We all encounter that motorist who insists on ignorantly telling us how to ride our bikes while munching on their third donut from behind the wheel of their pickup. Or better, how about that random person who yells at you to “get off the road”…. and you fail to come up with a quippy comeback so their taunt just wafts out there like a stale fart.
Well, this post is for you.
- Let’s start with the best; “Get off the road!” The easiest I’ve ever come up with for this one actually elicited a shocked, “wha?!” from the person who yelled at us. I simply shouted back, “Oh, shut up”. It was beautiful. This works for just about anything. It’s super easy to remember, and quick.
- “Don’t you have to put a foot down (when you stop)?” I love this one. They saw you stop at the stop sign, but can’t simply be content that you did… so I like this response: “Do you?” Or, “I will when you do… you first.”
- “Single-file!” Oh, how I love this one, because a person really does have to be stupid to yell this one out in my State. We don’t have much time for our quippy response – it’s gotta be quick and it’s not like we can quote the two-abreast section of the law in two seconds. For this one I like, “Read the law.”
- “Wear a helmet!” “Where’s yours?” is a fantastic response. Look, I almost always wear one when I ride. I always have one on when I ride with my friends, but I ride like a pro rides. Safer, yes, we don’t race, but we are bar to bar and wheel to wheel at great speeds. Helmets are a necessity for us. On the other hand, if I’m testing a repair I made, there’s no way I’m donning a helmet. If you don’t want to wear one when you putter about the neighborhood, that’s your choice. Besides, you don’t wear a helmet to go for a walk, and driving is certainly more dangerous than riding a bike and I don’t see a helmet being a requirement for driving any time soon!
- Now, before we go any further, you can add “dummy” to any one of these for a little punch. It’s a little mean, yes… kinda like yelling “get off the road” to a complete stranger, but let’s remember it’s better to be attractive than an @$$hole. Still, “read the law, dummy” is a lot better than just “read the law”. Just sayin’.
- “Don’t you have to stop at a stop sign?” You want to wrankle someone? “No, didn’t you know they changed that?” It will only be true if you live in Idaho, but it’ll be funny. Incidentally, there hasn’t been a reported accident attributable to the Idaho stop since it was enacted in 1982. Again, just sayin’
- Finally, be fair… a buddy of mine almost became someone’s hood ornament because he took a turn too wide, once. The motorist said something and he simply said, “You’re right, I apologize”. He didn’t drop dead from admitting he was wrong and apologizing. The motorist’s jaw dropped, though. He didn’t expect my friend to admit to his mistake.
- Speaking of, a friend of mine blew through a stoplight a while back. The motorist next to me rolled down his window and asked, “Aren’t you guys supposed to stop at red lights? Could he have gotten a ticket?” I simply smiled, and said, “Absolutely he could have, but that’s not why I stopped. I stopped because I don’t do well against a car.” We both chuckled and he drove on when the light turned green.
- When we are wrong, we can be pricks or ambassadors. Most times it is wise to choose the high ground first because being an ambassador will go further than the other option.
We don’t have to be a doormat to anyone, just because we ride a bike. Just remember, before you decide to get too angry; you’re not only responding to a jerk to satiate your own righteous indignation. Your reaction to a motorist will probably have an affect on the next cyclist that @$$ sees as well.
If you have a favorite, leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list with a link and hat tip.