Types of honks

I’ve noticed two main types of honks I receive from cars during my commute:

  • “Get off the road!” – We all know and love these type of drivers. The ignorants who give the honk as they fly around you to make a point that bikes don’t belong on the road. Still not sure where they think we belong, but I guess that’s why they are generally stupid people.
  • “Hey! It’s a guy on a bike!” – This is the most perplexing to me. At least every three or four commutes I get a car that honks at me for no apparent reason. There’s no malice involved. And I can’t imagine other cyclists (that happen to be in cars) doing this as we know that it’s distracting to be honked at. So I haven’t been able to figure out exactly why these people honk at me. Do you get this same thing?

Did I miss any honks?

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0 thoughts on “Types of honks”

  1. John says:

    The honk and yell out the window as they are passing. Usually high school kids. It’s can act like a defibriator.

  2. John says:

    defibrillator. My fingers tend to fatten in the off season.

  3. mike says:

    There’s always the “I recognize you” honk. It’s always nicer when it’s from a fellow cyclist’s ringer than a car, but still much more welcome than “Get off the road!”.

  4. Drew says:

    To expand on John’s point, it seems for me to be mostly teenage girls doing the honking and yelling. The boys sometimes like to get a little close, which is worse, but the girls like to yell. This leads me to one of two conclusions…

    Teenage girls are super attracting to 30ish male cyclists in spandex.


    Teenage girls are grossed out by 30ish male cyclists in spnadex.

    If you used to be a teenage girl and can verify A, please feel free. If on the other hand you know it is B, please lie…


  5. steve says:

    there’s also the honk that one gets when the drive wasn’t paying attention, finally noticed that you’re there, and got scared.

  6. Fritz says:

    The teenage girls in cars who honk at me tend to accompany the honk with yells of “Hey baby!” From the rear, I suppose, we all tend to look about the same. You know: fit, toned, and tanned.

  7. Tim Grahl says:

    I haven’t gotten any of the teenage girls honking and waving… is this a good or bad thing?

  8. Paul of N.W. GA says:

    I live were the car-culture has a firm foundation with no cracks anywhere.
    There was one time when a car sitting in line for a stop sign did not move, as I passed I looked at the driver, long black hair, Mona Lisa smile and dreamy eyes following me. More than once riding on a four-lane a single occupant car with a woman driving would follow for miles for no apparent reason. : /’

    When it comes to honks, I don’t like any of them, they can slow down at use their voice, that is what my friends have learned.

    Back when I was younger I use to run. It would not be un-common to see teenage girls or even woman sitting in chairs beside the road when it was time for me.

    It makes me feel shallow when girls look at me like a piece of meat.. 8 l

  9. Noah says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been tempted to honk when I see another person on a bike while I’m driving. Then I think “you know, I would hate it if some random cyclist was driving past me and honked, even if it was a friend of relative.” Then I back off the horn, give a huge, wide berth while passing, and wave through my back window. My guess is they don’t see me wave but are thankful that at least one motorist slowed down and passed wide and safely.

  10. Jamie says:

    I got one of those “Hey” honks this morning, I think. If I don’t see some madman gesturing wildly after me following a honk, I just ignore it and go on pedaling.

    I think some of them are “Hey, I’m here” honks, as if they want to make sure we know that their filth-belching behemoths are behind us and we might not have seen them.

  11. Val says:

    I frequently deal with industrial traffic, and arterial traffic moving much faster than it should. At least three or four times a week I encounter someone who mistakes the horn for a disintegrator ray. When I don’t vanish from their path, they downshift, floor the accelerator, and swerve halfway into the next lane without checking or signalling as they lurch around me, sometimes screaming “Sidewalk!” or “Get a car, you piece of shit!” out the window. I usually find it all rather amusing, as they don’t get anywhere any quicker with these gymnastics, and I always try to demonstrate my courteousness and respect by honking back at them with my 110 decibel air powered horn. “I have one, too; isn’t that nice?”

  12. matt says:

    i’ve always wished cars had two horns: one for F-U! and the other for THANKS!

    but for some reason they only make the former….

    during critical mass, there’s a special kind of honk that comes out, it’s the “hey i’ve got a bike at home in my garage, won’t you let me through the pack?!”

    never works. =]

  13. Warren T says:

    There is the “Don’t run me over” honk … oh, wait, that comes from Canada geese, not cars.

  14. Fritz says:

    @Paul and his female fans: When I was younger I used to commute 20 miles across the “Mid Cities” in Texas from Irving to Haltom City. One summer, two bikini-clad young women sat on their swimming pool slide so they could watch, clap and cheer me on almost every day, like I was some kind of famous pro cyclist. It’s a pretty nice ego boost, and good encouragement to continue cycling.

    For the locals: I commuted from Irving, around the DFW Airport perimeter road into Euless, across Euless, Bedrord, Hurst, and North Richland Hills.

  15. Mike in Florida says:

    I usually get the “hey I’m passing you” honk. That’s when the driver gives a short honk right as they’re next to you. WTF is that?

  16. Tim Grahl says:

    Funny thing… I just commented yesterday that I’d never had any teenage girls honk at me before and then today on my way back from the bank a couple girls in a convertible honked, waved and cat called me.

    I feel like a man again 🙂

  17. Here in the City of Big Shoulders, I tend to shut out the street noise including car horns. So every now and then I’ll be talking with a friend or acquaintance who was disappointed when I didn’t notice their friendly hello honk. I always apologize by saying I’m just in the zone or maybe I’m just growing deaf %)

  18. Wade says:

    Here in Kentucky, the honkers are usually “rednecks”. I recently was honked at and the passenger yelled “Get a car!”. I responded, “Get a bike!”

    The irony was that his 30 year old, backfiring, primered truck was probably not worth as much as my bike.

  19. Jerome says:

    There is another type of honk. It’s the honk of an angry cyclist who is about to be cut off, and actually makes cars lay on the binders! It’s the honk from and AirZound compressed air horn. I got one for Christmas and this is one of my favorite bike gadgets. 65db loud and uses a plasitc water bottle to store the air that you fill up with your bike pump. I’ve made dump trucks full of snow stop in the middle of the intersection right before they run into me. I made a lady who was rubbing me out of my lane hit her brakes so hard, she spilled her coffee! Poor muffin. This is the honk that will for sure put a smile on the face of a cyclist. I did a product review if you’re interested.

    Honk on!!


  20. Rico says:

    Just for everyone’s edification, the kinds of honks, I think, 2 or 3 are mentioned is in a recent bike road trip type of book called “Riding with the Blue Moth” by Bill Hancock and Jim Nantz; I had to pick it up at the book store cause I saw he travelled through my hometown in it (so other than that I am not really rating it but am reading it). It is a very recent book, website; http://www.ridingwiththebluemoth.com/pages/7/index.htm

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