Perhaps it's just that I have become more aware of the social media posts - or hooked on You-Tube posts about bikers that seem to revel in their belief they have a right to 'de-mirror' the cars of sometimes really dumb drivers for infractions that have been committed. But is this the case?
We have all been there - missing or being missed by someone who appears to have lost their mind while driving. Have you passed a car that weaves in its lane (and into yours) because the driver is texting; on the phone; doing make-up or simply being irresponsible? Yes, we have and while the first reaction is to mouth-off and gesticulate widely using expletives that would make a sailor blush, some go as far as to damage the vehicles in an almost maniacal act of defiance. Smashing the side mirror of the errant driver is popular - albeit highly risky, but does it really help the situation? Over-and-above the potential to loose your balance or smash your wrist in the process, the consequences of this type of street justice can be fatal.
Another reaction that stems from blind rage at the injustice of a driver's actions, seems to be a suicidal chase-down of the vehicle in an effort to get the idiot out of his cage. WTF? You have no idea of the mental capacity or homicidal tendencies of the driver, so what were you thinking by chasing the vehicle? You have survived the encounter, so back-off and take a breath before getting yourself killed in the next encounter with the same moron. Yes, if you are knocked-off and the driver keeps going, hopefully someone will have seen it and they can give chase. Better still, for those that use them, your action cam will have caught the incident, allowing you to institute civil charges at a later stage.
We have seen recent cases in some countries where drivers are retaliating against riders that take these extreme measures, by deliberately trying to run-down the biker in a tit-for-tat reaction. There are video's of riders that clearly don't understand the law of Karma and who have paid painfully for the lesson after kicking-out at the car door or trying to smash the mirror off. Extreme rage of this kind is inevitably repaid by similar and sometimes even more extreme retaliation by drivers, and this can only create danger for all bikers out there. There are documented cases where drivers have chased-down riders and either run them over or climbed-out armed and ready to kill.
A recent post showed a driver simply nudging the biker as he passed and took the mirror, resulting in the bike ploughing through a maize field and the rider picking weeds from his teeth. While we may think the driver will learn from the process of replacing his side-mirror, the truth is that they simply become bitter and more determined to get even - sometimes at the expense of an innocent biker.
As bikers, we need to accept that we remain a soft target and that while stupid, ignorant and irresponsible drivers will continue to ride the roads we travel, it is our primary responsibility to allow for these morons and their lack of spatial awareness. After all, we are the airbag in an accident and by not making allowance for stupidity, our injuries and losses far outstrip those of the car driver in the case of road rage. Be aware of - and anticipate the actions of drivers (we can see them clearly through their windows) and make allowance for their stupidity. After all, while we feel justified to react instinctively in cases like this, retaliation equates to malicious damage to property and often results in courts taking a dim view of the rider's 'use it or loose it' attitude.
And yes, there is no question that many drivers deserve to be 'de-mirrored' or worse, but is your life really worth it? Get away from them, and report their actions to the authorities (in those places where they still care) rather than get into an altercation with a 'cager'. Above all, control that anger because your two wheels demand concentration and calm to stay connected to the tar.