The first heckle was as articulate as the second one was incomprehensible, but both were uncalled for.
The first happened in an intersection at 13th & Franklin, north of Cheesman Park.
What you can see in the photograph below is me, northbound, and a silver car, southbound, sitting at the traffic light like the good law-abiding vehicular citizens that we are. This photo also captures another cyclist blowing through the red light and looking quite tickled about it.
The cyclist may or may not have been naked.
I observed the cyclist go by, and continued waiting for the light to change. When I noticed the opposing light begin to change, as shown below, and after noting the lack of cross traffic, I started getting into my saddle and started inching forward. (I had forgotten to downshift approaching the stop, you see, and I knew it would take me a minute to get rolling.)
By the time I had entered the intersection, my light had turned fully green, and as the driver of the silver car also entered the intersection himself, he called out his window to me--both of us, mind you, in the intersection--"You actually let him influence you. That's sad!"
Referring, I believe, to the naked and grinning cyclist who ran the red light, and thereby, I believe, implying that I was submitting to some kind of peer pressure and running a red light.
Were this his assertion, then by his logic, his dumb ass was also running the red light. But the light was green, and-- gah!
It was a statement at such odds with reality that I couldn't even open my mouth to say anything until the car and I were practically a full block away from each other.
I continued to ponder it the whole way home, wondering what I would have said to him had I been given an opportunity to respond.
This one happened at MLK and Franklin. (What's up with Franklin, right?) I was using the aforementioned MLK bike route to get home after work and was on the part of the route where the bike lanes gave way to some sharrows.
This is a two-lane one-way street. I was riding on the sharrows, and as I approached Franklin I looked behind me to check the traffic, because I was planning to change lanes and turn left onto Franklin to continue my ride home.
Behind me in my lane was one car, and in the passing lane next to our left were two cars. I realized I'd probably have to take the next left instead due to having to wait for at least those two cars to pass, and possibly the one behind me.
You know, elementary traffic maneuvering stuff.
The two cars to in the passing lane passed, and then the one behind me laid on the horn, kind of straddled to the two traffic lanes, and started to pass me.
I started to shake me head at the driver, hoping to convey the fact that he was in error, that I was doing nothing wrong, that I was disappointed in and a little embarrassed of his behavior.
It was a loaded head shake.
As he pulled up along side me, I made eye contact with him, hoping to really drive home the full effect of my poignant head shake, at which point he leaned in and kind of shook his fist a little and yelled, "Mufuckin shit ass, here!"
In answer to which I scolded him lamely, "No! That's wrong!"
I was referring not to his grammar and diction, but to his overall response to the situation.
He sped on and turned right at the next block, eager--I assume--to get out from under my scornful gaze and sad head shake.
And so that was the trifecta of Angry Motorist responses. I got a honk, a low grade buzz (he was half in my lane), and a cussin. The only thing missing was having something thrown at me, which thankfully I have never experienced.
Still, I was about as mad as I've even been after a traffic encounter, and I commented to myself that if I didn't flip him the bird for this--and I did consider it--then I'm just not a traffic birder. I am a head-shake-of-disapproval-er, which is far more lame, but which is probably safer in its lameness in that it will probably always fail to incite further action from an angry motorist.