Here are three examples of what to not do…
For a long time there’s been animosity between bikers and “cagers” or people driving cars. Many have explored what the believe to be the origins of this rivalry, but I like most of you know from firsthand experience it’s still alive and well today. Riders and drivers alike need to have skills to de-escalate misunderstandings before they turn into full-on confrontations or how to simmer down someone who’s trying to engage in an all-out fight.
I figure the best way to do this is to analyze three real-world situations instead of just talking hypotheticals. Instead of just stating who’s right and wrong in the confrontations, I’ll be looking at what the bikers and pedestrians/drivers did to escalate and de-escalate as well as what they could’ve done differently. The hope is that this helps people avoid not only criminal charges but increasingly dangerous road rage situations as they’re riding (warning: language in videos).
Our first road rage incident involves a younger guy on a Kawasaki, which he is riding with his girlfriend on a rural road. Since he had modified the motorcycle some, it seems he went into the county to test things out. And since he wasn’t sure how safe the bike would be, at the beginning of the video he drops his girlfriend off on the side of the road.
I don’t know the speed limit where he was riding, plus this guy claims to have installed aftermarket gearing so the speedometer is about 10 mph over his actual speed. And while his speed was unknown, he starts off popping a wheelie on a stretch of road he probably thought was pretty desolate. At one point his speedo is reading 76 and after the wheelie it says 69, so he might have been speeding if it wasn’t a 55 zone.
Here was his first mistake: even though it’s a country road, it’s also a residential road. The guy who steps out in front of him is right in front of his house. If you lived on such a road and people thought it was a great place to test out their modified motorcycles and cars since “nobody” is out there, you’d probably be sick of dealing with it.
I’m on the fence about how smart it is for the old guy to step out in the road. If he hadn’t, this rider would’ve just blasted by. However, if you’re in this kind of situation, unless you can see a weapon or suspicious behavior, the best thing to do is slow to a stop a little way from the other person. Instead, this guy acts like he’s going to swerve around the pedestrian, a move which is not only dangerous to both of them but likely was viewed as an act of aggression.
Understand up front I’m not saying the old guy was right to tackle the bike since that escalated things further. Basically, both these guys weren’t being smart. They exchange plenty of words, then the rider realizes the pedestrian took his key. Anyone would be mad about that, but the old guy explains he took it so the rider doesn’t just take off before the police show up. Surely he thought he was doing the right thing, but he’s not the police and he can’t just take people’s private property because he doesn’t like what they’re doing with it.
They argue as the old guy walks back to his house and goes inside, with some jostling going back and forth. No doubt the rider was upset and irritated so he wasn’t thinking straight, but he should’ve just called the police and let them sort things out instead of furthering the confrontation since it could’ve escalated to serious violence. Fortunately, it didn’t.
According to the rider, the pedestrian was charged with theft in the third degree and disorderly conduct in the second degree. He’s probably lucky the cops didn’t charge him with anything, because if the wrong officer had responded to the situation and viewed the video, that could’ve been the result. That’s why it’s so important to not escalate confrontations, even if you believe you’re in the right.
This next road rage incident is at first very similar to the first one, but it shows some key differences in how people handled things. Just like in the other video, it starts with a guy popping a wheelie on his dirt bike on a rural road, only this is somewhere in I believe northern Italy. Plus, the rider has his buddies with him, so the group factor changes the dynamic some.
Also changing the situation is the fact the pedestrian was a driver on the road since he was going the opposite direction in a tractor pulling a trailer. He didn’t step out onto the road for a confrontation but was already on it and perceived a potential threat.
Another key difference is the riders don’t try to swerve around him but instead stop a good distance away, showing they’re not going to be aggressive. Sure, the old farmer is still mad, but if they’d tried to ride around him it would’ve only made the situation worse.
According to the translation of the exchange, the old guy was telling them the road isn’t a racetrack, which he’s absolutely correct about. He threatened to call the Italian military police, while also warning there was an incident with bikers a few days before.
Just like the other guy, these riders thought being on a rural road meant they weren’t putting anyone at risk. Well, that argument obviously isn’t entirely valid because there was another person on the road. Still, I’ll give these riders credit for slowing down and stopping with plenty of space before they reached this guy and his tractor. Instead of escalating the situation, they stated their case and then rode off, laughing off everything after.
Finally, we have a group of bikers on yet another rural road in the United States. They’re popping wheelies but are going slow when a guy in his Kia Soul comes screaming past in the opposing lane of traffic, crossing the double solid yellow line. Right off the bat it’s the driver who’s being obviously unsafe, but I’m going to guess he’s mad the group of bikers aren’t going fast enough.
Have you ever been going the speed limit or maybe even a little over on a rural road like this when someone in a much bigger vehicle, like a lifted full-size truck, comes right up behind you? It’s not a great feeling and people might react by slowing down even more, brake checking the other vehicle, or doing something else aggressive. At the same time, purposely going really slow on a tow-lane road like this is going to piss some people off, so don’t do that.
In this incident the bikers stop around the rear of the Kia as the driver exits and voices his displeasure. I’ll mention some of the bikers and the driver are in the opposing lane of traffic and there’s a blind turn a little ways down the road, so not the brightest move.
Both the driver and the riders engage in an argument about who’s wrong and honestly it doesn’t matter. The riders yell at him to go home, but the make no moves to leave themselves, maybe because they’re scared the driver will try something aggressive if they do.
As the exchange becomes more heated, the female biker with the cute pink helmet with ears on it decides to show how tough she is and advances on the Kia driver. She probably felt safe since there were five guys backing her up, but honestly it’s a dumb move. Thankfully, one of the guys tugs on her hoodie to get her to back off. Basically, everyone is being an idiot in this situation, but thankfully things didn’t escalate to pushing or blows.
What do you think of these road rage incidents? If you were the rider(s) what would you have done differently?