/ Taking on wing mirrors

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Fredt on 10 Nov 2017
Having in the past been ‘brushed’ several times by both oncoming and overtaking wing mirrors, as a cyclist I have often been tempted to take on the beast.
An overtaking wing mirror uses the element of surprise, so nothing much one can do there.
However, there have been many occasions I have seen the oncoming mirror heading inexorably towards me. Evasive action is usually possible, but I have often been very tempted to keep my line and stick out the heel of my hand and bash the mirror back.
I’ve thought about various precautions; bent elbow, acceptable speed, above which the risk is unacceptable, etc.

I have even practiced on my own car (stationary) to get some idea of the forces involved.
Bear in mind this is a purely defensive strategy, I wouldn’t want to start being pro-actively offensive and go looking for opportunities, literally going out of my way.
So, before I embark on this strategy, I thought I’d ask the UKC cycling collective if anyone out there has ever done this and survived?
If so, any hints and tips?
NathanP - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

I think you'd be wise to think of some additional protective gear and some way of extending your reach so you don't need to get so close to the oncoming car. Maybe an arrangement like this. https://goo.gl/mVny4H
Andy Hardy on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

If you have to take time off work as a result of the inevitable head on collision, will your employer be sympathetic?
Siward on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Andy Hardy:

Aye, the hospital beds are full of people telling other patients what an idiot the car driver was...
Greasy Prusiks on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

I'll have to get back to you but I think I remember a line somewhere in the highway code about not trying to punch on-coming traffic.
Hooo - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

I motorcycle courier I used to know was well practiced in the art of removing wing mirrors from moving vehicles that had endangered him.
But, he wore heavy protective clothing....
I would never risk it myself. Too painful and embarrassing if you get it wrong.
Trangia on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

Don't forget, not all wing mirror housings articulate, but the mirror inside them does. You might break your arm/wrist.
cb294 - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

I have done this several times, typically when I am cycling on a road turned single lane because of parked cars on either side, and some arsehole in an oncoming car then decided that they have the right to squeeze through using up all my safety margin, even though I had clearly entered the constriction first.

Just use the palm of your hand, using your fist will hurt your knuckles!

CB
Fredt on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:
> I have done this several times, typically when I am cycling on a road turned single lane because of parked cars on either side, and some arsehole in an oncoming car then decided that they have the right to squeeze through using up all my safety margin, even though I had clearly entered the constriction first.

> Just use the palm of your hand, using your fist will hurt your knuckles!

> CB

This is exactly the scenario I frequently encounter, and I always considered the heel of my hand, using the fist was someone else’s idea.
You have emboldened me.
Post edited at 09:04
GrahamD - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

Well done. Another set of pissed of motorists with a grudge against cyclists.
The New NickB - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

> Well done. Another set of pissed of motorists with a grudge against cyclists.

They really shouldn't be driving if they are pissed!
FactorXXX - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

How about starting off on small vehicles like mobility scooters to get the hang of it and then gradually progress to bigger and bigger ones?
Dax H - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

Best hope the sudden thump as the wing mirror doesn't startle the driver causing a momentary deviation in their direction.
Cheese Monkey - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

Just go the whole way and throw yourself through the windscreen
Dax H - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Hooo:

> I motorcycle courier I used to know was well practiced in the art of removing wing mirrors from moving vehicles that had endangered him.

> But, he wore heavy protective clothing....

> I would never risk it myself. Too painful and embarrassing if you get it wrong.

Being a biker it seems everyone has a tale about taking off a wing mirror or putting the boot in to a door.
I only know 2 people who have actually done it and both were arrested and now have criminal records.
the sheep - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Dax H:

Have to admit there are times when a driver has really pi55ed me off with their dangerous actions and would have loved to do a bit of damage to the vehicle. However with them being protected in their nice metal box and me being on a push bike there is only going to be one winner and it aint me. I usually settle for calling them a fuc**ng c**t and carry on my way ;-)

Francescaparratt - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

I’m a van driver, and when venturing into Hades, also known as London, it’s everyone for themselves.

Clipping your wing mirror against a spandex clad cyclist is actually an Olympic sport, founded in 1962 by a young Russian of the name Runda Cyclisova.
im off - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

Fantastic. You should start writing for viz. Respect.
jkarran - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

> Evasive action is usually possible, but I have often been very tempted to keep my line and stick out the heel of my hand and bash the mirror back.
> I’ve thought about various precautions; bent elbow, acceptable speed, above which the risk is unacceptable, etc.
> Bear in mind this is a purely defensive strategy, I wouldn’t want to start being pro-actively offensive and go looking for opportunities, literally going out of my way.

Defensive strategy, not getting out of the way of an oncoming car so you can break your wrist on it to make a point is a defensive strategy? Have you been hitting the crack pipe or are we not using the same language?

> I have even practiced on my own car (stationary) to get some idea of the forces involved.

WTF!

> If so, any hints and tips?

Perhaps find something more constructive and less criminally stupid to do with your time and energy.
jk
DancingOnRock - on 10 Nov 2017
im off - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

I love that you've practiced on your own car. Brill. I'm gonna try it too. Are your neighbours a bit wary of you now.
Martin W on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:
What I see in that dashcam footage is the driver not stopping until after he'd pulled to the left towards the jogger and the jogger had given his mirror a slap. He didn't "stop to avoid the jogger" - he changed direction towards the jogger, and then stopped after the jogger expressed his displeasure at the manoeuvre. OK, the jogger should perhaps not have reacted in the way he did, but the footage hardly "exonerates" the driver - he chose to endanger the more vulnerable road user by moving towards him, rather than waiting for the oncoming car to go by and passing the pedestrian at a safe distance.

He also looks like a smugly self-righteous old tw@, but that's by the by.

Then again, this happened near Stevenage where the car is king - despite the town itself having been provided with a segregated network of cycle paths from the get-go: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/sep/19/britains-1960s-cycling-revolution-flopped-stevenage
Post edited at 12:59
L Larefia on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

In my younger days I thought it might be funny to flip a traffic cone by tapping it as I passed by on a motorbike at 45mph
Result? Cone went no where, hand actually hit the back of my lid, very amused mate who was following and a badly bruised set of fingers.

Do not underestimate the amount of force involved
the sheep - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Agree, the bloke in the car had not stopped by the time he was passing the runner and chose to move towards him rather than stop which by the looks of it was entirely possible. Dont blame the runner for showing his displeasure but he was daft to lie to the police about it.
trouserburp - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

That article is infuriating!
“Never in my right mind would I jog on that narrow road,” said Vic, a former professional (e.g. van) driver.
Pedestrians have the right to use a road and he was on the correct side and highly visible

“It’s too dangerous. There’s just about room for two cars to pass each other.”
So not enough room to drive between a jogger and an oncoming car then

He said: “I had to avoid the jogger, so I performed an emergency stop – but he kept on running, and he whacked my mirror with his hand before carrying on.”
You kept driving fast into a bend with a jogger on it despite it being too narrow for you to fit if there is an oncoming vehicle then finally braked quite hard when you realised you were causing an accident

Doesn't fully excuse the jogger doing (£290!?) damage to the wingmirror but hardly exonerates the driver
Neil Williams - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

Defensive driving/riding would be to take evasive action.

Deliberately clouting a wing mirror is criminal damage. Two wrongs do not make a right.

You put yourself at risk of legal action and of serious injury or death.

Not clever.
Neil Williams - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to trouserburp:
> Doesn't fully excuse the jogger doing (£290!?) damage to the wingmirror but hardly exonerates the driver

Two offences were committed (one of dangerous/careless driving, and one of deliberate criminal damage), and each should be prosecuted for their own offence.

Two wrongs do NOT make a right. "Revenge" cannot ever be justified; we have a legal system for that.
Post edited at 14:24
the sheep - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

Not sure if its revenge, looks more like a case of "Oi you are too close you tw*t!" I would certainly be making my presence known if it was me.
cb294 - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

Except we manifestly don't, as the police and courts do not give a shit about car drivers deliberately or carelessly endangering cyclists and pedestrians.

They barely can be bothered if the cyclist or pedestrian is actually injured or killed (in which case the driver almost always gets away with a slap on the wrist).

CB
Neil Williams - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to the sheep:
I have done that before (where someone was pulling in on me), and to do it I banged on the window (in such a way that would not cause damage). I did not deliberately damage the wing mirror.
Post edited at 14:43
Rampikino - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

A topic close to my heart as a runner. This lunchtime I am glad to say the cars that came past me (I run facing the oncoming traffic), all gave me enough room, but this is not always the case.

I can say that, as someone who has run around 1300 miles this year, bashing the wing mirror is just not the answer no matter how annoyed you are. Get the licence plate number and tell the Police. Taking the law into your own hands in this way could see you injured, punched or prosecuted and I'm not sure any of it will do your long-term wellbeing any good.

That being said, there have been times where I have been passed so close that I have banged on the car as they passed to let them know that they are putting my life at risk. This is rare, thankfully. I wouldn't be smashing a wing mirror though.

There's also the point about whether the pedestrian has a right to be there or not. As a runner I have been abused by drivers for not running on the pavement and using the road. Sorry, but it's my right to run on the road (unless it is a Motorway etc.) and drivers need to be aware of all potential hazards, including pedestrians. Quite often where I run the pavements are in a terrible state and are not fit to run on anyway - choosing the road is the better option.

That being said, there are 2 notable stretches of road where I simply choose not to run because they are fast, narrow and twisting. Yes, I have the right to run there but in those 2 cases discretion is the better part of valour and the risks of running up and down there are just not worth it to me, my wife or my 2 kids.

I can only suggest that you find a way of expressing your annoyance in a way that doesn't escalate the problem and gives you some sense of satisfaction.

Good luck.
Neil Williams - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Rampikino:

Yes, this.
the sheep - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:
By the time I had cycled home this evening I would quite happily of administered some retribution. 5 incidents in only a 16k commute with 5k of that off road!
Pedro - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Dax H:

I still smile when I remember an impatient driver in a "super car" with the top down. Inching along beside me while I was stationary on my bike at traffic lights. I looked down and said "your scratching my pedal with your door" !! He stopped dead, didn't say anything. I rode away first with no raving next to me. One of my better rides home from work.

P
elliott92 - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Fre

i really do hope you break your arm if you attempt this. you're clearly "one of those" cyclists

BrendanO - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Fredt:

Need to hope that the car driver's lawyer doesn't find this thread when you're in court...
deepsoup - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to BrendanO:
It should be the driver of the car that ends up in court if he's passing cyclists within arm's reach.
Neil Williams - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to deepsoup:

> It should be the driver of the car that ends up in court if he's passing cyclists within arm's reach.

Both should be in Court for their respective offences - criminal damage (cyclist) and dangerous driving (car driver).

Two wrongs do not make a right, and vigilanteism has no place in our criminal justice system.
DancingOnRock - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

Neither should be in court. The courts should be used for serious issues.

Both should have their heads banged together and their toys confiscated.
blurty - on 13 Nov 2017
L Larefia on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to blurty:

I believe a tractor and large sheep trailer is actually the way to do it?

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