Saturday, August 8, 2015

Shaken and stirred...

Last week I had a very unsettling experienced and it has stayed with me...
I am still trying to make sense of it.

It's something that has completely blind sided me
and left me quaking...

I was driving in my car...a Volvo estate, along a quiet street in Oak Bay.
 In case you are not familiar with these cars they are a very sturdy and heavy vehicle.

I was driving at 40 km, which is the new speed limit in our residential areas of town, 
when and I passed a cyclist.
The next thing I heard was shouting and swearing.
 When I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw the cyclist racing up to my window.

He was shouting and swearing saying I had clipped the mirror on his handle bar.
I said "oh my goodness I am So Sorry if I hit you I am SO very sorry."
"Are you OK?"
(I felt and heard nothing inside the car even though the windows were wide open)

He said "You are NOT SORRY"
"You are a terrible driver!"
"You were going too fast and passed me between two parked cars!"

I said "I am Sorry if I clipped your mirror."
"I didn't think I had passed that close to you."

By this time he was red in the face, and still yelling so I suggested that we call the police.
He was having none of this and yelled at me as he sped off...
"Respect the bike, Respect the bike!"

He then rode right through the stop sign and swerved onto the road ahead...
my heart was pounding and I was shaken.
I looked around for witnesses and saw no one.
I slowly drove away looking to see if he was in sight.
He was nowhere to be seen.

As soon as I got home I got on the phone to the police and made a full report...
I explained how shaken up I was by this event.
It was all the yelling and swearing that had me so upset.
I was not even sure that my car came in contact with his mirror but if it did I wanted them to know.
(I looked at the passenger side of my car and could find no evidence of any marks or scratches)

The report was filed and within the hour I received a call from the Police...

The previous week there was a report exactly like mine...
a driver reported a cyclist who intimated that his bike had been hit 
the driver had no idea or evidence to that effect
an apology was forthcoming ~ despite lots of shouting from the cyclist.
The driver had filed a report with the station and the cyclist had not.

The officer assured me that I was right to report the event and counselled me not to lose any sleep.

I consider myself a very careful driver and I look for cyclists.
I obey the speed limits and am very aware of pedestrians.
I drive defensively...

Now I am left uncertain, shaken and wondering...
and I'll never know for sure.

Sitting with a mug of Lapsang Souchong Tea
on my wee patio
by the back door

listening to the birds
watching the bees flit from flower to flower
trying to make sense of this event.

What have I learned from this?
I'll never know if my car clipped his mirror...
but one thing for sure is that I'll be on the look out for this same cyclist
in case it happens again.

Life is full of unanswered questions...

Thank goodness for the roses...
they are such a cheerful tonic and I hope in time this feeling of unease will fade.

Hope you enjoy your weekend.


  1. You encountered a person with an agenda of his own as evidenced by the previous police report. I'm glad no harm came to you from this unbalanced individual. Yes it's hard to shake things like this, take solace in your own peaceful world, and as they say, carry on!

  2. What a horrible experience. Unless you were listening to something that was turned up very loud it seems impossible that you wouldn't have heard anything. And that someone else recently reported the same type of incident??? I think you encountered a weird person. I know how you feel, I hate any type of confrontation.

  3. I seriously doubt you "clipped" anything. When one is driving, especially with open windows, one is aware of ANY contact made with something else, even a tiny branch scratching. He was hideous, as so many people are these days. So much madness, all accompanied by our 24/7 news cycle which ONLY tells us awful things. Your flowers are lovely, and the way you posted your photographs in this post made reading so nice. Get him out of your mind, enjoy the weekend, turn the music up real loud & DANCE !!

  4. How upsetting! This person obviously has some "axe to grind." I am always aware of cyclists especially if they are "teetering" or passing parked cars. Unless you were distracted, you would have noticed if you "clipped" something. Your flowers look lovely. I hope that you feel reassured.

  5. I m so sorry you had such a distressing experience. Even if you did clip his mirror .... which I feel sure you didn't, he didn't have to be so rude and abusive. I can imagine how upset you felt.
    You definitely did the right thing contacting the police and it sounds as though you were given the best advice! Try not to worry ... we shouldn't let angry people have such an effect on us!
    Concentrate on the many things that make you happy and bring a smile to your face!
    Take care, Rosie

  6. I am so sorry you encountered a road bully. I don't believe for one minute you actually hit the bicyclist's mirror. You would have known! I hope you can put this behind you soon. Hugs!

  7. Sounds like you didn't clip him. Maybe he had a bad experience previously and never reported it, and it is now haunting him and making him a bit paranoid.

  8. My mother, my walking partner, and I all have had very bad experiences with insane bicyclists who do not obey the traffic laws or follow the rules of the road. The fact that he ran a stop sign indicates that he either has little respect for rules or poor impulse control or both. Try not to second guess yourself; you most likely did nothing wrong, as the bicyclist was probably trying to squeeze between automobiles, and that is why you did not see him.

  9. Your garden is lovely! That another responsible citizen reported a similar incident is telling. Don't waste another thought on that bizarre biker.

  10. How horrible! I, too, am sure you did nothing wrong. Please take comfort in the fact that someone else reported the same type of occurrence. That adds credence to your thought that you really didn't hit him. Sending hugs to you.

  11. I'm so sorry this happened to you, but especially in light of the similar police report, it sounds as though you may have encountered someone who is emotionally unbalanced or has some sort of agenda. Hopefully the anxiety over this encounter will fade soon. I'm sure you are a vigilant and careful driver!

  12. I know this is upsetting, but I agree with the others: you would known if you clipped his mirror. His mirror would have fallen off and you would have scratch marks on the side of the vehicle. Sounds more like an insurance scam (I worked in insurance claims). You could have been target due to the fact you drive a high-end vehicle. If you were at fault, most people would have stayed for the police to come. The police don't think you are at fault as you didn't receive a ticket. The cyclist has the problem not you!

  13. I find it very interesting that another driver had a similar experience with a cyclist. What is going on --- with cyclists??? You did everything right. Be assured.

    Last week I had an odd experience with motorcycles. I stopped at a 4-way intersection and was first in a line of many cars. My light turned green and to my surprise,a motorcycle pulled up to block the intersection and he waved-on 25 additional motorcycles through the red light.. They ran their red light and I sat in shock with the green light until all motorcycles passed.

    What is wrong with people?

    1. You're a darling but I've got to say that anytime a bike has a conflict with a car, bike wins. You're in a huge machine that can kill in an instant . . . bikers are trying to use the roads at an enormous disadvantage. Fear causes people to act like that . . . you were shaken by the biker's emotional response, but how does that stack up against the fear of a real injury? Driving safely from a motorist's perspective is a far cry from driving safely from the perspective of a pedestrian or biker. So glad that you're taking it to heart. I love your blog!!!

  14. I am so sorry you had such a horrible experience with a bicyclist. Unfortunately, this kind of road rage with bicyclists and motorcyclists is very common in my neck of the woods (San Francisco Bay area) as well. Motorcyclists are allowed to ride between freeway lanes here which is very nerve wracking. You did the right thing. Next time, keep your windows rolled up and keep a copy of the police report in your car in case you run into the bicyclist again and have to contact the police. Have their number ready on your cell phone. I have personally had a bad experience with a motorcyclist on the Santa Cruz coast. I'm very cautious. I don't travel that stretch of road anymore by myself. Maybe also try to walk to the shops next time if you can and keep your eye out for him. Maybe you may be able to find something out about him which may be useful. He may have been targeting not only your car, but you as well. If it's legal where you live, purchase some mace to carry in your handbag. When driving, keep the mace near you. If it comes to that, tell him very calmly and loudly three times that you have mace and will use it. Good luck and be safe.

  15. I'm sorry to hear you are upset by this bizarre encounter. Being verbally abused is always stressful, especially when you didn't do anything wrong! From your description of the "event," I feel sure this guy is unbalanced and making it all up. Obviously the police think so. Since your life is generally free of violently angry, crazy people, it will take time to recover. Kudos to you for reporting this incident! You were extraordinarily generous in your willingness to accept potential responsibility. You were then rewarded by learning this nut bullied another innocent motorist. The police clearly believe you are innocent, and I hope you are not attacked, verbally or otherwise, ever again.

    I love your blog, btw.

  16. I would never have thought of reporting such an event to the police but obviously, you did the right thing The fact that someone else had the same misadventure shows that it had nothing to do with you but rather with an unsettled young man who might have had some kind of accident once and now bears a grudge against drivers. Don't worry about it ! xx

  17. I'm so sorry this happened to you. What an unsettling experience. My guess from reading this, and especially after reading that the cyclist had done this previously, is that what you had an encounter with was a mental health issue, not a bicycle mirror.

  18. I'm sorry you had an experience like that, and hope you get your balance back soon.
    Mary Lou

  19. In the United States about half the states require a motorist to allow 3 feet when passing a bicycle. In Pennsylvania the law is to allow 4 feet when passing a bicycle.

    Google "safely passing bicycles" if you like for information.

    My husband and two daughters ride bicycles in traffic and I worry about them. I no longer ride in traffic but walk and take the bus instead. A cute girl on a bicycle without a helmet held up our bus because the driver would not pass her. There just wasn't room and he is a professional driver. She was not going very fast. :)

    I hope this helps us all avoid a tragedy.

    You are wise to be concerned and I am SO sorry you were yelled at. How awful for you!

    I wish you great joy and much peace.

  20. Whoa! That kind of verbal attack after an apology is abusive. You're the victim in this situation, and you did the right thing in reporting the incident to the police.

  21. Sounds like you encountered a jackass. Think of how it feels to the driver to run over even a pebble. No way that you could hit someone and have no idea. Wouldn't be surprised if this man is hoping for a viral video of a motorist yelling things about cyclists at him. I admire you for calling the police and hoping to own up to whatever wrong doing you were worried had happened. I also wouldn't be surprised if you drive down that street a few more times and saw him waiting. Hope you're not still feeling down over this!

    1. PS- title of this post had me thinking-you deserve a martini! Just make sure your errands are done for the day :)

  22. That's so upsetting Leslie!! I'm sorry.
    Sounds like an unstable person. Those type of people frighten me, which is what I think they intend. I'm very glad you called the police!!
    Please try to relax if you can and put it into a distant part of your memory.

  23. Holy Smokes, how frightening. I would have needed more than a cup of tea, after a fracas like
    I'm sure you would have know if you had actually clipped him. He is likely mentally unstable,and has a hate on for cars.
    I live in dread of hitting a cyclist. They all come up from the city to cycle the rolling hills of King Township, and they take over the roads where I live. I usually drive ten km over the speed limit and it always astounds me that they cycle in the middle of these hilly roads where you can't see if there is oncoming traffic. They give me angry looks and act entitled to be in the middle of the road. You wouldn't believe the trash our farm manager picks up from the hikers and cyclists. Lots of Tim Horton bags for some reason.

  24. I can understand how you feel. I had a similar incident years ago. I was traveling, in a car, down a road and had a green light to turn right. I turned slowly and proceeded on. I had someone in the car with me. I had seen no one on a bike. As I went down the street I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a person on a bike screaming at me. I pulled over to see what I had done. He came up to my vehicle - screaming "you didn't see me!!!" I said yes and started to apololgize for whatever I had done - guessing that I must have cut him off somehow. He screamed and screamed - took his water bottle and squirted it all over the inside dashboard (not hitting me, but I think he intended to). Then he sped off. This haunted me for a long time and I was very shaken. The other person in the car had seen nothing either. I am for bikes, but sometimes the people riding them seem to forget that they are small and hard to see. And, in a car there are blind spots that can hide a biker. Drivers of cars are responsible for being careful, aware and on alert, but so are people riding bicycles. I was so afraid I would see this person again, but I never did. I remember that I told my niece about the incident and she told me she told the story as a funny story at a party. I was humiliated that she did that, as I did not feel it was funny at all! I felt terrible about it. Don't know if this helps, but you are not alone!

  25. What a disturbing experience! I hope you have managed to put this behind you, or at least find comfort in the fact that you did go to the police and they were familiar with a similar situation, here is hoping they find this reckless cyclist. All the best, Luciana from Edmonton.

  26. You had a nasty and all too common encounter with a Bike Bully.
    I agree with your other commenters. His harsh reaction suggests one of two things- either this happens to him often, which calls into question his biking safety skills, or he's got some mental issues. You did the right thing and earned the right to a martini and to not give him a second thought.

  27. Oh no! You poor thing. That would shake up my day for sure. One year I drove to the store in a neighbouring village and parked up. I saw a cyclist driving along the road towards me but I thought I had plenty of time to park up before he got to the same spot of road, and when I got out of my car he started yelling at me that I almost had him off his push bike. I was nearly in tears by the time I got home and Robert hugged me and told me that I probably just ran into the village idiot, so I'd like to suggest that it might help if you think that maybe you did too. There's no helping some people. Big hugs, and I hope the bad memory fades quickly.

  28. Oh dear hostess, I’m so sorry to hear about this horrible incident, he was downright rude and aggressive. I know how that makes you feel, it’s almost like a physical attack. You would know if you had clipped his bike, it would have made some sort of sound. Thank goodness you reported it, it sounds as if he is a serial complainer or mentally ill, especially as the police had had another report identical to yours.
    I hope your pretty roses and a cup of tea helped to calm your nerves. Try not to dwell on it x

  29. Bikers are supposed to obey the "rules of the road" the same as cars, but it seems that all the responsibility is on the driver of the car, rather than the biker. We have so many "bike bullies" here in LA, weaving in and out of traffic, banging into side mirrors or fenders and then blaming the driver. It's all so unnerving. Really sorry that this happened to you and hope you're feeling better now. I'd have come home straight to a martini as well!

  30. wow, so many people have had bad experiences with bicycle riders. They can be very trying and hard to maneuver around and some of them do seem to take advantage of the road. I just creep around them I'm so worried about hitting someone. I think when someone yells at you its very upsetting, just give yourself time to process it. That garden must help.

  31. Very sorry to hear of your bad experience. I don't think this is so much about bike riders as about someone with a mental health issue who happens to ride a bike. You did the right thing by calling the police.

  32. I live in an area where road biking and mountain biking are MAJOR sports. There are many 'good' bikers who follow the biking rules of the road and some who don't. What I have learned is to always have my cell phone handy in the car, and whenever there even MIGHT be a problem, I quickly take some pictures. (I was in a parking lot, walking up to my car..a woman hit my car and started to drive away and I ran over and took a picture of her license plate; so she stopped.) If a person is abusive, get in your car, lock up and take a picture from there. Regardless, don't lose sleep over this.

  33. I carry a small video camera (looks like a cell phone) I purchased inexpensively from Costco.
    Maybe he will think twice about his actions and words when he's being recorded.

  34. Hi Hostess - I bet you didn't touch him or his bike. Years ago, I was biking in Vancouver, and a car came up behind me & the mirror clipped my handlebars. I was spun around & me and the bike ended up some distance away on the grassy boulevard - facing the opposite direction! The driver stopped and made sure I was ok & we went our separate ways. So I think if you had clipped him, he would have gone flying. I don't think you did anything wrong...