It seems like day after day cyclists in China encounter new, ‘en-raging’ situations while experiencing the love of the road . . No one’s exactly sure why this happens, but we all know that we’re definitely not the only ones who feel like this . . The masses of people that seem to jump in front of you without looking, cars that turn without checking their blind spots, kids running into the road while their parents turn a blind eye, other cyclists that think 20 of you can fit into one bike lane . . The list could go on forever.
Rather than write a story about the countless times cyclists have almost died, or write a big rant about how dangerous riding in China can be, I figured I would offer my advice on how to deal with these situations . . Because after all, one thing is clear : most of these situations make me (and most people) frustrated! Here are 3 quick points on how to handle ‘ Road Rage ‘ in China.
1. Avoid the situation by driving your bike!
Obviously avoiding any road en-raging situation altogether is the best way to avoid getting upset. But how can you do this ? Very easily. Drive your bike instead of riding it ! The concept really isn’t that hard to understand . . Think of yourself as a vehicle with a driver, not a casual consumer with a toy. When you are cycling on the road, you must think like cars do (or in this case, should) ! Pay attention to your surroundings, obey traffic laws (as much as possible), and most importantly think smart. I find that riding on the edge of the car lane is much safer than riding in the actual bike lane itself. It makes the vehicles on the road more aware of our presence, and I have space to react accordingly to anything that might come my way . . Bottom line is, you are driving a vehicle – not riding one. Control starts with you!
2. Don’t react with foul gestures! Educate instead!
Trust me on this one, I’ve attempted my fair share of ‘foul’ gestures when something en-rages me . . Everything from the middle finger, to the upperct : But none of these are effective, and make you look foolish. So what should you do ? POINT AT THEM. It’s that simple ! A strong, eye-locked, powerfully controlled point is all you need . . The pointing gesture identifies that someone has done something wrong, and generates instant shame on their behalf. More often than not, one point is all it takes to feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you have just educated someone about something they did that was ‘ out of line ‘.
3. Try your best to ‘ brush it off ‘!
I know, I know . . It isn’t always easy to quickly forgive someone for almost taking your life . . But you’ve got to try. We are all human after all, right? So even if it seems like you’ve had the worst day imaginable, and then a motorcycle with 5 babies cuts in front of you causing you to swerve in front of a car with no brakes but somehow you manage to avoid the car and the 7 people playing in the road, then just be thankful you made it out alive. There is no harm done in just walking away from the situation and acting like ‘ a gentleman’. It’s going to take some practice, but I truly believe that if you walk out of the situation with your dignity intact then that’s the best you can hope for.