Finding My Voice

Sometimes when you’re on a bike, you need to make some noise. And I don’t mean a bicycle bell.

Finding My Voice

Watching others, it seems yelling works best. People naturally respond when they hear a human voice in crisis. However, I’ve always been more of the creative introverted type that prefers drawing thoughtful illustrations than drawing attention by yelling.

Finding My Voice

But being a creative introvert hasn’t proved good in urgent situations. So I decided to take a class in yelling from an expert.

Finding My Voice

I was a horribly untalented student, but very determined. I worked hard and practiced whenever I got the chance.

Finding My Voice

So now I think I’ve finally mastered it: a yell so loud it stops drivers in their tracks.

Finding My Voice

But I really wish drivers wouldn’t make me demonstrate it for them.




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38 Responses to “Finding My Voice”

  • Hal Ballard

    While I agree to your premise about raising your voice, too much information is too much information. A passing dialogue isn’t heard or regarded. For example, as I was passing through an intersection, a motorist coming from my left entered too quickly and may have hit me if I hadn’t shouted HEY!!!
    She ended up following me the 4 blocks from that point to where I turned into my driveway. There was ample room to pass, but I believe she got rattled and preferred to let me lead. It was a residential district, wit ha speed limit of 25MPH.

  • Been there, done that! It’s hard to speak up for myself, that is, until my life is threatened. Then I shout as loud as I can.

  • morlamweb

    @Hal Ballard, I think the shouted “conversations” were just for comedic effect. On the occasions where I’ve had to shout to warn drivers away from hitting me, I’ve never needed more than a “hey”. Granted, it was with a deep male voice and shouted as loud as I can, but usually that’s all that’s needed. Fortunately, I’ve only rarely had to shout at drivers.

  • KillMoto

    I’ve had a well placed, loud and staccato “Hey!” stop a car that was about to right-hook me.

    What makes driver think that as long as they get their passenger mirror past you it’s OK to jam their wheels to the right?

    Anyway, the driver was so committed to the turn and so startled, s/he had to wave off and miss the turn. Heheeeee…

  • fred_dot_u

    I’ve shouted loudly enough to have laryngitis for a short period later in the day. It’s easier to yell instinctively than it is to reach for a horn button or bell. Some situations are more dire than others.

  • Uncle Robot

    Love you Bikeyface – you made me laugh till my sides hurt. As a lifelong extroverted loudmouth and aggressive bicyclist I have never had your problem. Indeed, some of my riding friends have complained about how much and how loud I yell. But I have survived 42 years of urban riding!!! I am eagerly awaiting (going on two years now) my Loud Bicycle horn (see ). Watch out distracted drivers…

    • ridonrides

      I have the same problem as Bikeyface and if I had riding friends who yelled I would be very grateful! On a bike tour of NYC, I was very grateful for my tour guide who used his booming voice to yell at drivers. At home in Chicago, I let my booming bike radio announce my presence for me. I’ve also been lucky enough that drivers behind me will honk their horn when they notice the car in front of me start to move in my direction. Although I usually compensate by slowing down to let them pass. If they right next to me, I knock on their window.

  • Ralph

    That is why I have an air horn. The bell is fine on paths or for some pedestrians but an air horn makes you sound like a truck. The air bottle fits in a water bottle cage, the button on the handle bar.

  • I called it my “superbark” (Bolt! reference) I used to just yell HEY! and you’d be surprised how well that works if you project strongly directly at the driver. Even through window glass. Even over traffic noise. But you have to project.

  • Rich

    After an incident in which my young son was almost right-hooked in front of me, I discovered that planting myself in front of the car and offering my patented Death Stare at the driver works wonders in getting someone to acknowledge their need to pay attention to the road.

    • Kevin Love

      I have found that planting myself in front of the car as I call 911 and lay a criminal complaint against the car driver works wonders.

      I will let the judge explain to the car driver their need to pay attention at the car driver’s sentencing hearing.

    • BobWölfé Jung2

      Kevin Love,
      if ye be waitin fer thee system ter take care ov ye problems… a capitalist system based on petroleum energy… whose direct agents be car drivin pigs… ye might find yerself waitin quite a long time… oh… and that judge be quite likely ter be a car driver hisself…

    • Kevin Love

      Bob Wolfe,

      I cannot really change the system in which you have the misfortune to live, but will give one piece of advice.

      Try to plant yourself in front of the offending car driver at a pinch point so that you bring all the car drivers behind him to a stop until the police arrive and eventually clear the crime scene.

      Pedestrians and cyclists are, of course, unaffected, but having all the other car drivers come to a halt and go nowhere for a good long time may get some peer pressure going.

  • Wendy

    Drill instructor voice: “HEY! WATCHWHEREYERGOINGYOU ****!!!” (Use your diaphragm so that entire street can hear you)
    Often the driver says, “Oh, uh, sorry!”
    And them I respond back in my girly voice: “Oh, no problem, just letting you know I was there!” *nervous giggle*
    If driver ignores or say something rude in return, I follow up with “MORON!”
    It’s nothing personal, just a quick reaction to years of bike commuting in Manhahttan.

  • Marge Evans

    love it! I’m an extrovert and my preferred yell is a very LOUD “NOOOOOOO!!!!!” that always gets their attention. (even metro bus drivers)

  • CPTJohnC

    I had to yell at a driver just this morning. a forceful “HEY!” was all it took. I don’t ~know~ that he would have hit me, but I was fine not taking the chance. He beeped ?at? me as I passed.

  • JamieB

    Great article and cartoons as always, but you get extra props just for referencing one of my favorite actors, Brian Blessed!

  • Ken

    I find a good "FUS RO DAH!" stops most vehicles in their tracks.

  • Mike Gallagher

    Air horns that make you sound like a large truck fit on bikes and can focus drivers. Love your blog.

  • Ed

    This is like an extrapolation of the trick I learned with dogs when I was a kid.
    I lived on my bike exploring far and wide but had to pass by a series of aggressive dogs. Most stopped after a few tries by 2 were very persistent. Showing up and saying “Nice Doggie! Good doggie!” in a cutsie voice did wonders to detail a barking lunge for my legs; a doggie treat didn’t hurt either. It pissed off the owner but the dog kept up the show of barking and chasing until I would be nice to him then he’d take off.

  • When I have been riding a couple miles in TX summer heat and (lack of) humidity, I’m reduced to the “squeak” of the first panel. I’m considering an Air Zound for my next daily rider.

  • I’ve been told by my friends that I have a very soothing voice when people almost run me over. Puts you right to sleep… I mean heart attack

  • Z

    In the UK we have a great word ‘oy’ (or oi) which, like hey, instantly brings attention to you and can also be shouted for a long time ‘oyyyyyyyyyyyyy’ (emphasising the y rather than the o). You have to sound aggrieved while shouting it, so the person knows they have wronged you. Being British we can’t make a scene so we instead get a lot of emotion into our use of oy and it means a lot of different things.

    However I might try ‘no’ as that seems appropriately over dramatic. I have a friend who can sing opera and shouts/sings ‘oh the humanity’ when cars get too close, which is highly amusing to watch but not one I can pull off myself.

  • Ryan Grimm

    2) Air Horns…I put a compressor and air horns on my motorcycle, and one time I gave a cab driver a blast as he creeped in on me one day on Memorial Ave.
    When we got up to the stop light, HE APOLOGIZED! LOL!!!!!

    Excellent comic!

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