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Old 06-21-2002, 04:01 PM
xs11 xs11 is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
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Post Encounter with Road Rage i.e. Let the Wookie win

Encounter with Road Rage
by Joseph Zulaski

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Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998

Well, I was almost killed yesterday on my way home from work. I had ridden the ST into work and was leaving early to start the New Year off right. It was about 3:30pm and pretty sunny in an overcast kind of way.

I was following a dark RX-7 down a windy hill into the Snoqualmie valley. We were both going under the speed limit of 35 mph as there was a lot of sand on the road still from the DMV's attempts to icy slick road dangers. In the back of my mind, I was aware that there was a vehicle behind me (I remembered seeing headlights in my rear view mirror) butt wasn't paying much attention to it.

We came to a stop sign at the intersection of Redmond/Fall City road. The RX-7 and I were both signaling to turn left.

All of a sudden, the vehicle behind me roared past my right shoulder so close that if I had put my arm out, I would have hit his side mirror. This startled me so I turned to see what it was. There, in the drivers side window, was some redneck flipping me off and screaming at me. He went past me to the stop sign and pulled into the right gravel shoulder and signaled a right turn. All the while screaming at us and flipping us both off.

I watched in amazement as my right hand automatically raised itself and answered the one-fingered challenge. The irate truck driver (did I mention that this was a large full sized 4x4 extra cab type truck?) flew into a rage at the sight of my glove clad finger and increased his yelling and gestures (if that is possible).

Then, to my chagrin, he slammed that really big, big truck into a gravel spinning full acceleration reverse gear and jumped towards me. He was within 15 feet, aimed directly at me when he slammed on the brakes and then slammed it into drive again. The next thing I know, I'm being showered with large chunks of gravel and very large rocks. Then he slams on his brakes again at the stop sign and renews his gestures and screaming.

I decided, probably a little late, to push for peace and started raising my hands in a manner that suggested a question. Like, "what did I do buddy?" His reply was more unintelligible screaming and gesturing. So, I repeated my questioning gesture.

Then the jerk slams the truck into reverse AGAIN. This time accelerating even faster toward me and the RX-7 stopping even closer this time. I had been ready to move this time as I really felt he was going to run me down. The ONLY place I could go was to the left of the RX-7 butt there was another car turning into the lane to the left of him so it would have been a close squeeze. Fortunately, the maniac in the truck did stop. He repeated his gravel throwing, tire spinning, insult by really flooring the accelerator. This time there were so many rocks and dirt flying up that I could hardly see. Several rocks bounced off my head and shoulders (there's a couple of dings in my helmet now). The truck then made the right hand turn and roared off.

I made a quick, spur of the moment, decision and took off after him to the right. No, I was not going to chase him to challenge him. I was heading to the Fall City Police station just down the road. As I caught up with the maniac, I could see him watching me in his rear view mirror. I quickly memorized his license number and started repeating it to myself "A54114C, A54114C, A54114C...". Then, he suddenly pulls over to the right gravel shoulder and slams on his brakes. I just passed him by accelerated up to 65mph (the speed limit being 55mph). My chest was pounding and my arms were starting to shake by then.

The next few minutes seemed like hours until I finally got into Fall City. The crazed truck driving maniac was right behind me the whole way and I couldn't outrun him as there was a lot of traffic right in front of me. The traffic probably saved me. Then I saw it, a sign saying "Police, next right". I turned off at the next right and the truck driver swept past me. I pulled over to the shoulder to make sure he continued on and then proceeded to the Police station to report an incident of Road Rage.

Much to my surprise, the driver of the RX-7 pulled in right along with me. He had seen everything and had guessed what I was going to do. He decided to assist me if I needed it and had turned right also. We compared notes to see if we could figure out why the guy was so enraged. All we could come up with is that we were going slow down the hill. Still, we both felt that he had gone a bit overboard (understatement).

We both went in and reported the incident. Later that night, an officer visited me at my home to get the full report. He admitted that they couldn't guarantee that anything would be done about this. It's a tough thing to prove and basically is my word against his. There wasn't enough damage to my bike to really prove anything. I am pursuing filing charges of assault and will testify in court if it comes to that.

Lesson learned: It doesn't pay to return the bird at someone while riding a bike. You are just too vulnerable. From now on, I'm Mr. Friendly on the road, no matter how pissed I get.

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What follows are replies from the LD Rider list members. Joseph's text is in italics

> We both went in and reported the incident. Later that
> night, an officer visited me at my home to get the full
> report. He admitted that they couldn't guarantee that
> anything would be done about this. It's a tough thing to
> prove and basically is my word against his.


Bull! You had a witness!

> There wasn't enough damage to my bike to really
> prove anything. I am pursuing filing charges of assault
> and will testify in court if it comes to that.


I'd try for assault with a deadly weapon (which almost any motor vehicle is). Furthermore, this is not a he said - he said proposition - you have got a witness that became involved (Have you though of what might have happened without witnesses?). Try to go back to the scene and gather photographic evidence such as burn out marks on the pavement at angles to the flow of normal traffic.

> From now on, I'm Mr. Friendly on the road, no matter
> how [mad] I get.


The one useful thing I learned from Wreck.moto:

"Let the Wookie win."

I've only come unglued once while on the bike when an ******* (with the jawbone of an ass in his rear window) looked at me, made eye contact, and then swerved into my lane forcing me into the no man's land between opposed lanes on a four lane undivided road. Once out of the path of oncoming traffic I screamed at him till my lugs hurt and cussed like a possessed sailor at the guy. This probably served only to make the experience more edifying for the guy. In retrospect, I should have pulled over until the rage subsided. There is little good that can happen when you are enraged on a bike.

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I have long said that no motorcycle is large enough to carry both a rider AND an attitude. I've enjoyed reading your stuff for a long time but (respectfully) I believe it was a big mistake to have flipped off the truck owner - even (or especially) if he provoked you.

I'm just glad you're alive to tell your story - and that you have a witness.

Yeah, I thought it was very dumb of my arm to lift my hand so that my finger could answer. Iíve have since had a good long talk with that appendage.
 

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