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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  • Z January 31, 2014   Reply →

    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 February 1, 2014   Reply →

    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!

  • Rebecca Albrecht February 1, 2014   Reply →

    I have stopped yelling. Drivers don’t hear
    much of what you’ve said and I could feel my blood pressure rise. I use an air zounds airhorn now. Drivers hear it and so does everyone else. it is a bit shaming and horns are the language that motorists understand. I won’t leave the house now without checking that my airhorn has enough air. I can’t wait to get a “Loud” horn.

  • Lee Hollenbeck February 3, 2014   Reply →

    I’m a big fan of a loud” YO”. Vocal is always better. Don’t get me started on the i pod zombies on the bike path.

  • Sarah February 24, 2014   Reply →

    Funny–I find that a loud “WHOA!!!!!!” is my go to–it seems to be the only loud noise I can summon when startled (usually by a car driver or passenger about to door me). Not sure whether I’m summoning my equestrian roots or whether it just conveys the right sense of alarm-plus-STOP RIGHT THERE but it usually works.

  • Cuter Commuter March 4, 2014   Reply →

    I found my voice the other day! I was riding with traffic and was approaching an intersection where there is a merge lane for other vehicles to enter traffic. The motorists always stop their cars where I would have no room to get by and then I would need to swerve to avoid colliding with their front bumper but that would put me in the motor lane where cars are traveling to my left at 45+m.p.h (is the posted speed limit).

    I could tell this motorist who was merging wasn’t going to stop and give me enough room to pass safely as I approached the merging point. Nevada also has a 3-feet law by the way. I too struggle with being vocal but in that moment, I found my voice from the bottom of my stomach and called out, “Whoah lady!!” and then, “…excuse me…” followed by “…sorry”. She was looking through her side mirror at the motor traffic and I don’t think she saw me on my bike until I yelled at her so I was glad that I did..and glad her windows were rolled down so she could hear me.

  • David Booth March 18, 2014   Reply →

    Product idea: helmet-mounted voice amplifier that only kicks on when you shout.

    Or it could have a settable threshold for turning on. The reason for the threshold is to avoid amplifying your heavy breathing and cell phone conversations or singing along to your iTunes as you bike.

    • David Booth April 1, 2014  

      BTW, when I say “helmet-mounted voice amplifier”, I mean a REALLY LOUD ONE. Think truck-air-horn loud. It doesn’t have to be very understandable. It just has to be REALLY LOUD and operate automatically and instantaneously when you yell.

      For the engineering geeks on here, yes, it would have to have some electronics to cancel feedback.

  • Beth March 28, 2014   Reply →

    Air horn anyone? Cause sometimes you just can’t yell loud enuff!!!

  • StormLaker April 27, 2014   Reply →

    Great Blog Bikeyface!!! I usually resort to more barbaric means of dealing with knucklehead drivers. I usually resort to a choice hand gesture, and if that doesn’t get their attention, I keep a small bag of 1/4 inch ball bearings in my top tube bag to “get their attention”. But before it gets that serious, I usually make sure to be proactive by wearing a safety green shirt/vest/coat so in the event they do hit me, they cannot say that they did not see me!

  • Shawn January 5, 2015   Reply →

    I was on the sidewalk (couldn’t cross the street – too much traffic) and the car driver is looking left at approaching cars so they can make a right turn into the street. If I try to pass in front, she could hit me (You’d think no one would move their automobile without looking in the direction they’re going, but they do). So I yell “Hey!” to get her attention. She sees me, I go.

  • Wendy August 6, 2015   Reply →

    Martial arts training is helpful in that a good kiai will get attention…. hopefully.

  • Brandon August 7, 2015   Reply →

    For those who have this issue, try the ORP bike light and horn. Has a gentle tone for passing and a really loud one to scare drivers who are doing something stupid. It’s also useful for waking people up…

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