Yesterday I got threatened by someone with a big stick about the size and shape of a baseball bat. It's OK, I wasn't attacked, I'm just surprised it's possible to get away with that kind of behaviour in public.
I was cycling home from Stockport*
View Larger Map and as I got to the crossroads at Parrswood road / Fog lane a guy in a parked car opened his door right in front of me. So I shouted "Watch it!" and he swore at me to shut up. So I yelled "You don't have the right to tell me to shut up!" and he grabbed something like a baseball bat from his boot* and started to threaten me with stuff like "Come over here and I'll smash your F***ing face in!"
I declined. I was several metres ahead of him; toying with the idea of jumping the lights (which were still red), but I still held my ground and eventually him and his verbal obscenities went into the nearest house (presumably to show off his fine lump of wood).
So that's it really. I reported the incident to a Community Support* police officer. The thing I'm thinking is that hey, there were lots of witnesses, but would they have got out of their cars to help? I think ultimately most of us are too scared to risk ourselves in the face of intimidation and that's why it works. But really it should work the other way round, there's more of us than there is of them!
[* Stockport is in the UK. The Boot of a car is the 'Trunk'. Community support officers are volunteer police]