How to react to an aggressive driver when you are on a bike

It is abundantly clear that many drivers are not too keen on sharing the road with bicyclists. This was evident in January in the Bay Area when a car hit a 14-year old on his bike and then dragged him for four blocks before driving away without stopping to make sure the boy was okay. The teen was in critical condition but survived the crash.

Bicyclists need to be cautious any time they get on the road. There are plenty of drivers out there who will not give you enough space or actively try to psych you out. It is vital to understand how to deal with these drivers, so you can avoid a bike accident

Do not engage

The best thing you can do with an aggressive driver is to ignore him or her. The other driver likely wants to get a reaction out of you, and you should not provide the satisfaction. Instead, you should get away from the car if you are able to, even if that means pulling over temporarily until the vehicle passes. You may feel frustrated that the driver yelled at you, but you need to be the bigger person. 

Record any interactions

Many bicyclists around Oakland have begun to ride with GoPro cameras on their helmets. This allows them to record any interactions in the event that the driver leaves the vehicle. If you do not have a GoPro, then you should have your camera phone ready in the event that a driver accosts you. 

Obey all traffic laws

One huge reason why motorists become frustrated with bicyclists is that bicyclists break traffic laws. For example, a bicyclist may blow through a stop sign while all cars have to stop. Even though you may feel it is safe to not brake at a stop sign, you should still do so. When motorists see you following the same rules, they are more likely to treat you with respect. 

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David G. Smith, Attorney At Law
2201 Broadway
Penthouse 1
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: 510-431-2598
Fax: 510-893-2701
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