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Dealing with road rage when it happens to you

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Cape Town - I'm not really a pacifist; I can shake my fist and argue at the top of my voice with the best of them, but over the past few years I have seen a number of minor road-rage incidents that got seriously out of hand, so I tend to think laterally when confronted by possible violence, as happened at the weekend.

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were riding to the Killarney circuit to cover the Regional races on Saturday, she on my Triumph 650 Daytona and keeping to the right of the lane, while I was riding her Moto Guzzi Le Mans on the left side of the lane in a classic staggered formation.

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Road rage escalates all too easily into violence. File photo: Yuri Kadobnov / AFP

As we came to a T-junction near the circuit the lights turned red for us so, rather than braking heavily at the last moment, we simply shut the throttles and coasted towards the intersection. Suddenly a white one-ton pick-up which had been following me rather too closely for comfort overtook me in the same lane and moved up to within less than arm's length of the Daytona.

This created a very dangerous situation so I overtook the truck slowly, moved to the centre of the lane and braked gently so that when She Who Must Be Obeyed stopped at the intersection she would be several bike-lengths ahead of me and thus, a safe distance from the vehicle.

Imagine my surprise then, when the bakkie bumped the back of the Guzzi, hard enough to chirp the rear tyre, before I had even come to a stop. After I had stopped, he nudged the back of the Guzzi a second time and hooted as if to say “Get out of the way!”, while revving and bouncing on the clutch and brakes to make the pick-up jerk forward menacingly.

Old-fashioned look

Everybody who has heard this story says they would have got off, gone round to the driver's window of the bakkie and re-arranged his face. Instead, I walked around to the right side of the Guzzi, crouched down and watched the engine idling until the lights changed to green; then I shouted to She Who Must Be Obeyed to go, and waited another 15 seconds or so.

The bakkie was so close to the back of the Guzzi that he was unable to go around me - he had to wait until I straightened up, gave him a long, old-fashioned look and a nod, climbed leisurely on to the bike and accelerated gently away.

The bottom line was that the situation - which could easily have escalated because there were two people in the bakkie - was resolved without violence. And the driver of the bakkie, who started the whole confrontation because he was in such a hurry to get to wherever he was going, was punished in the coinage he apparently valued most - time.

Payback, as they say, is a b***h.

Motoring.co.za

Follow Dave Abrahams on Twitter @DaveAbrahamsIOL

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