Attempted vehicular homicide

I hesitate to post about this because to do so I have to accept my part of the responsibility for what happened. I do need to talk about it a little though so I’m going to. Obviously, it’s hard to be objective about one’s own failings, but I’ll try to be as honest and up-front about what happened as I can be, considering my perspective.

I’ve often joked about cage drivers “trying to kill me” while I’m out riding. I’ve never really meant it literally…only that they were figuratively trying to kill me by driving like idiots and/or not paying attention to what’s going on around them.

This morning, however, for the first time, I had someone literally attempt to commit vehicular homicide on me.

Here’s what happened:

I was traveling south toward the interstate on a large, three lane road.

I went through the light at the top of this picture in the middle lane. I needed to get to the ramp onto the highway, but traffic was bumper to bumper and no one was wanting to let anyone in.

Here’s the first thing I did that contributed to the situation. I found a spot in the traffic that my bike would fit into. It was barely big enough, but it was big enough. I matched my speed to the traffic, turned on my turn signal, and moved over. I was probably only about a foot or so ahead of the bumper of the light blue mini-van I cut off. In my defense, they were being jerks by not letting anyone in and when I got over, I was going the same speed as the rest of the traffic, so I didn’t cause anyone to have to slow down.

But the honest truth is that I cut them off.

What happened next, though, was ridiculous. I reached the exit loop to get onto the highway and started around it. I tend to take curves tight so I was toward the right side of the curve, but well to the left of the line delineating the travel lane.

So, I’m in the bottom loop of this picture, at about the southernmost point of the loop, when I notice the light blue minivan BESIDE ME, to my left, half in the lane and half on the shoulder.

Understandably (at least to me), I didn’t really want a mini-van sharing my lane with me so I reacted. This is my second contribution to the incident: I slowly edged toward him, to try to get him to back off.

I got closer and closer and he edged to his left, but there’s a guard rail there so he could only go so far. I expected him to get nervous about the guardrail and back off.

Nope. In stead of backing off and getting to where he should have been, he swerved toward me and sideswiped me.

It was more of a bump than anything else and, of course, his 3,000 lb mini fan had no problem pushing my 900 lb bike over a little.

I was never in danger of losing control, and it happened too fast for it to really scare me…but boy did it piss me off.

I think the look on my face told him he’d gone just a bit too far and he immediately backed off.

When we got onto the interstate, I worried about getting into the traffic safely first so by the time I got onto the highway and looked for him, he was WAY back behind me. So far that I couldn’t pick him out in the traffic in my mirrors. Apparently he’d wanted some separation and had entered the highway very slowly.

I drove for a minute or two and then decided that I wanted to at least get the guys license plates…I couldn’t exactly force him to pull over from my bike, but if he decided to pull over for a “discussion” about what happened, I’d be VERY happy to oblige him.

With that in mind, I signaled, and pulled off onto the shoulder. It was a good 15 seconds before he passed, but I saw him go by, signaled again and accelerated back into traffic.

Coming from a dead stop like that, I had to get into the center lane to catch back up with him. He obviously saw me coming and did what every brave cager who tries to use his vehicle as a weapon of revenge against someone who cuts him off: he suddenly and very frantically decided he needed to take the exit he was passing.

I was still in the center lane and didn’t have time to safely follow him into the exit, so I just let him go.

I needed to get to work anyway. Not a good idea to chase someone down when you’re pissed enough to stomp a mud-hole in them anyway. I’m not real fond of the idea of going to jail for assaulting someone, no matter how badly they needed it.

Granted, I contributed to the situation by my actions, but that guy flat out could have killed me. If I’d been less experienced, or on a smaller bike, I could have easily lost control when he bumped me, and been run over by the trailing traffic. I don’t think assault with a deadly weapon is a suitable response to being cut off in traffic, do you?

I’m not really looking for any reassurances or critiques from my readers, I know full well what I did wrong and I know full well that, had the guy pulled over and any type of altercation ensued, I’d have had to have accepted my part of the blame. I’m mainly looking to just vent about it.

I simply have a difficult time believing that any rational human being would INTENTIONALLY endanger someone else’s very life over something so trivial as being cut off in traffic.

I will be looking out for this guy. He’s a coward who feels empowered when behind the wheel of a 3000 lb lethal weapon and that’s a dangerous combination. Hopefully, I’ll never see him again…and if I do, he’ll be willing to just ignore me as I will him. But if we do happen across each other again and he chooses to get froggy, I’ll be ready and he won’t be happy with the outcome.

BTW: in case anyone is wondering…both me and my bike are fine. He did hit my left highway peg hard enough to move it, so hopefully he at least got a nice dent for his stupidity, but my bike (and body) is well protected by engine/saddlebag guards so I had no damage or harm at all.

11 thoughts on “Attempted vehicular homicide

  1. You didn’t do anything wrong, he was just being a first class jerk. There is a construction zone at Mt.Vernon IL now where two interstates merge and then go down to one lane. Most of the time it works ok, but is very slow. I had to ease in ahead of a semi recently, and he didn’t like it, and made repeated run-ups on my bumper; then he ran a mini-van off of the road who was needing to merge. Glad you are OK.

  2. I had a similar scare, without the bump. Reported the incident to a motorcycle cop buddy of mine who spent the next week camping that stretch of road. When he found the guy (very distinctive vehicle) he did what good cops are supposed to do.

    I hope you get some real justice, and aren’t forced to endanger yourself any further. Really glad you are ok.

  3. if you pulled in front of me with a foot to spare, i would consider you not only homicidal but suicidal as well,

    and would likely rise to accomodate you.

    you are the f’ing arse ‘ole.

    it is your LEGAL, MORAL, ETHICAL responsibility to merge COMPETENTLY, cautiously, carefully, responsibly with traffic already on the roadway.

    IF you are unable, unwilling to do that – expect what you got.

    igor

    • You’re entitled to your opinion even if it is wrong. Methinks you’re probably not as brave in the meat world as you try to sound while safely ensconced behind a keyboard…if you really were so quick to commit murder upon someone for the grievous offense of cutting you off in traffic, the IP address associated with your comment would have most likely originated from a prison.

      But hey, whatever floats your boat my friend. Who am I to judge? I’m just an f’n a’hole.

      • If you really did cut him off then you did start it. Sorry, you should have waited for the next gap if so.

        But the rest of your story doesn’t seem to take that tone. It sounds more like he was pissed that you found a gap and that meant he lost his divinely ordained following distance.

        That doesn’t sound like “cutting off” to me. But people are going to latch onto that and blame you.

        Can I also suggest dropping the word cager from your vocabulary? It’s the biker equivalent to ‘nigger’ and paints us who do pay attention to those on scoots with an overly broad brush. It’s just irksome. I hated the term when I was riding and nothing over the years has led me like it more.

  4. Allow me to quote from the original post:

    “I have to accept my part of the responsibility for what happened.”

    and

    “Granted, I contributed to the situation by my actions”

    and

    “I know full well what I did wrong and I know full well that, had the guy pulled over and any type of altercation ensued, I’d have had to have accepted my part of the blame.”

    I never denied that I played a part in it. I “started it” as it were (just saying that brings me right back to the second grade…shudder).

    But what I did never placed anyone in danger. heck, no one was even required to slow down to accommodate me…I found a spot I would fit into and fit myself into it.

    The guy I pissed off got pissed off for no other reason than because he was actively trying to prevent anyone from getting into the lane in front of him and it annoyed him that I did so successfully anyway. In other words, he was being a jerk. I responded by being just as much of a jerk and squeezing in where I obviously was not wanted. BTW, there was no other, larger space to fit into, because the whole line of traffic was acting that way…which is actually pretty typical around here. There was traffic in my lane too, it wasn’t like I was trying to “zoom” ahead of a long line that had been waiting, traffic was heavy and after the light, I found myself in the wrong lane…I was just trying to get into the lane I needed and no one would “let” me in…so I let myself in.

    Be that as it may…I admit that I made a poor decision by aggressively fitting myself into a spot in front of someone who obviously didn’t want me to be there.

    So that excuses his actions from that point on? I think not. As I said, I placed no one in danger, nor even caused them to have to vary their speed…in fact, I don’t believe I broke the law in any way because I didn’t interfere with anyone else’s right of way on the road….but I pissed someone off. In retribution, this jerkwad undertook an illegal, highly dangerous action that could have resulted in my death or serious injury.

    Had he pulled a gun out and started shooting at me, would you have excused his actions then? I doubt it. But what he did was virtually the same thing, with the exception of his choice of weapon.

    I accept that I was an ass and deserved to be flipped off, or yelled at and berated. But after that point, everything the jerkwad did in response was solely on him, and had he succeeded in knocking me down and getting me injured or killed, he would have been in jail…pure and simple.

    The fact that he failed in the attempt doesn’t make the attempt any less egregious.

    As far as the “cager” thing…you’re really trying to draw moral equivalence between that and a racial slur? Seriously?

    Should I be offended when a cager calls me a biker? That was originally intended as a slur toward motorcyclists as well…the only difference is that bikers embraced the term.

    I can’t speak to how other people mean it, but as far as I’m concerned, It’s not a derogatory term as much as it is simply a descriptive that’s easier to say or write than “people who drive four wheeled vehicles” or “people who don’t ride motorcycles”. In My Humble Opinion, the fact that you take such offense to it speaks more to your insecurity than it does to my insensitivity.

    But, then again, I’ve never claimed to be the paragon of sensitivity either…so there is that.

  5. Does cager ever mean anything good? Do you ever use it except as an insult?

    Do you apply it to anyone in a car regardless of whether they’ve done you any harm?

    Then it’s a slur and you’re a bigot. It’s especially galling here in that you are, by your own admission, in the wrong because you escalated the situation by being a jerk.

    Goddamn cager had the gall to get pissed because I tried to run him off the road after cutting him off!

  6. Apparently you have reading comprehension issues.

    Or it could just be that your irrational anger over my using that term prompts you to say things to try to get a rise out of me.

    Either way: You don’t know me. You don’t know how I ride. You speak from pure ignorance, so you’ll have to forgive me for not placing too much stock in your opinion of me. It’s simply irrelevant.

    It seems to me (both by your comments here and by the hysterical rant on your blog today) that you’re taking the term “cager” personally because you feel it personally.

    I know a LOT of bikers who ride with much more severe disabilities than a weak ankle. For example: I ride in the Patriot Guard with a guy who is paralyzed from the waist down. He rides a specially outfitted trike on the missions and his wife follows in a van with his wheelchair so he can transfer to that for the flag lines and graveside services.

    I could list example after example, but I won’t waste either of our time.

    The fact is you’re not a biker. If you were, you’d be riding. You’d find a way.

    Most people who are not bikers are perfectly OK with that. They don’t see themselves inferior in any way because they don’t ride. In fact, some of them look at me askance because I do. To each his own.

    Those people, I can call “cager” all day long and they don’t take offense because they don’t see the fact that they don’t ride as a reason to be offended.

    And even if I DID mean it in as terrible and derogatory way as you seem to think: why should you care what I think about you?

    Personally I believe that you WISH you were a biker and you feel bad about yourself because you patently are not. Because of this insecurity and self-loathing, when someone reminds you of the fact that you are not a biker by using the term “cager” you internalize it and choose to take it as a serious insult.

    As serious as a racial slur.

    That, my friend, is an illness. Far be it from me to give you advice, but I’d guess there are effective treatments for such things.

    At any rate, I can’t control your emotions. You choose to get irrationally emotional about a relatively innocuous term. That’s on you, not me. Good luck with that.

  7. In which I apologize:

    Not for the “cager” thing, I still think you’re being irrational about that.

    But in my first reply to you several weeks ago, apparently it was I who had reading comprehension issues. I don’t know what was going on that day, but somehow I interpreted your comment about the incident to be agreeing with the guy who thought the van driver was justified in trying to kill me for cutting him off.

    Upon re-reading your comment, it’s obvious that you were not and that I badly over-reacted on that count. My sincere apologies for that.

    however, I still completely disagree with you about the cager thing and stand by my presumption that your irrational reaction to it (both here and on your blog) indicates self-esteem issues.

  8. Be careful. I am out here in Southern California where road rage is common. Other drivers have attempted to kill me several times. I’ve learned to be very predictable and keep my fingers hidden. That having been said, when someone won’t let me in I usually pull ahead a couple of cars and then merge over, giving the jerk the unpleasure of watching me end up ahead. It is a simple pleasure and much safer than eeeeeking out a space in front of someone who you already know is less than courteous.

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