America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

Friday, September 12, 2008

Road Rage 101:

GREAT ARTICLE at Velonews. Thank you Bob Mionske. Here's the meat and potatoes excerpt:

...However, that desire to vent doesn’t necessarily lead to epic road rage. In fact, Dr. James identifies three different types of anti-social behavior that he classifies as road rage:

Passive-Aggressive road rage: “A passive form of resistance that is expressed by ignoring others or refusing to respond appropriately. The intent of passive-aggressive road rage is to be obstructionist and oppositional.” An example of passive-aggressive road rage would be the driver who steadfastly observes the speed limit in the “fast lane,” despite the speeding drivers immediately behind who are signaling their desire to go faster by tailgating and flashing their lights. In the road rage incidents we witnessed this summer, the Critical Mass riders who refused to let the Seattle driver named “Mark” reverse direction and leave were exhibiting the passive-aggressive form of road rage behavior
Verbal road rage: “The habit of constantly complaining about the traffic, keeping up a stream of mental or spoken attacks against all drivers, passengers, law enforcement officials, road workers, pedestrians, speed limits, and road signs. Undoubtedly the most common form of road rage, the purpose of verbal road rage is to denounce, ridicule, condemn, or castigate a rule, an engineer, or another driver.”
Epic road rage: “The habit of fantasizing comic-book roles and extreme punitive measures against another driver, such as chasing, beating up, ramming, dragging, shooting, and killing, sometimes to the point of acting on it.” What most of us think of when we hear the words “road rage,” and thus, what was publicized as road rage in the incidents this summer.

Related to these three types of road rage, Dr. James identifies several types of road rage personality-types:

• Automotive vigilante: “This automotive bully aggresses against other motorists, chosen at random or for some specific reason, with a constant stream of verbal abuse, offensive gestures, and threatening maneuvers with the vehicle, sometimes going to [the] extreme of physical violence. When engaged in a dispute or when confronted by the law, the vigilante motorist will typically deny responsibility and counterattack, feigning victimhood to evade accountability, often with success.” This is the type of road rage many, perhaps most, cyclists have experienced, well before Newsweek discovered “a new type of road rage.” And as we saw this summer, the epic road rage incidents in Brentwood and Kamas both began with the motorist berating the cyclists for being on the road.
• Rushing maniac: “This dysfunctional driving style has two complementary elements. One is an extraordinary need to avoid slowing down. The other is the consequent anger against anyone who causes a slowdown.”
• Aggressive competitor: “Some drivers are so competitive that they need to be in the lead at all times, and feel a sense of loss and rising anxiety if another car passes them.” Now imagine that the “other car” is a bicycle…
• Scofflaw: “A notable feature of the culture of cynicism on the highways is the tendency we have to automatically disregard certain traffic laws, regulations, and signs. We act as if we’re entitled to break regulations whenever we feel like it. Some drivers are compulsively rebellious—for them a stop sign means reduce speed slightly, yield means grab the opportunity when you can, slow means reduce speed only if cops are around, yellow means hurry up and try to make it through, do not pass s for the really weak-hearted, and of course, 35 MPH means 55. We assume we are above the law.” As we can see on any road, this type of road-rager comes in both two-wheel and four-wheel models, and each is the first to point out that the other is a scofflaw.

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