Car drivers bully bicycles in bike path?

50 posts in this topic

I really like commutation with bicycle. It's fun, sport, almost repair free and always ready, very efficient and low cost. In my way to work everyday, recently I started to see a phenomenon more and more frequently, making me suspicious that these cases are not accidents but a prevalent way of bullying bicycle riders by car drivers. Examples are:

  • Riding my bycicle in bike path, hear the car engine behind me rumbling as the driver is speeding up so fast, suddenly turning to right into the bike path and blocking my way, then slowing down to force me to brake and keep driving for as slow as 1 km/h until I realize I have to turn left and bypass the car and then the driver turning on flasher and turn left to hit me in the street! So I brake again and he brakes again and keep this childish game of driving slowly in the bike path and waste my time.
  • Another case is when the driver suddenly blocks me in the bike path and totally stops the car there. Sometimes even turns on the flasher as if the car is not working.
  • Cases are the driver is looking for park place and is well ready to kill a human being just to reserve that park place for himself almost crushing me and my bike when rushing with 60km/h into the bike lane.
  • Driver is waiting behind traffic light with right flasher on means he intends to turn right. I arrive and as he knows I will want to pass the cross first when the light is green and then let him turn right, moves slowly to the right corner to block the bike path altogether.
  • Bycicles are waiting like cars for the traffic light to go green so they can pass by. Once the light is green, the first car turns half way right and stops there, blocks bikes path and waits until the light is red again. Then pushes gas and goes away fast!
  • Driver slows down to my pace when I'm riding bicycle and then gradually moves into bike path until I have to either stop or jump into the pedestrian's or hit a tree.
  • Car parked in bike path. Lots of cars parked in bike path.
  • Speeding up to around 100km/h to be the first one who turns right in the cross and before my bicycle arrives
  • In the park place and suddenly opening door in hope that it can hit me when I'm on the bicycle
  • Glorious construction projects which "temporarily" need to use bike path for their baustelle and forever!
  • Heartbroken lovers who drink their last bottle of bear and then break it in the bike path specially in deep snow in hope that bicycle riders will some day feel the pain they are in!
  • And finally the millions of dear households of Berlin, a few of whom just leave their beloved but old furniture in the bike path

In some case other bicycle drivers are also victim and I'm not alone. Some go on rage, insult, yell, show their middle finger or punch the car. But this nevertheless keeps happening and it is sometimes really life threatening.

So, am I alone?

Did you face similar situations?

Do you find it a temporary relief to write about similar cases in the comments here? (If so please do)

Is there any solutions/workaround/legal advice when one faces these issues? Should we leave sport at the gym and instead join others in driving car?

Thanks for your time.

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There have been multiple threads over the years about bikes vs cars. You seem to be having a lot more problems than is normal.

 

I would probably wear a GoPro and document what is happening along with license plate numbers and then take it to the police.

 

The construction projects inconvenience cars and pedestrians as well but are just a fact of life in a big city.

 

I find it hard to believe that millions of Berliners put their furniture in bike paths. 

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3 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

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I find it hard to believe that millions of Berliners put their furniture in bike paths. 

Yes. That looks exaggerated. I corrected it. Thanks.

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30 minutes ago, Pesar said:

Speeding up to around 100km/h

 

really?  on a city street?  I kinda doubt that too.

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I suggest that most of these ppl are just clueless and oblivious rather than trying to kill you. I don't know if it's legal for bikes here to have an air horn but you should find out and if it is, get one and make yourself heard.

 

For the ones you are sure see you, stop your bike and take out your phone. If they think you are calling police, they might stop.

 

Of course you also have to have clean hands yourself. If you were riding like an idiot a few minutes before, maybe some pissed off driver is doing that back at you.

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25 minutes ago, LeonG said:

I suggest that most of these ppl are just clueless and oblivious rather than trying to kill you. I don't know if it's legal for bikes here to have an air horn but you should find out and if it is, get one and make yourself heard.

 

For the ones you are sure see you, stop your bike and take out your phone. If they think you are calling police, they might stop.

 

Of course you also have to have clean hands yourself. If you were riding like an idiot a few minutes before, maybe some pissed off driver is doing that back at you.

Thanks for the two advice. Also for the last one, I'm sure I don't ride like an idiot, but if I do, I stop some corner and let cars pass by and then start over more carefully. As I mentioned, most cases above block all bile riders not only me. So others also face the issue and some even yell at the driver. In one case the bicycle in front of me had ankle injured after hitting the opening for of the car in park and I witnessed the poor guy falling on the ground. I'm thankful that I was a few meters away and so survived this accident. So while, being aware of my own mistakes in driving, here the goal of the topic to find solutions for everyday bicycle commuters.

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if you witness an accident like that it's good to give your account of what happened to the police.  You could even do so after the fact.  Really important.

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2 hours ago, lisa13 said:

 

really?  on a city street?  I kinda doubt that too.

Oh. You gotta' see them! But anyways, better to say "very fast" instead. Thanks.

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I have to be honest and say that as a cyclist, I felt exactly the way the OP did, but now after driving to work every day for the last six months, I’ve noticed that the cyclists in Berlin take ridiculous risks and to top it off, they’ve got a kid on the bike WITH NO HELMET. That just boggles my mind.

I want to get a dash cam to document that craziness I’ve been seeing just in the last six months. Many of the near accidents that I’ve witnessed have been caused by other cyclists. 

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7 minutes ago, Santitas said:

I have to be honest and say that as a cyclist, I felt exactly the way the OP did, but now after driving to work every day for the last six months, I’ve noticed that the cyclists in Berlin take ridiculous risks and to top it off, they’ve got a kid on the bike WITH NO HELMET. That just boggles my mind.

I want to get a dash cam to document that craziness I’ve been seeing just in the last six months. Many of the near accidents that I’ve witnessed have been caused by other cyclists. 

Yes. Some cyclers are riding crazy and you might be able to record them as well. Now let's get back to the topic of this post.

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TBH after not having a car for my 1st 15 years here and seeing how cyclists treat pedestrians I have absolutely no sympathy for em.

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1 hour ago, Pesar said:

Oh. You gotta' see them! But anyways, better to say "very fast" instead. Thanks.

 

"rushing to get ahead of you" - yes, I can imagine that, which in itself is not nice.

 

if you left it at that I get it and would agree it's unnecessary and not cool.

 

I think the biggest problem is the "us vs them" thing.  If you're on a bike, it's the cars/drivers that are insane.  If you're driving, it's the bikes or possibly peds.  Rinse and repeat for whatever scenario.

 

I think we'd see the most improvement if we all just did our best to be safe and respectful towards everyone else no matter our immediate mode of transportation.  

 

I myself prefer public transport more and more as the worst that can happen is someone butts ahead of you to get in/out or someone coughs in your face.  The people watching opportunities are also nice.  Plus the random acts of kindness I regularly witness.  I'm a fan.

 

 

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I found that when commuting to the badlands / redneck territory of south berlin old men in massive high powered cars (aka Herrenwagen) seemed to always take great exception to my yellow high visability rain jacket. They would either drive past way to way to close, try to cut me off at junctions and if the road was narrow and they were coming from the other direction basically try to run me down.

 

I took the jacket off. Problem solved. No idea what that was about and no inclination to risk my life to make a point.

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that's interesting.  I remember a study a while back wherein they discovered that drivers also behaved more aggressively towards riders wearing helmets.

 

I wear black with no helmet.  So far I have had the least problems with cars when on my bike.

 

eta: omg that reminds me of my "worst fellow cyclist" story:

 

I was riding in a clearly marked bike path at a reasonable speed, and just as I was about to pass some guys who had bikes but appeared to be hanging out just talking on the sidewalk, one of them hopped on and cut in front of me without looking.  I yelled in surprise as I swerved madly to avoid him.  He yelled something after me about "klingeln" in slurred, drunken German (I expected the German part, not the slurring).  Whatever.  But no!  He decided to furiously chase me, ringing his bell madly the whole way, while his friends chased him, telling him to cut it out.  I told him he should LOOK before he plowed into the bike lane, but no.  Klingeln klingeln kligeln for 2 km before I finally turned off.

 

GAWD.  really?

 

 

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5 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

that's interesting.  I remember a study a while back wherein they discovered that drivers also behaved more aggressively towards riders wearing helmets.

 

I wear black with no helmet.  So far I have had the least problems with cars.

 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-helmets-attract-cars-to-cyclists/

 

This is a report about the study. It was a sample size of one and the guy cycled around Bath in the UK and found vehicles overtook over three inches closer when he had a helmet.

 

It tallies with my own experience as a cyclist. I also found that when I cycled with a child seat drivers tended to give me even more leeway.

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9 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

I remember a study a while back wherein they discovered that drivers also behaved more aggressively towards riders wearing helmets.

 

It was the overtaking from behind and driving so close that they practically grazed my handlebars that was too much. No jacket and normal business resumed.

 

I also dont wear a helmet for the above reason and I find they affect my hearing. My ski helmet is fine though.

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8 hours ago, Pesar said:

I really like commutation with bicycle. It's fun, sport, almost repair free and always ready, very efficient and low cost. In my way to work everyday, recently I started to see a phenomenon more and more frequently, making me suspicious that these cases are not accidents but a prevalent way of bullying bicycle riders by car drivers.

Funny, I see also bullying from bicycle drivers to pedestrians. They also they they are always "right" just because they are on their lane.

 

8 hours ago, Pesar said:

Some go on rage, insult, yell, show their middle finger or punch the car. 

I've seen it happening several times. First time I saw it, I though, "oh shit, they are going into a nasty fight". But no, people here are like barking dogs: lots of noise, no action!

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Btw, I think most drivers don't deliberately drive closer to helmet wearers, I think it's an instinctive reaction to whether a road user looks vulnerable or not.

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18 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

Funny, I see also bullying from bicycle drivers to pedestrians. They also they they are always "right" just because they are on their lane.

 

I've seen it happening several times. First time I saw it, I though, "oh shit, they are going into a nasty fight". But no, people here are like barking dogs: lots of noise, no action!

Just like in portugal:P

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