Short story, and I have a genuine question to ask
This morning, a woman (old, crotchety, grumpy, elitist sort) drove up behind me, started honking and yelling while I was commuting to work on shoreline highway just below my house. I was ~18 inches to the RIGHT of the white line, and fully following CA traffic laws "as far right as practicable.. except when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes)." I was not impeding traffic in ANY way. She honks and yells, and I wave at her and yell out, "What? What do you want me to do?" then she speeds off yelling and gesturing. I catch up to her at Tam Junction, and calmly (honestly, I was calm and courteous... no really, I was!) say, "please calm down and be safe, I don't want an accident. Please just be safe, you could kill me." She yells some more to 'move over' to the surprise of other drivers (who saw what happened), and I ride off to let her have a shitty day.
I go to the Mill Valley police website since her license plate was easy (license plate redacted) to remember, and I file a report and a complaint. Apparently the Mill Valley police will send a letter chastizing her, but with no legal implications at all unless several more complaints are lodged.
Now, I know I was legally and morally in the right, but I also know she 1) doesn't recognize that she probably shouldn't be driving if she can't determine that she can easily and safely go by, and 2) probably hates cyclists and will never learn to be polite under any circumstances.
Here's the question: Does my notifying the police and trying to talk to her help us as cyclists?
- The woman doesn't care, will this make her more hostile toward cyclists? Or is there a slim chance she will tone done her aggression?
- The police should know that cyclists matter and have a voice, but in a broad generalization, we're more looked upon as a revenue source for tickets than a valid class of vehicles, and therefore much diminished in clout. Does this annoy cops or help get our message across?
- I tried to be extra polite when I caught her, partly because I knew she'd continue yelling, and mostly because other drivers were watching and would potentially hear what I had to say. Does this help at all (again, I highly doubt it helped the driver see the error, but perhaps her teenage granddaughter in the backseat will talk to her later?) or does it simply make more drivers think 'there goes another asshole cyclist'?
I simply dream for a day when everyone has to ride a bike at least once a month to learn how to be better members of the driving and human community.
Honestly, your input is appreciated. Doesn't need to be a huge group discussion, I just want your feedback and can follow up with anyone who wants the full group input.