Tuesday Coffee Talk - What's your Car Harassment story?

Image from Boise Weekly

The incident that happened in Longmont as two cyclists were out for a Sunday ride is terrible and unjustified, yet sadly this happens more than you'd guess, especially if you live outside of places like Boulder. Harassment like this makes us frustrated and pissed off, just boiling over enough so when the next jackass does this we overreact and explode, leaving us no better than the driver. Huge congrats to these two riders for keeping their cool (at least what we saw in film), many would not and let's all take a moment and decompress and share our stories. What is the worst thing that has happened to you while out on the roads?

I've had a lot of crap handed to me on the bike over the years and by far most of it happened while not living in Colorado but the worst did happen in Boulder County on St. Vrain Road west of Longmont. This road is mostly dead of traffic and pretty darn straight so one day I was riding, yes, two abreast when a large truck passed us honking and yelling. It passed us slowly and we yelled something back, I think making fun of the female drivers weight. She stopped and got out and it turned into a yelling match for what seemed like 5 minutes over nonsense. I was young then, today I'd just wave and ride on, truly the better route to take than one I had 10-ish years ago.

News Item: 


My wife and I were riding

My wife and I were riding West on Jay Road on Saturday preparing to turn South onto 63rd Street. I was towing our 16 month old in a bike trailer, my wife isn't the most bike-competent. Anyways, we were in the center of the left turn lane approaching the intersection when an impatient motorcyclist passes us on the right side of the turn lane and cuts us off in the middle of our left turn. That was a new one for me! I did some yelling and gesticulating, which always makes me feel better.

Coal Creek PTSD

It all boils down to this.

The man in Coal Creek is not allowed to drive due to past anger outbursts. I feel bad he had PTSD, but that does not excuse his actions. When his son drove by us, leaving us plenty of room, the man opened the door on the large red Chevy Silverado LT, license plates 751 TVV, in an attempt to hit one of my fellow riders w/ the door or mirror. Luckily he missed, or my friend would have been dead.

I was not pleased with his behavior and made a disapproving gesture. So, the man asked his son to stop the car on the next hill, blocking the road. He got out and pushed me into the rocky ditch and another friend onto the ground. Then, he took the man's bike and started beating him with it.

The best part? The cop thought it was not assault and did not charge him as such.

Car Harassment

About a year ago on Highway 93 in Boulder County, I was almost taken out by a guy in a pick-up as he passed me. No on coming traffic either. When I caught up to him at the next stop light, I hit his rear quarter panel with my fist, no damage. Anyway, we got into a pissing match and he followed me to the Target in Superior. We both ended up getting tickets. Lesson learned. The next guy could have a gun and end your life over something so trivial. Now I just wave.

I was riding with two guys up

I was riding with two guys up on a lonely road north of Steamboat when an irate motorist flew by honking. We shot him the bird 'cause there was no reason for his action, and he slams on the brakes of his crappy old Camry, and jumps from the car ready to fight. We stop, drop,our bikes and he realized that we were taller, bigger, already warmed up and sweaty, and numbered three.. So he jumps back in his car and sped off. We rode home laughing it off. Win one for the skinny bikers!

Two incidents stand out.

Two incidents stand out. First one was years ago, descending Squaw Pass, got passed by a pickup which honked and revved - nothing unusually hostile. I rolled up beside him at the light at the bottom, whereupon he screamed at me through the passenger window, boiling-mad-red-faced-vein-popping-enraged, past his 10-year old son sitting beside him, "DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE SPEEDING!!!" Second was last year, on Valley Road just above Deer Ck - classic sustained horn blaring from a large SUV which came within inches, clearly trying to scare us (they succeeded). Got the license - it was a 16-year old girl on a learners permit with her mother in the passenger seat - they live in the canyon and hate cyclists, according to the Jeffco Sheriff. We wrote statements. She got a ticket. Teach your children well.

"...yet sadly this happens

"...yet sadly this happens more than you'd guess, especially if you live outside of places like Boulder...."

I have to disagree with this statement. I have ridden many miles in 4 major cities out east and in the midwest. I have ridden in MANY rural areas of the south and midwest. This behavior is more common here in Boulder than it is in those other areas.

I also have ridden

I also have ridden extensively in both the midwest and midatlantic (OH and MD) and while there were definitely rednecks in both areas, those were scattered rare encounters. I'd have to say the most consistently entitled, angry drivers are here in the Front Range. I chalk it up to the fact that they've created so much infrastructure to keep bikes OFF the roads (shoulders, bike paths, etc) that it has effectively "disowned" bicycle traffic as legitimate vehicular traffic in the eyes of the drivers. Add to that some socio-cultural GRAR (cyclists being perceived as wealthy elite Boulder yuppie scum by some of the older generation / rural ranchers out here). They get pissed off that "their tax dollars" go to build all this fancy infrastructure that these cyclists on their fancy toys should rigidly adhere to OR ELSE. look up the definition of "othering" (psychology) on google/wiki; that's basically what's going on here.

tl;dr: "separate-but-equal"

tl;dr: "separate-but-equal" doesn't work.

one of my pet peeves: one of those annoying "parallel path" deals creates angst on my commute route. I have gotten buzzed on Arapahoe Rd between 55th and Foothills, honked at and flipped off because "there's a perfectly good bike path you moron!" Yep, and you entitled poopyheads have got THREE WHOLE LANES to get around me, plus enough room to pass me without changing lanes even. Jeez, I don't even commute during rush hour usually so it's not like it's that busy even.

I hate that "bike path" (glorified sidewalk really) on the north side of Arapahoe because it's so freaking dangerous. The cross traffic in/out of Ball and the hospital never even looks for bikes on it, and I'm not eager to become a road pizza. Almost every single person I see pulling out from a side street there has a phone held up to their ear, too.