[QUOTE=Newstar;765676]Half way through the group, the leader sticks out his left hand signaling a left turn.[/QUOTE]
You are damn lucky he/she even signaled.
I almost cut a bicyclist in half on a quiet narrow country road. There was no driveway or road for him to turn into, therefore no warning that he might even turn. The inbred just decided to do a snap U turn without looking.
Lucky for him I didn't have ABS or I would have cut him in half...there was no spare foot or split second. After stopping, I turned around and gave him a lecture you could have heard in the next county. I could see the faint solid and long black line my front tire left towards the shoulder as I drove behind him to avoid him...talk about braking at the limit. The back wheel was up about a foot before easing off the brake to steer.
At home, I rubbed off the mark his back tire left on my left engine protection bar. Yes, that is how close it was.
As a bicycle rider myself, I get this. I listened to my cousin rant a few years back about how, during his frequent CO mountain trips he often encountered cyclists in the center of the lane on a blind curve, which was true & crazy dangerous for both parties.
Having been an avid mountian and road bicyclist for 30 years, a car driver, and a motorcycle rider, I don't think it has as much to do with the vehicle in use, as it does the prevailing self-absorbed attitude growing in our society. Everyone is the center of the universe, and when those universes intersect, problems arise.
I have had bicyclists do stupid and irritating things to me when I was driving my car. I have had cars very nearly take my life, only actually T-boned once so far, when I was on my bicycle and obeying the rules/driving very defensively. And I have had some very bad encounters with motorcycles when on my bicycle.
Several years ago, my wife an I were riding a backcountry single track. This was during a big yearly dirt bike event in the area. Most of the local backcountry motorcyclists and bicyclists area very polite. We are all fighting to keep the federal government from closing all the public access - we are allies. Anyway, we were on a long striaght pice of trail. Very visible, but on a steep side hill with no place to get off for about another 100 feet. We always stop and step off the trail as soon as possible. We heard a dirt bike coming up behind us, but knew at we were clearly visible him. This idiot, presumable from out of town, litterally shoulders my wife off her bike and down the hill. I had just reached a place to step off, as he came by me. That's when I looked back and saw what he had done. Had he not already passed me, or if I could have caught him, and I tried, I would absolutely have assaulted him.
Another year, same yearly dirt bike week, we were riding to a trailhead down a full size dirt road. We were riding two abreast, which we don't do much. A group of dirt bikers came blasting by flipping us off and cussing at us. They had plenty of room to go by, but we could have been taking up less room. We were riding into the wind, and neither of us heard them coming- and those bikes were NOT quiet. I was shocked at how much our hearing was impaired by the wind. I would have thought we could hear them several hundred yards away. They were jerks, but it was a good lesson for us on how much wind noise effected our hearing.
You might be surprised what some of these people that have gotten in your way couldn't hear. I think that as a motorcyclist, i will start tapping my horn when i am approaching bicycles. Not laying ln it, because that can startle a bike right out into the road. I won't even discuss runners and bicyclists that ride with ear buds. That is just so stupid as to put them way down on the evolutionary chain in my mind. Certainly natural selection will eliminate most of those over time.
My point is that there are jerks in every group, and if you put them on a different machine they will still be jerks. All the planets revolve around them and whatever they are doing at the moment. I say, just be a good, courteous, extremely aware and defensive rider/driver/boater/skier/snowboarder (well, maybe that stretches the limit of possibility)/whatever, and try to smile a lot.