Motorcycles & Cars: "Us vs. Them" attitude? - TwoWheelForum: Motorcycle and Sportbike forums
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 07-15-2011, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Motorcycles & Cars: "Us vs. Them" attitude?

tl;dr inc, but I'd like some feedback:

I don't drive motorcycles. I like to think I'm not biased. You can never just say "I'm not biased" and be honestly certain it's true; otherwise I would. I really have an open mind and try to see everything from both sides of the fence. I'm only posting this on a motorcycle forum because the particular incident I had was with a motorcyclist, and well, I want to sort of get to the bottom of why this guy acted the way he did. And I think the best way to figure it out is to ask people who own motorcycles and see if they can possibly explain this guy's thought process and if there's any legitimate reason for the way he acted. Trust me, I have many many more incidents per capita with car drivers on the roadways. I've never -ever- had an issue with a motorcyclist until today. I asked my fiancee about it and she wrote it off as simple rage, which is a lot more simple than what my guess was.

It was ~11:30 pm and I was pulling into a local fast food joint's drive thru. The line was short; just one car in line, already placing their order. I, in my car, slid right up behind him. As I was sliding in, I noticed a biker coming up pretty fast along the building, to my left. I noticed him well before I got to my end point, but it's one of those situations where say, you and another person both pull up to a stop sign, and you can pretty much tell who got there first 95% of the time and both parties know who's going to be leaving the intersection first and who's going to be the one that waits. That's what we were dealing with here. I was visibly "going to get there first", and this guy must not have wanted to surrender so easily.

My entry angle was coming away from the building and crossing over the yellow line into the drive thru lane. Due to an awkward median I had to drive around, that's the angle you have to take to get into the line if it's that short (if the line's long, you'd have to keep going and go around the whole building to get to the back of the line). Anyway, enough setup. I clearly was going to get there first, and I saw this guy accelerate a bit, maybe he thought he still had a shot and that he could catch me off guard while I might've slowed to a crawl and he could slip in - maybe he was just frustrated that someone got in line ahead of him when he didn't expect it when he started his journey - either way, it didn't end up close, I saw his headlight and realized that if I just continued at my normal speed until I got in line there was no way in hell he could even come close unless he literally hit my car with a head of steam.

Apparently he didn't see it the same way. After I halt and put it in park to wait, I feel a weird vibration throughout my whole car. That's somewhat normal, so I just ignored it, but it went away quickly - it usually persists for a while. Then it came again. I look in my driver-side mirror, and this gentleman is ramming the back of my car with his front tire. He didn't hit me due to accelerating. He stopped, then made the conscious decision to bump into my car repeatedly.

At this point, I have no idea what to make of this situation. I know the next step is for me to get out of the car, I mean I can't just ignore it, he could be doing damage back there and I'd want get his plate number and a visual description. No reason to start a fight yet though, need to survey the situation a bit more. So I get out and I ask him why he's ramming me. He said he wanted to get my attention, then he starts talking about the fact that I "cut him off". I said that I couldn't possibly have cut him off because I got there pretty far ahead of him, he had no "right of way" or any reason for me to yield to him like you would if you were turning onto a road with oncoming traffic. His focal point of the issue was the yellow line indicating the drive thru lane. He went on and kept speaking of this yellow line, this holy yellow line, as if God had come down himself and hand-painted it and that all motorist should obey it at all hours of the day, every day.

What's the yellow line actually for? It's a guide for the vehicles, and its effective length is equal to the total length of vehicles in line to order, even though it is painted basically around the whole building. Do you see what I'm saying here? There was one car at the speaker placing their order. I violate no traffic laws, social rules, or anything else by crossing over the line to get behind the guy who's ordering.What I did is EXTREMELY COMMONPLACE at this particular fast food place. THE VAST MAJORITY of vehicles that go to this restaurant's drive thru do the exact same thing I did, just because of the natural flow from the highway's turn-off all the way to the speaker where you order. I cannot stress this enough. It's not even about me making an assumption, it's just a fact that can and will always be cars coming in this way. It's an inevitability of the situation.

Back to the argument: I managed to get an answer as to why the motorcyclist was ramming my car with his front tire. First off, he questioned my use of the word ramming. Then, he said he wanted to get my attention. I asked why he didn't just yell, he was literally less than 15 feet away, you can easily hear a yell through a closed car window. He said he thought I wouldn't hear him. So I'm like, "Did you damage my car?" He said no, and I went back to check. Just a couple scuff marks on my bumper.. my car is entirely black so it was very hard to see, I had to hold my phone up to it to see the exact points where the rubber made contact with my car. Nothing big. But I felt absolutely violated, as I'm sure many of you would, that someone crossed that line (no pun intended) and did something like that - making direct intentional contact with another person's vehicle while they are inside it.

This guy went on to mention that motorcyclists don't have a lot of protection on the road, and that the have to look out for ourselves. This is literally the only thing he did all night that really pissed me off. Really? You're trying to play that victim card? First off, even IF there were a chance in the world that I cut you off in a way that threatened your safety as a law-abiding (and speed-limit obeying, which he wasn't) rider, I don't see it acceptable under any circumstances to make forceful contact with another person's vehicle, even if you just want to get their attention. So I crossed over a yellow line whose only purpose is to serve as a guide for vehicles when numerous vehicles are involved. It's not like I cut into his lane. He really felt that I did though. And maybe it's just an isolated incident where this guy doesn't understand what rules of the road do and don't apply to fast foot parking lots, what the effective length of God's yellow line is when there's only one car in the line to begin with,

My analysis? It all stemmed from an "Us vs. Them" motorcyclists vs the rest of the world mentality. I'm pretty sure that the reason of reasons why he didn't bat an eye before ramming his vehicle into mine. It was more convenient for both of us for him to yell. At least when you get a yell you know the situation hasn't escalated to anything physical.

I'll admit I don't understand half of what you guys go through on a daily basis out on the road, but I really feel like I shouldn't even have to ask this question: Is what this guy did reasonable at all? Is it at all a normal reaction for a motorcyclist to use their vehicle to physically prod at a car belonging to someone they want to voice an opinion with? To reiterate: I'm very prone to seeing flaws with both parties on both sides of any given argument. I'd be equally irked if it was a car ramming into me to get my attention. Again, I'm only posting here seeking opinions because this guy clearly stated that "Us motorcyclists have to look out for ourselves" and I thought that was a really smug rationalization for this sociopathic behavior he was exhibiting in ramming into my car, but I'm always willing to welcome conflicting opinions. So what do you guys think? Isolated case of road rage where this guy was just frustrated that someone got in line before him, OR is there any aspect of being a "motorcyclist" that causes people to be hypersensitively defensive to the point where they ram their bike into a car to get the driver's attention just to make a point that lines should be obeyed as if he might've perceived me to be a reckless driver?

Oh and just a side note, at one point I asked this guy if he entered from the highway. This was sort of a setup, seeing how you can only enter from the highway. He said no, he came from the parking lot. Yeah, uh, okay. Unless his motorcycle happened to spawn out of the dumpster behind the building, AT ONE POINT he had to have entered from the highway. But he did insist that he cumulatively drove around the building all within the yellow line for the length of the entire yellow line. So you can get an idea of what God's yellow line represents with this picture:

(I'm the red X, he's the purple X). To put a sense of time into this picture, he was in the middle of making that turn around the southwest corner of the building when the front half of my car came into the line of sight with his bike (when my face was such that I could just look right at him and look at the ground between us and there was no median).
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