trailer.

Have you ever crawled along a country lane at 5mph while a farmer moves a flock of sheep from one field to another? Honking won't help then either. Or motorway road works when there's a contra-flow section with a 40mph speed limit.

It's just impatience and bullying behaviour, prompted by a lack of respect for people who happen to use a bicycle instead of something bigger. If the group of cyclists were in police uniform you can be sure the driver wouldn't behave that way!

I have heard plenty of stories where a driver has stopped to remonstrate aggressively at a cyclist to find the guy on the bike is bigger than him so changed his attitude and got back in his car. Cowards.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 4 years ago
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Thing is I can understand the frustration of car drivers when faced with a phalanx of 10 riders in front of them on a country road, even if stretched out singly. quote]

WHAT!

Cyclists are not fazed when faced with a phalanx of 10 cars, this is a ridiculous post, I can't understand how you understand that. Do you want to be respected as a road user, or do you expect abuse when you go out.

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MikeWall [3 posts] 4 years ago
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Ridiculous post? Of course I want to be respected as a road user. As someone who just before Christmas was run off the road by an inattentive driver, breaking a collarbone, I've got recent first hand experience of bad driving.

OK, 'understand...(their) frustration' was perhaps loose terminology - how about 'knowing how drivers think, I can see how frustration occurs'. It's not condoning it, far from it. But in my experience there's a direct correlation between the size of the bunch and aggro/stupidity from cars. So, given the choice - and apart from commuting I cycle for pleasure/fitness - I find it more pleasant to do it solo or in smaller groups. If that's giving in then so be it. The comparison with a cyclist being faced with a group of 10 cars is irrelevant.

As for why it should be more pointed towards cyclists than any other road users (Simon E's point), I agree it is probably because we are 'different', relatively frequently encountered (unlike sheep/horses/milk floats), and perceived easy targets.

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notfastenough [3695 posts] 4 years ago
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Hmm, talk about timing, I was thinking of meeting up with the local club for the first time this weekend! Best prep for some aggro!  4

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 4 years ago
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SamShaw wrote:

We seem to suffer relatively infrequent abuse on the roads up in Scotland, even when out with 15+ club members on a ride. Possibly due to the population pressure being a lot less in the Stirling area than it would be further south in England.

I have to agree with this, being a mainly solo cyclist these days, but having done various club rides in the past in Scotland and England

Up here, i rarely run into stupid drivers, you get the odd close pass, but thats about it, even when running with 10+ riders on a weekend, you rarely encounter anything from drivers, Although, i think if it was day in day out that drivers faced it, that might change

In certain parts of England, you may have a number of clubs in a small area and being out on different days of the week, a driver may encounter a larger group of cyclist's more often, for example, if there are 4 local clubs, all having weekly ride outs but on different days, so Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then a few run on a Saturday and Sunday, the likely hood that A driver may come across a few of these rides in their daily drive increases and so may their frustration.

Then again, you just get some idiots on the road

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 4 years ago
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A lot of drivers seem to think that riding two abreast is illegal. I've even had a driver sound their horn at me when I was riding behind my companion, but further out from the curb than them.

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 4 years ago
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I think it's true there's something of a north/south divide. I've rarely experienced problems in Lancashire be it driving or cycling but I certainly notice a worse attitude from (most) drivers in the South East. It's all very stressed, congested and aggressive. Not long ago that was confined to London but it seems to have gotten worse lately.

I don't enjoy driving in the SE and certainly will avoid cycling on major routes there. Worst is the Friday evening rush hour when everyone is manically driving out of the urban areas for a nice relaxing weekend in the country. How ironic. Chill out and show some respect to other road users. Better still, have a go yourself. It does wonders for your state of mind.  16

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kace19 [23 posts] 4 years ago
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Very dependent on where you are I think. Here in Cornwall I find 99% of drivers are pretty responsible and sensible. Obviously it only takes one idiot to do a lot of harm, but whether I am alone or in a group, most weeks I am pleased to be able to wave my thanks to the majority, who take pride in driving well.

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the liverpool flyer [1 post] 4 years ago
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here in liverpool there are a lot of asshole drivers were on average i get cut up or pulled out on atleast 5 times a day just going to and from work when you complain about this with hand gestures they pull over and want a fight thats were a good bike torch /tactical strobe light will pay for its self and a heavey steel frame comes in handy why should we be the victim  14

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TheHatter [770 posts] 4 years ago
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My main point on this is that club runs are normally on quiet country roads/lanes and only on Sunday mornings yet there is still so much impatience and anger.
Interesting I am in Herts in the SE and I agree that maybe what I'm experiencing is the London attittudes gradually creeping outwards from the capital.

It definitely doesn't seem so bad when I ride the same lanes on my own. Abuse then seems to be only from the usual suspects - youngsters in hot hatches, BMW's etc whereas club runs get abuse from all quarters including a little old lady on this last Sunday.

I can only think the distinction with a club run where we're typically two abreast is seen as illegal and arrogant behaviour when the truth is neither. As has been said above its normally much easier to overtake 8 riders two abreast than if they were singled out.

All in all a bit depressing - not sure theres any option other than maybe a move to France.  2

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youngoldbloke [109 posts] 4 years ago
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Impatient Sunday morning drivers? - late for church, maybe?  3

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 4 years ago
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MikeWall wrote:

Ridiculous post? Of course I want to be respected as a road user. As someone who just before Christmas was run off the road by an inattentive driver, breaking a collarbone, I've got recent first hand experience of bad driving.

No, no, I'm not angry with you, just with poor drivers. Perhaps I worded it wrong, sorry if you got furiously worked up or something.

I think that there are a few cyclists who bait motorists, but I'm sure that none of us are they.

I still maintain the claim that cyclists don't get annoyed when faced with 10 cars.

Why don't drivers get annoyed at motorbikers or mopedists, they are of similar shape and size. It just goes to show that the 'hate' directed towards us is completely random.  31

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 4 years ago
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the liverpool flyer wrote:

here in liverpool When you complain about this with hand gestures they pull over and want a fight thats were a good bike torch /tactical strobe light will pay for its self (

Don't know about in Liverpool, but the same kind of drivers in London are the ones who tend to carry axes in the side pocket of their car.

Best place to be is behind them, not under them

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barogerl [25 posts] 4 years ago
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Havingmoved into Eaast Anglia from South London, I find motorists a lot more understanding, though inthe summer months when we get hordes of visitors the situatiion deteriorates. I have been honked at , sworn at told to ride in single file, when out solo on my trike- says a lot for their eyesigjht !!

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OllyC [35 posts] 4 years ago
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I've not been out for a few months  9 but I've never really had any problems out in Essex. The occasional bit of bad driving but next to no anti-cyclist anger/abuse. Perhaps I've been fortunate, but that said the group rides were usually on very quiet roads. Thought I should relay this as a positive experience!

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giff77 [1253 posts] 4 years ago
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I think it makes little difference where you are. Though admittedly rural areas tend to be better than urban areas. It's only when the 'townies' venture beyond their domain that it becomes hairy. In general I have seen driving skills and courtesy get worse over the years fuelled by the resentment of a perceived 'war on the motorist'. I've even had situations where I've been cut up and the driver then slow down to a snails pace as if to illustrate a point of "see how it feels like to be held up". Others make a point of racing their engines while passing. I blame driving instructors for not teaching about vulnerable road users and the test for not marking the drivers response to peds and cyclists.

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hairyairey [300 posts] 4 years ago
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Goodness me someone can't do their maths. VED does not pay for the roads! Including the cost of road accidents, the amount of money spent repairing and building roads exceeds VED and fuel tax income and has done for years.

However, I would always try to react cheerfully to drivers being abusive even giving them a friendly wave.

Going by my past experience it's only a matter of time until a serious accident occurs during a cycling event and it would not surprise me if cyclists get the blame for driver's stupidity.

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davecochrane [140 posts] 4 years ago
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Where I live in NZ we get regular and dangerous close drive by type harassment, and I know that on at least one occasion a shotgun has been pointed out of a car window at the bunch ride....a side effect of allowing 15 year old kids to drive Subaru Imprezas without insurance.

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