Weird, or what! - Rita
Picture the scene. It is a fine sunny summer day. The time is noonish. A car driven by a me (a lone youngish female) is moving at moderate speed along a straight, semi-rural A road that is flanked by green fields. No houses are in view. There is no on-coming traffic. To the rear of my car are a number of black-clad motorcyclists.

Suddenly, I am overtaken by two of the cyclists who then position themselves side by side a few feet in front of my car. They reduce speed causing me to slow down accordingly. I decide to over-take but when preparing to do so I become aware that there is a third biker half way along the off-side of the car. Puzzled I look in the rear-view and spot two other bikers side by side to the immediate rear of my car who are also travelling at the same speed as the other three.

I am now effectively boxed in. If I increase speed I will hit the two in front. If I pull out I will hit the one on the side. If I brake the rear two will hit the back of my car. None of the bikers have looked directly at me. The situation is so bizarre that I decide that no eye contact is a darn good idea.

As we progress I become a little uncertain as to what their game plan is other that to scare the living daylights out of me. I am very conscious that the road is still empty of other traffic. I keep my eyes peeled for a left hand junction and decide that I would make a fast unannounced left turn as and when, then straddle the centre of that country lane and hope that they couldn’t get in front again. No such luck – no left turn.

Suddenly, at a point on the road when we were approaching a hill, and without any visible signal to each other, the bikers in front increased speed, the centre one overtook me followed by the last pair. Then they all disappeared over the brow of the hill leaving me to continue more slowly in a state of decreasing tension.

I have wondered on the odd occasion over the years just what was the point of the exercise. They seemed highly disciplined; they acted in unison so presumably they were well practiced in this manoeuvre and one supposes that it was only carried out because the road was empty. Was it a ‘joke’ they played on lone females on empty roads? I don’t know – any theories?

Weird, or what! - Tom Shaw
Very dangerous thing to do if they were police. Had you considered yourself under serious threat and driven through them or panic braked they would not have had much of a case for any damage or injuries they received.

In the same situation and not realising they were coppers I might well have taken the attitude that I was in danger of being attacked and done something about it.
Weird, or what! - Rita
Tom -

Exactly what would you have done? I don't know that they were coppers; and they weren't overtly threatening me. Initially I was puzzled, then intimidated to a degree. If I had thought that they were going ram me then perhaps I would have driven hard through them; as it was they forced me to drive slowly, boxed in, but no physical or verbal abuse was offered. Our speed was low, 20ish mph., this for about 1 1/2-2 miles. There seemed to be nothing obviously agressive in their attitude. But of course, when one reflects on it they were in total control. Perhaps that is where the answer lies.

Weird, or what! - Tom Shaw

What I would have done would have depended on what I considered the threat to my safety to have been. I would never consider getting involved in any confrontation with another road user, but if I was put in a position where I felt somebody was trying to force me to stop in order to commit some sort of assault then I would do what I thought nescessary to protect myself. If that meant forcing one or more of them off the road then so be it. Their actions were foolish to say the least, whether they were police on a training exercise or a bunch of jokers. In a battle between a car and a bike there can only be one winner.

Weird, or what! - Daedalus

From your post you say you have wondered about it over the years, without wanting to be to nosy, how long ago was this?

Weird, or what! - dan
Seems to me that telling the backseat occupant to put his seatbelt on was a akin to: "belt up in the back, we're gonna show these rozzers how to drive..." etc.
Perhaps this belting up was noticed (as you indicate in your post) and they were expecting something more than you gave?
Weird, or what! - crazed
naw asking rear passenger to put seatbelt on was a prudent step given that is was obvious to me something was up (had been watched from several places over a long spell - it was obvious there was something going on - which indeed there was)

i would have got stopped anyways, and they didnt even mention seatbelts, as was confirmed by the "were checking for cars being knicked along this road" story
Weird, or what! - Rita
Bill -

20ish, if memory serves. Doesn't always, these days.

Weird, or what! - Cliff Pope
This is a fascinating and disturbing incident, but not, I think, a totally isolated one.
Last week I inadvertently caused a bike rider minor inconvenience because I did not see him in my blind spot. He reacted angrily by cutting in front of me, and then carrying out just the manoeuvre described - ie slowing down very gradually. I simply maintained my speed (about 30 in a limited area) and watched the gap close slowly. When it was about 2 feet he gave up, gave an angry gesture, and accelerated away leaving half his back tyre spread on the road.
I have noticed a tendency in a (I hope) minority of bikers to behave as if they had a charmed life. Some years ago a pair tried to move me over onto the pavement so that they could ride down the middle of the road. They gave up when a lorry thundered down the middle towards them.

The sinister operation described was obviously of a much more serious nature, and potentially criminally lethal. It seems to me the risk they were running was of 2 kinds:
1) the car driver might have panicked, unpredictably
2) the driver might have been one of the increasing number of professionals who have been on a course and taught how to deal with situations threatening robbery, hijacking, etc.

I remember from a self-defence course I once attended that there are two rules:
1) Escape. Smile, walk away, run, duck into a shop.
2) Attack with sudden and deadly confidence your opponent's most vulnerable spot.

The vulnerable point in this scenario is the 2 outer bikers. So I would suggest;

1) Touch brakes without slowing
2) Slow gently without braking
3) Ease out gradually. This will make the outer pair feel vulnerable, and no longer in control
4) Finally, as a last resort, swerve outwards, brake sharply, accelerate rapidly.

I think someone made the point that if you genuinely have good reason to feel under threat, you are entitled to defend yourself, even if it later turned out that it was 'only' a police exercise.

I remember a case of someone charged with trying to run down a policeman holding a radargun. It emerged that he was just back from service in Northern Ireland, and had been taught that very technique in dealing with real roadside gunmen.
Weird, or what! - dave18
"I remember a case of someone charged with trying to run down a policeman holding a radargun. It emerged that he was just back from service in Northern Ireland, and had been taught that very technique in dealing with real roadside gunmen."
If only I'd have known that the other day when I got done...
Weird, or what! - BrianW
"The vulnerable point in this scenario is the 2 outer bikers."

I would suggest that it is the two behind who are vulnerable, since if their front wheel meets your bumper they will, in all probability, come off. So brake hard and get them first.

The second line of attack is the one on the outside who you can force into the opposite kerb or oncoming traffic by easing outwards.

The two in front are more difficult since if you ram them and knock then off they will land up under your car, therefore probably bringing you to a halt as well. I would suggest that, having eliminated the other three gradually slow to a halt, ram them whilst they are stationary, back off and go round them whilst they pick themselves up.
Weird, or what! - Cliff Pope
Yes, true. What I meant was vulnerable to a little bit of pressure first, to see what they would do next, and possibly back off from the confrontation alltogether.
The difficulty with the 2 at the back is that it is all or nothing- either they stop in time, which leaves the whole process continuing but at a slower speed, with them still in control, or they hit the back of the car, leaving the other 4 now ahead but still in control.
The sideways option as you say gradually eases them into the other bank, or oncoming traffic, but is reversible before it gets to that stage.

This is all theoretical though. It would be interesting to hear what a real security/self-defence instructor would say, and to whether anyne else has noticed this kind of intimidation/control tendency, in bikers or other drivers.
Weird, or what! - Dynamic Dave
And to think, you can't even use your mobile phone to call for help, for fear of prosecution.
Bikers would probably get let off with a warning by boys in blue, you would get done for driving without due care and attention!!

Value my car