Let’s catch up on a couple items I haven’t had a chance to mention this week. As well as frightening news from this week’s commute.
I’ve just gotten word of a violent road rage attack against a cyclist in the Valley Wednesday night.
I’ll let the victim, John, tell his story; I’m withholding his last name to protect his privacy and help prevent possible retaliation.
I left my work on Owensmouth in Chatsworth around 5:20 pm Wednesday, riding north towards Lassen. It’s two lanes there; I take up the right lane, since there’s no room and the street is messed up on the shoulder.
A white car passed me very close and very fast. He had to almost immediately slam on his brakes because there were 10 stopped cars in both lanes in front of him. I passed him while he was stopped, then as traffic started moving I was now in front of him again. He started laying on his horn and yelling for me to get out of the road, so I stopped in front of him and asked him what his issue was.
He told me bikes can’t be in the road and I needed to be on the sidewalk. We argued back and forth, then he said he would call the police if I didn’t get out of his way. I told him to please call the police. He then threatened to come move me himself, so I said go ahead (I’m 6’5” and 300 pounds).
After that, he got back in his car and honked awhile longer. I was trying to explain to him my rights as a cyclist but he would not listen to me. He then drove slowly forward, making contact and slightly pushing my bike. I yelled at him, then he just nailed the gas. He knocked me to the ground and ran over my bike and right leg, then had to stop because there were two cars in front of him at the light.
As I got up, he got out of his car and told me that I am an asshole and I’m the reason people hate cyclists. I took the pic of him and his car about that time.
He then got back in his car, made a left on Lassen and drove off. I tried to get witnesses from the over 20 people there, but only got two to stop. Then I called 911. My leg looked like I had 2 tennis balls under my skin on my mid and lower shin, as well as a few cuts and both chain and tire marks; after a minute or two it was hard to walk.
They took me to Northridge Hospital. There is a possible fracture of one of the bones in my foot and crush injuries to my leg. I need to see another doctor in a couple days when the swelling goes down, but meanwhile, I can’t really walk because it hurts to put any pressure on my leg. The reporting officer said he went to the guy’s address but he was not answering the door and it appeared his car was in the garage. Now I guess the case is in limbo between that officer and the detectives.
Hopefully, John will be okay. And hopefully, the police will take this case seriously and get a dangerous driver — one willing to use his car as a weapon — off the streets.
And that’s exactly what the charge should be, assault with a deadly weapon. It doesn’t matter that they were arguing before the impact, any more than it would matter if two men were arguing outside a bar when one took out a gun and shot the other.
But as this case clearly shows, it’s almost always a mistake to stop and argue with an angry driver, no matter how wrong or how much of a jerk he or she may be. Let alone stop in front of them.
I learned that lesson myself. The hard way.
Your best move is to get out of the way, and photograph — or better yet, video — the driver’s actions, and get the names and numbers of any witnesses.
Then let the police deal with it.
On the other hand, this could also be a good test case for LA’s bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance.
Correction: I originally wrote that this incident occurred on Thursday; it actually took place on Wednesday.
A few months back, I ran into a guy with a brilliant idea for a web-based video series.
Steve Isaacs told me about Sweet Ride USA, devoted to exploring the sweet side of life by bike.
If you ask me, the only thing that goes better with bikes than dessert is beer. And it’s a lot easier to ride home after a few pastries than it is a handful of beers.
He promised to send me more details. And then… nothing.
At least, until I went online the other day to dig through my email server’s spam filter looking for another message that didn’t get through. And found the one he’d sent me over two months earlier.
Sorry about that, Steve.
For the last few months I’ve been developing a new web series called Sweet Ride USA, about exploring a city by bicycle with friends, seeking out delicious desserts and ultimately burning off every calorie we consume on the ride. It’s a homemade effort, all done with a partner and a bunch of friends donating their time & talent, and we just launched our first episode!
WATCH EPISODE 1 http://bit.ly/srusaep1
The bike culture and its people have been very good to me, and I wanted create a show that would bring viewers into the unique thrill of checking out a city on two wheels and use the sampling of desserts as a universal hook, for the non-biking folks.
The long view for the show is to eventually travel the world and find out what their bike cultures have to teach us… while eating their donuts.
I’d love it if you’d check out the show – http://bit.ly/srusaep1 and if you like it – please subscribe, follow, like or share with your audience.Steve Isaacs Facebook Twitter Check out our Teaser Trailer http://bit.ly/srusateaser Subscribe to the Sweet Ride USA YouTube Channel http://youtube.com/sweetrideusa
Former LACBC board member, and UCLA and Cambridge lecturer Dr. Michael Cahn writes about the revival of an erstwhile bike group on the Westwood campus.
There used to be a little group called UCLA Bicycle Academy. We had a blog http://www.bicycleacademy.blogspot.com/ and a monthly lunch appointment, the first Friday every month.
This Friday, 6 September, we will resume this little routine. Donald “High-Price-of-Free-Parking” Shoup is joining us for a little update about campus developments and opportunities. Do join us for a good start to the new term! We meet at Lu Valle Commons on Friday 6 September at 12 noon.
Finally, Mark Goodley forwards a photo of the Ghost Bike for Debra Deem, killed in a collision while riding in Newport Beach last week.
Beautiful. And just too sad for words.
We can all look forward to the day when the last bike rider killed on our streets is the last bike rider killed on our streets.