Interacting with aggressive motorists.
We live in an aggressive world. While not everyone falls into that category, the atmosphere of the world that we live in is aggressive. There are a lot of angry people! As a motorcyclists, we often find ourselves face to face with an intense level of hostility from car drivers, or as we affectionately call them, “Cagers.” Most of us experience their aggressive manner while sharing the road with them, on the daily
Let’s be honest about it. For those of us that live in states where filtering traffic is not legal (yet), and we still split lanes, how many times have you encountered an angry driver? So many times, the driver is mad at you only because you are moving, and they are not. I’ve experienced on many occasions, drivers attempting to close the door on me. Drivers have crossed from one lane to the other, almost hitting the car traveling next to them to prevent or thwart my forward progression. In most of these situations, I take them on the outside, throttle out and go on about my way. I’m taken aback by the level of animosity from people that I have never seen before and most likely, will never see again. They are angry at something or someone else and are seeking targets to take their aggressions out on. Road rage is a real thing.
Before we go further, I want to be clear about something. I am not instructing you, nor am I advising you on how to deal with or handle any engagement that you may encounter with an aggressive driver or any other motorist. This installment is a reminder of your prime directive as a rider, even more so as a rider that is strapped. Your prime directive is to remove yourself from any situation that could result in a tragedy.
When faced with road rage, regardless of the of intensity, I keep it at the forefront of my mind that I have a better chance of putting a significant amount of distance between the aggressor and myself. My first line of self-defense in the face of a threat is my throttle. With a twist of the wrist, I can get the Hell out of Dodge, eliminating the threat’s engagement. Carry a firearm is not about looking for trouble so you can shoot your way out of it. It is about keeping the peace. It is about keeping your peace. If you don’t know or can’t accept this as a truth, you should not carry a gun. Maybe you should not be riding a bike as well.
When I worked as a bouncer, in my younger years, my boss at the time, made it very clear, “You do not become a bouncer to get into fights… You become a bouncer to prevent fights and stop fights. Any other thought about the matter is wrong.” The same sentiment applies to riding while strapped. Removing your sidearm from its holster is the very last thing that you should do, only after every option has been exhausted and physical, especially mortal harm is imminent. When dealing with aggressive and angry people, your first thought should be to execute your escape route and the get the Hell out of Dodge. It is much easier to defend a speeding ticket than it is to explain the alternative.
What that being said, I would not even begin to pontificate on the rights and wrongs, the whens, and the wheres you can or should draw your gun. As I mentioned, this installment is about reminding you to run your options to escape the threat. I will urge you to become uber familiar with the laws and regulations of the municipality in which you live. Being a law-abiding citizen and knowing your rights are elemental factors for riding while strapped, with confidence. Visit your local gun range and enroll in any courses that they offer relating to defensive shooting. Take all of the classes that they offer on your local laws regarding being a gun owner and carrying concealed or open.
What I will stress to you is the importance of escaping the threat. At the same time, when dealing auto-on-moto road rage, remember that you do not have the comfort of being partially or entirely shielded by a steel cage, windshield, engine block, etc. Again, open the throttle and put as much distance between you and threat.
On and off of the bike, carrying a sidearm and progressive maturity has brought me peace. I am more likely to actively remove myself from any environment that is or could be problematic instead of sticking around to see “how things play out.” I’m not interested in conflict, understanding that I am carrying a weapon that could end someone’s life. It doesn’t matter that it would be justified self-defense or preservation of my very being. Drawing my gun is my very last resort. My older brother would always say to me, “if or when you draw, there is no more conversation.” He’s right. When drawn, your strap is not a period at the end of the sentence. It’s the exclamation point. If I’m in an atmosphere where that aggressive conversation or behavior may manifest, I don’t want to be anywhere near it. I’m not interested in it. What I am interested in is riding my motorcycle wherever I wish, and for however long I want before returning home to my family. And if I can do that without removing my gun from the holster, to quote Ice Cube, “Today I didn’t even have to use my A.K. I got to say, it was a good day.”