There can be no excuse for the extremes of ‘road rage‘. Even though a driver may feel exasperated, inconvenienced or even somewhat threatened it can never be justification for violence against the driver (or rider, or walker) who has supposedly caused the issue.
If I am inconvenienced by another on the road I will swear a bit or call the ‘other’ names (with appropriate expletive deleteds!) but I fall back on the advice my father gave me years (many years!) ago when I was learning to drive. He said “always treat everyone else on the road as an idiot,” and it would be uncharitable to beat up someone who fits that mould, now, wouldn’t it?
Obviously the answer to motorist-on-motorist road rage is developing patience and respect for other road users. Nothing is so important that it had to happen five minutes ago, no place you’re going to visit isn’t going to be there five minutes after you impatiently aim to be there, no job you have to do is any more important to you than the job I have to do is to me, and nothing about you or your life makes you any more deserving of a place on Earth, or on this road, than anybody else. (Of course closer attention to what’s happening around you couldn’t hurt either- the prime task when driving is driving and not attending to gadgets, passengers or presentation so if you’re one who does any or all of the above you probably deserve anything but approbation!)
I DO, however think that many cyclists who find themselves the target of aggression from drivers of vehicles can take sensible steps (cyclists/steps? -sorry!) to avoid such confrontation. Obviously keep as far left on the sealed shoulder as possible (even though some apologies must be made to cyclists for the atrocious condition of said shoulders on many roads throughout the land!) Cyclists should be aware that even though they have the same rights and privileges on our roads as licensed motorists they need to understand and accept that the pace that they achieve on the road can be an inconvenience issue for faster 4 (or more) -wheeled users. Nowadays motorists can be issued with infringement notices for travelling too slowly and creating a problem for other motorists, (and I can guarantee their speeds would be in excess of what cyclists manage) so in the interests of equity and fairness bikelists must ensure they don’t appear as a sudden obstruction which could cause the driver to take dangerous (to other vehicles) evasive action [I’m thinking particularly here about situations with limited visibility such as winding and narrow roads]. Finally, even though our gregariousness may bubble to the surface bike riders need to get into the habit of shouting conversations rather than riding several abreast in the interests of enabling chat-fests.
Now THIS is how to deal with annoying incidents on our roads- a tweet by someone I follow… “I look upon cycling favourably, but Mr LycraCycleWarrior – even YOU need to GIVE WAY on a single lane bridge to me as I had the white arrow.”