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Kitty O'Kat's profile photoJeff DelPapa's profile photo
About 20 years ago I bought a thing called the "Air Zound".  It was a rechargeable air horn designed to work well on a bicycle.  The air tank slipped into a standard water bottle holder, and a small tube connected it to the horn, which you mounted on the handlebars, so you could get to it easily.   In some ways it was like the horns that boater's and obnoxious sports fan's use, but they did a serpentine thing to lengthen the tube, and lower the pitch a bit.   It is very VERY loud, and the message it sends is closer to "TRUCK" than car.

Anyhow, I had an occasion to test it -  I was riding along, coming up on the entrance of a shopping center.  A driver was 1: talking on a cell phone, and 2: started what was obviously going to result in a "right hook" collision.  (pass then turn right on top of you.  A motorist might also call it "getting cut off").  I hit horn, brakes, and did the "instant turn" that Effective Cycling teaches is the correct avoidance move.

When the horn sounded, the driver did two things.  1. made a panic stop. 2.  Threw the phone out the open window into the oncoming traffic lane. If this were a perfect world, or a movie set, an oncoming truck would have mashed it flat, but instead, since they were partially blocking the oncoming traffic lane (a side effect of the attempted pass) they forced the oncoming traffic to also make a panic stop, and their phone was merely suffering from a 4' drop onto pavement at 20 mph.

I walked over to the driver who was retrieving the bits of their phone, to give my "thoughts" on their parentage, mental acuity, driving skill, and something about not enough brain cells to both talk and drive... and was subjected to an even more creative stream of abuse from the motorist. 

They also did the "But I didn't see you".  I pointed out that would be an admission of guilt/fault, not an excuse.  I also showed that they had indeed seen me, as they moved partly into oncoming traffic to get around me.  (reenforcing the incapable of multi-tasking theme).  They countered with the "get off the road" - handed them the little cards that a local bike atty had printed with capsule state law, and suggested that they not endanger others by operating 2 tons of machinery,  given their poor knowledge of the rules of the road.

This was back when the original Motorolla "flip" phones were the size of a large mans fist, a brand new thing, and the iphone like status symbol of their day.  It was also well before cell companies made significant subsidies towards the cost of the phone, so their phone might well have cost $500.  When they discovered that the phone might not have survived, and was definitely cosmetically compromised, they started on "you owe me for a new phone..."   I reminded them that had I not been alert enough for the both of us, they would be buying me a hospital stay, and 5 years of insurance surcharges.  I then rode off.
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