Thursday, May 17, 2007


The Pittsburgh City Paper had an article about a flurry of recent incidents of violence against cyclists. And, much like I blogged the other day, the first comment posted on the website was by a motorist that blamed the cyclists.

"When on the roads you are obligated to follow adult rules and suffer adult consequences. "

The incidents described had nothing to do with cyclists getting what this pinhead thinks they deserve for disobeying the rules of the road. These are cyclists being assaulted merely for being a cyclists. These are hate crimes.

In addition to countless incidents of verbal harassment, being spit upon and having Big Gulps thrown at me, I have been twice physically assaulted, my only crime being riding my bicycle or perhaps being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For one incident, I was riding the median of Ardmore Blvd. out of Wilkinsburg approaching the Parkway East overpass. It was a hot summer day and I had taken my helmet off. I was suddenly struck in the back of the head and went down. On my hands and knees trying to gather my bearings I was struck again in the back of the skull. I was able to get up and found half a dozen teens fleeing down the hill. They had seen me riding slowly up the hill and apparently thought it would be fun to cross the street to come up behind me and punch me in the back of the head.

The second incident involved me riding home through Wilkinsburg at 11:30 at night. As I approached the busway underpass and station on South Ave. when I came across two youths, one of which was carrying a baseball bat, clearly on the prowl. I attempted to ride off but the geometry of the situation would not have allowed me to avoid being overtaken. I attempted to ditch my bike but got tangled up in the pedals and fell. I ran but realized that I couldn't outrun them and so, as a last resort, I drew my pistol and turned to face them.

They backed down. Not by much, however. While they backed off allowing me to attempt to recover my bike and make my way to the police station a block away, they continued to taunt me from a distance. They apparently believed that because I hadn't shot that I would not shoot. It was about this time that I realized that there was blood all over my hand, the pistol and my shirt from lacerations on my hand sustained when the bike went down and I hit the asphalt.

They tried to outflank me, I ditched the bike and they settled on stealing my bike (which was recovered later because the fall had rendered it unridable). I put my pistol away before knocking on the fire station door and saw that it was in a half-cocked position. I had been half-way through a double-action trigger pull when my attacker, at point blank range, had gone from an aggressive to a non-aggressive posture. In that literal split second, he had saved his life by backing off. Otherwise, I would have sent a 115 grain hollowpoint crashing through the bridge of his nose at 1150 feet per second.

How is that for "adult consequences?"

If there is one thing that really pisses me off about bicycle riding it is the asshats safely cocooned inside their armored vehicles blaming cyclists for the accents they get in. I got sideswiped on Forbes Avenue by a woman in a hurry to get by me and the first words out of her mouth blamed me for "riding down the middle of the road." I was not riding down the middle of the road, I was sandwiched between this bitch and a line of parked cars when she clipped me and sent me over my handlebars. And even if I was riding down the middle of the road, I would have been well within my legal rights to do so. It was YOU who violated the law by not allowing me sufficient room. It was YOU who struck my vehicle. It was YOU who caused the accident.

And here, we're not even talking about accidents or even instances of road rage when some imagined infraction by a cyclist causes a motorist to become unnaturally irate. Were talking about active criminal assaults on bicyclists.

Really! Cyclists are having the shit beaten out of them and you are condoning this! What the fuck is wrong with you people?

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