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Quick One-liner Comebacks to Yell Back at Motorists Whilst You’re Cycling

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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.


8 Comments

  1. theandyclark says:

    The toughest one I ever had was the motorist who I think I delayed something like 3 seconds in making their turn because I was over in the turn lane. He called me an “a**hole” and I was crushed. Who am I to argue with an expert opinion?

    • bgddyjim says:

      That’s really tough, Andy. It’s really too bad when motorists are deprived of arriving to their destination by 3-5 seconds. I’m getting misty over here.

  2. unironedman says:

    Alas, you can’t print any of mine…

  3. joliesattic says:

    Interesting. I guess the laws can be different state to state as to what is appropriate, so some of your responses would not work everywhere. I know that riding two abreast is acceptable (or was when I lived there) unless a motor vehicle comes up and then we go to single file.

    Same in California.unless they have a wide bike lane access. Stops and lights are required as well, but not everyone follows it, which confuses or causes everyone to question whether it’s a yea or nay. In Colorado we didn’t have bicycle lanes, so it made sense, especially on two lane roads, In California cyclists have more rights and if a bike lane exists, that’s where they need to be. Cars still need to respect their space. It doesn’t mean they can disrespect the law. In the beach areas or towns, they can take up a whole car lane, slowing traffic and that’s allowed. Generally, it will be marked. Motorists know and just accept this.

    In Alabama, there were no defined laws in the country and every man for himself. lol I know the farm boys (my cousin included) resented cyclists in their skinny, tight shorts, yet the country was so nice to ride in. By the time we left there, we’d conditioned them to accept us and they got to where they’d wave at us and the city folk who had come up from Birmingham. Progress.
    I’ve seen both cyclists and motorists be jerks. It does no one any good and your friends response was perfect. If you’re wrong, “So sorry”, does wonders. I can never think of a good comeback when someone hollers an abuse.

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