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November 16, 2011 / comocyclechic

Look out for the turd in the rusty pickup

Today a coworker, who is new to bike commuting, told me a scary story about how she was verbally harassed while she was on her bike earlier this week. She said she was in the traffic line in the westbound lane of Worley waiting for the light at West to turn green.  The guy in the rusty pickup directly behind her was so unhappy with her taking a spot in the line of cars that he decided to scream obscenities at her. She said there was a lot of traffic around so she had to endure two cycles of this harassment. During the second cycle the truck pulled into the left turn lane beside her and continued to scream until they both got a green light and she could get away from him.

Naturally she was very frightened. She said the guy was so aggressive that she was afraid for her physical safety.

My coworker is a smart lady who wears lots of high-visibility cycling gear, follows the rules of the road and just invested in a beautiful bike. She was doing nothing wrong, and  she’s going to take a break from something she really likes to do because one asshat.

I can’t blame her. That shit is scary.



  1. Tobias / Nov 17 2011 2:30 am

    It seems that this kind of harassment is everywhere the same against the cycling community. May be it is some kind of primitive behavior that let car drivers to be so aggressive to “vulnerable” bike riders. May be it is some kind of jungle law or survival of the strongest that let them be so irrational.
    IMHO, taking a break from riding because of the retarded comportment of some idiots will be the wrong way to handle such a situation. There is no way that such a primate will take my joy of riding the bike. Next time: Note down the license plate (and let him see that you are noting it, may be he get some remorse), get it to the police and, of course, continue to ride to get quickly over the situation.

  2. Cody / Nov 17 2011 8:56 am

    Tobias is right. With the new Columbia cycling harassment ordnance, screaming at a cyclist for the purposes of frightening them is illegal. Grab the license plate number, file the incident with the police, and take comfort in the fact that you’re not a knuckle-dragging fuck-wit.

    • Charlie / Nov 17 2011 9:34 am

      I’m the co-worker in question. =( It was dark, and he didn’t have a license plate light. All I could’ve told the police was a guy in a blue pickup with rust spouted obscenities at me. I have filed a harassment report in the past (a few weeks ago, actually) and nothing ever came of it. I had the license plate number then, too. It was a City of Columbia ParaTransit bus.

      I guess I just realized after that how vulnerable I am on my bike. And how much nobody else cared. It was a beautiful evening, lots of people had their car windows down. There were lots of people walking around on sidewalks. Nobody yelled anything back at this guy. And when JerkFace McGee finally edged up beside me (so that he was hanging over the double-yellow line into oncoming traffic) I actually wondered if he was going to shoot me or something. He was *so mad* for no logical reason. That’s the part that scares me the most.

      Sigh. I wish I could get back on my bike. Driving sucks. So does anxiety. Thanks for the support! I’m sure one of these days I’ll work up the courage to get back on.

  3. comocyclechic / Nov 17 2011 3:29 pm

    It’s easy to say that Charlie should get back on her bike, and to hell with the haters, but it is genuinely scary to encounter this sort of situation. And it is really hard to get over it and get back on the bike.

    I was once in a minor bike accident, but was afraid to get back on the bike for months afterward. My then-boyfriend-now-husband was a great help. He and I would take rides together until I felt ready to go out on my own again.

    Anyway, I hope you do get back on your bike, Charlie, but not until you’re ready. If you want to go on a city ride sometime I’ll be happy to go with you.

  4. Alisa / Nov 19 2011 7:25 pm

    Charlie, I’m a bike commuter too. I’ve been car-free for three years now, and have chosen to use Ash instead of Worley, even though there are no bike lanes on it. It might be all in my head but it seems like the car drivers on Ash are more aware or something. Hang in there. Take your time getting back on the road, and when you are ready and need support, we’re here!

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