Monday, October 3, 2011

In Which Someone Tries to Harm CR Biker

Eastern Avenue isn't quite this well lit, but it's not dark, either, and I do ride with lights. Paris at night (with bikes) from pictalogue on Flickr.

I’ve had run-ins with rude drivers before—as I wrote on this blog some time ago, a lawn service van once pulled right in front of me on a slick street during winter, for example

But, tonight’s adventure was special and especially chilling.

I had bell choir practice tonight, which didn’t end until 7:30, so I was biking home in dark night. With, I hasten to add, lights on—a flashing red light to the rear, two flashing lights, one on my bike, one on my helmet, to the front.

I was headed north on Eastern Avenue. I had crossed 29th Street, and it was a block or so before 32nd Street that I had the first encounter. A cream-colored Ford four-door sedan passed me, a bit close for comfort, and stopped a few feet in front of me. A voice yell out: “Get your ass off the road,” and then the car sped on.

I approached it while it was stopped at the corner of Eastern and 32nd. I was ready with some choice words of my own, but the car sped through the intersection, then turned around in the side parking lot of the Rockwell-Collins plant that is between 32nd and 35th streets on Eastern. The car entered the parking lot, sped to the next lot exit and turned left, south—towards me.

I had just stopped at the stop sign and had resumed riding north—and I was beside a parked car when the Ford in front of me crossed the center of the road and veered straight at me, heading south on the northbound side of the street.

It was intimidating, but the car stopped with inches to spare and then sped off.

Apparently, Mr. Ford driver forgot a few things. Like the fact that I wear glasses. Like when a Ford is behaving badly to me, I can recognize and describe a cream-colored Taurus to the police. And that I can read (and did read and recited on the way home) a license plate number.

I called the CR PD as soon as I got home, and they sent a patrol officer out very quickly. I had a brief chat with her, and, I thought, that was that. But no, about 30 minutes later, my phone rang and it was the patrol officer.

She had found the car. And the driver.

He told a dramatically different story—something about me turning right in front of him. His story is pretty ridiculous on the face of it—I ride north on Eastern Avenue all the way from 27th Street to 35th Street, continuing north on Zach Johnson Drive. Given where the car was and where I was when we had our encounter, I wasn’t turning in any direction and would not have “turned in front” of him.

And the jerk kid denied coming back at me at Rockwell-Collins.

Yes, a kid. The car apparently was driven by a 17-year-old boy who was out with one of his buddies. The buddy did the yelling.

Well, it doesn’t appear the CR PD can do anything beyond giving him a stern talking to—it would be a “he said, he said” situation, and the dumb young jerk had his jerk buddy with him too, so it would have been the word of two teens vs CR Biker.

Yet, as the officer told the kid, his story was not very believable. She reports that he at least was left in tears and was embarrassed in front of his parents.

Well, good. I hope he learned something and will grow, and I’m glad nothing worse happened to your biking correspondent for the sake of that life lesson.

The lesson: Even if you’re 17, it’s not OK to be a jerk behind the wheel. And kids, remember, if the old fart on the bicycle is healthy enough to pedal 10 miles a day, there’s a good chance he can read and recall license plate numbers.


  1. I think you would like biking in the UK a lot more... people are pretty friendly here so long as you know how to bike properly.

  2. Comes from being on a small island where the culture isn't as car-centric. I think, last night and usually, that I do bike properly--and I suppose that might the other side of the coin here, there are plenty of rude American bikers!