Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Completely lost it today

Every cyclist has a bad driver story and today is mine. Three of us (to hide names I'll use D and E as names) were returning west on Shaker when we stopped at Green. When the light changed i noticed a blue SUV right on the D's rear wheel-closer than I have ever seen and D was right behind me so this was scary. Finally when the SUV passed he left all three of us (lined out-not side by side) a foot..maybe. I told E when i caught him that I felt like going 36mph and catch him at the light.

Sad of me to be prejudice, but he was an elderly man and its seems that many times when you get honked at and almost hit-its white hair on top of the drivers head. Usually a man, but sometimes a woman and very aggresive. Do some lose a sense of morality as a part of aging?

As it turned out down at Warrensville I did catch him, but the light was changing to green so as I caught up to his back end as he pulled away I hit his rear qurter glass as hard as I could with my knuckles and he slammed on his brakes. he opned his window and I started screaming at him to leave cyclist 4' of room when he passed.

Well-he went on about how we were riding 3 abreast (maybe standing at the red light) and I reminded him he tried to kill us. We progressed down Northpark where the argument continued and he even yelled "Do you want me to get out of my car?" several times. Finally I responded "Why, so you can get your ass kicked?".

Finally he told me that he was calling 911 and I didnt complain, but as he was dialing his phone and talking to the person on the other end I yelled in the car "Did he mention that he tried to kill us...?" I had to laugh as I couldnt even imagine what lie he would present to the officer when they arrived as to why he in his 5000lb car was threatened by a skinny dude in spandex on a 16lb bike that he easily could have driven away from. I still would have liked ot stay around for the officer to arrive.

But as most of us know cyclist are often viewed as the enemy and it would be my word against an elderly mans and I figured the sympathy vote was not going to mr. sweaty!! So now I was feeling bad about D and E and decided to cut my losses and ride on home. Theres way more details, but this is the bulk of it.

A friend who I confided in later made a great point. He said not in these exact words that morally I had every right to slam my fist in his window, dent his car, yell and scream as he did just try to kill all three of us (and I dont take well to myself being threatened, but something kicks in when my friends get threatened too), but in the court of law, once I started yelling and hit his car, I pretty much lost any chance of help from the police.

I then started to feel not only bad for D and E, but also for the next cyclist he might come upon and his potential retaliation, but again my friend said at least now this person has to think about his actions and the consequences when he tries to be vigilante and rid the world of cyclists three at a time.

Maybe I was the first to confront him vocally and physically and not just flip him the bird or throw a hand up in disgust. Maybe, just maybe hes lost a bit of that feeling of control over helpless cyclists that he must crave. I am glad he was the stick that broke the camels back because he was a complete asshole and he got the brunt of frustration I have felt over 100 other close calls.

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