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If you’re a cyclist, then you’ve been there, right in the thick of it – a situation where fear for your safety is so great that it becomes anger. It’s in those tense moments, where an inattentive motorist could mean the difference between your life and death, that most cyclists feel their tempers flair.

If you’ve been involved in a bicycle/automobile accident before, chances are you’re more than a little car shy, and your anger for inattentive motorists may be on a short trigger as well. However, riding angry can put you at an even greater risk and disadvantage on the road, leaving you blinded to other obstacles or dangers in your path.

It can also make you a less agreeable cyclist to others sharing the roadway – something that can cause issues to escalate, should a problem arise.

Here are some tips to help you avoid those potential road rage situations as well as keep your anger in check should tensions arise:

Minimize the risk of conflict by following the rules of the road.
Ride safely and courteously, using proper gear for visibility and using the proper signals.
Do not initiate conflict, and do not engage in conflict if someone attempts to initiate conflict with you.
If you feel your temper flairing, pull over and regroup before continuing on your journey. Taking a moment to calm down can make the rest of your ride safer and less tense.
Stay calm if confronted and do not let the other person influence your emotions or actions.
Be sure to report any violence, attempted violence, or threats of violence to law enforcement authorities and remove yourself from the situation.
Refrain from property damage; this will only cost you in the long run.
Remember, most people do not want to hurt a cyclist or be involved in conflict – they may simply have missed seeing you.
Even though there are courteous and attentive drivers on the road, the best offense is a good defense when riding your bicycle. It’s up to YOU to ensure your safety.

Ride safely, stay alert, and try your best to leave anger and grudges behind before hitting the road, and you’ll be a happier, healthier cyclist.