It’s hot and bike violence is back on.
Last Sunday a friend of mine was assaulted on the East Liberty bike lanes by some young kids. I’ve written about this type of thing before (“Kid on Bike Violence Demands Community Solutions”) and it seems to be the same situation that baffles people every year, around the country. The question is always there:
What do we do? And I want to know: what do you do? Let’s learn from each other. What can we do to eradicate this mob violence?
It’s not just kids taunting and endangering kids. The other day I witnessed a driver in a massive truck-SUV combo blitz through a no-turn on red chasing after a kid on a bike. It became a two-cop response to the confrontation which blocked a major street. The driver of the truck and his wife screamed that they were TRYING TO RUN DOWN the kid on the bike to show him that you can’t blow through stoplights.
And I agree, you shouldn’t blow through lights if you want to be treated as a legitimate road user. I saw the kid on the bicycle blow past me when I was waiting at the light and it annoyed me, too. I’m trying to ride carefully and many people on bikes flagrantly and dangerously disregard the laws which makes all cyclists law-breakers in the eyes of many drivers. But the answer isn’t to run him down to prove that.
The elderly father of the rage-filled driver leaned out of the SUV and rapped the young biker with his cane and continued the verbal barrage. The cops had to restrain the driver to stop him from attacking the kid.
What makes people act like this? What motivates this crazed anger? Certainly much of it stems from other sources and bicycles are simply vulnerable, easy targets to lash out against.
We as bike riders do need to be more responsible, certainly. But how do we reach out to other road users for a useful dialogue?