Occasional incivility is par for the course, I guess (though I hope we’ll be changing that). Most of the time it is harmless noise that can be shrugged off. But there is one type of territorial noise that sickens me. That is the sound of a child’s voice from a car, yelling at me to get off the road. Sadly, I’ve experienced that quite a few times over the years. I’ve also been harassed by drivers who had children in their cars.

Children do what they see. That includes unsafe cycling as well as obnoxious driver behavior.

8 replies
  1. Eric
    Eric says:

    I’ve had a lot of things happen to me, but I’ve never been yelled at by children. Actually, when they see my “new” English 3-speed, they want to get a closer look.

  2. ToddBS
    ToddBS says:

    I worry about my daughter. Her mother has serious road rage issues and I see it rubbing off. There have actually been occasions where I’m sitting in traffic and my daughter is telling other drivers what they need to do. I’ll give her a look and she’ll say something like “why aren’t you yelling at them?”. I usually answer with “because it isn’t that important”.

    • Eric
      Eric says:

      Maybe not to worry so much about your daughter.

      Both of my parents used to go ballistic about minor matters. It is rather personal, and I’m not going into details what happened when they did lose their temper, but I am sure you know what I mean. People used to say my parents were “strict.” That was a code.

      When I was 15 my dad hooked me up for my first job where Social Security was taken out.

      The man I worked for never lost his temper and I didn’t understand why for a long while. After I understood, it made an impression which still sticks ~35 years later and I also learned that not everything is “wired” before age five as some people say.

  3. LisaB
    LisaB says:

    A few years ago on a group ride in Clermont, a motorist got irritated that we were on the road (though not impeding him in any way), rolled down the window of his jacked-up F350 4×4 and started cussing at us, his young son looking on. Great role model, I thought.

    Then, without missing a beat, the kid rolled down his window and threw an empty beer bottle at us. Both father and son started laughing hysterically.

    Don’t you just love those father-son bonding moments?

  4. Grayson Peddie
    Grayson Peddie says:

    I don’t ever get myself involved if they throw a bottle at me.

    I’ll just ignore that bottle in the road and keep driving my bike if I were you.

  5. Laura M
    Laura M says:

    That’s a really powerful video. In a previous job/career I worked at a community center in a really impoverished part of town (WPB). Most of the kids in our program were good kids with parents struggling to provide for their children and care for them. But we also were a public park and we had kids whose parents didn’t give a damn.

    I remember having 3 siblings playing in our park while our kids were also outside playing. The three sibs were two older sisters and a boy about 5. The 5 yr old was throwing pieces of cinder block at my kids! I kicked them out of the park and told them to go home. The boy unleased with a slew of profanities at me as well as chunks of cinder block at my head and I remember being both amused and dumbfounded to hear such a barage of language from the mouth of a 5 yr old! (I pride myself on my own sailor’s tongue 😉 Anyway, being a public employee but with a little bit of authority I took the child by the arm, separating him from his sisters. He freaked out. It all happened so fast and I realized, now what am I going to do with this child? But I so badly wanted to take him and his sisters aside to teach them something. He began to cry and his sisters screamed at me, but it was a powerful moment for him. I don’t think anyone had ever stopped him from doing anything. I let him go and his bravado came back (more cussing) and he and his sisters left. They never gave me any more trouble.

    I learned a lot in my time working at that community center. I remember coming home at night mentally exhausted. It really opened my eyes about the struggles people went through just to survive.

  6. john
    john says:

    I’m often asked by teachers, coaches and other parents how in this world did my wife and I get our younger sons to be so mature, balanced and happy. I explain it starts on bikes.

    My sons cycle as do my wife and I. One older son (who has been eligible for 12 years to drive) refuses to get a car or a driver’s license. My younger ones continue to cycle to school and homes of friends every day. Ride on my sons and I hope you’ll be able to continue these positive trends with others and your children (when you have them!) too.

    No doubt too many bad habits and behaviors are learned from parents. The trend towards a greater use of cars & SUVs (leading to more road rage & related hysterics) in the last few decades in getting children to school has raised risk levels for all road users. We seriously need more and better support for walking-cycling to school programs to offset years of negative trends.

    William Ruckelhaus in today’s WSJ calls for a New Shade of Green on this Earth Day. “Yesterday’s solutions worked well on yesterday’s problems, but the solutions we devised back in the 1970s aren’t likely to make much of a dent in the environmental problems we face today.” So much accomplished but even more to do… we need to change. And then hopefully our youth we follow the lead of responsible parenting.

Comments are closed.