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Dealing With Road Rage

What to do when the "temperature" rises.

If a motorist makes you feel threatened or attempts to harm you (including throwing something at you or passing too closely):

At the Scene

  • Never assault your assailant physically, verbally, or with hand gestures. This will escalate the situation. While you have the right to defend yourself from physical violence, what you regard as “self-defense” may not be in the eyes of the law, and it may be better to try and get away from the person or call loudly for help if others are nearby
  • If there was any contact between you or your bicycle and othe other vehicle, that is considered a “collision” and the driver must stop. If they do not, call 911 immediately.
  • Note the plate number and, if possible, a description of the driver.
  • If you have a camera phone, try to take a photo or video of the license plate, car, and/or driver.
  • If the driver stops and attempts to prolong the situation, call 911 immediately.
  • Don’t trade information with the other party; let the police gather any pertinent information.


  • Report the incident to your local police department and request a report. If you were not actually injured, police may not be willing or able to file a criminal complaint, but they are required to file a report and should follow up by warning the offending driver.
  • If the offender is a commercial driver, inform his or her employer.
  • Contact your attorney. You may be able to press criminal assault or file assault and battery charges.