Just saw this tweet from our friends at Streets blog:
Shocked by news from Chicago Bicycle Advocate about zero jail time for men who hunted people on bikes with their car: http://bit.ly/bVUDyp
Whoa. Some drunk good ole boys decide they are going to go around and run cyclists off the road for fun?!?!? The Chicago police catch up with these guys and after going to court one of them gets off scott free and the other gets 10 days in jail. I don't get it.
Getting drunk and hunting cyclists. How is this any different than the long island teenagers who go hunting immigrants? Or the kids with too much time on their hands that go roughing up the homeless? I could go on and on about the various types of randomly motivated hate crimes but that really isn't the point. My point is that we are outraged by these sorts of crimes and general sentence them hard. Why is this case any different? It's not.
I recall a story my brother-in-law told me a few years ago. He was riding in rural Ohio when a pickup pulled in front of him and on a long open road and slammed on it's brakes. He was riding a tandem with his 13yo daughter. They nearly lost control of the bike. Then two guys steps out of his truck like he wants to fight my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law must have looked smaller on the bike or the dudes noticed that there was a kid on the back because he firmly told the driver that he better get back in his car and the driver was wise enough to do so. Who knows what that was all about, maybe it was mistaken identity but I think it was more likely some dude out to have fun at a cyclist expense.
When I try to look at this from the bike hater side I get that we must all look like a bunch of Lance Armstrong wannabes. And it doesn't help that many cyclist dress "funny" with tight shorts and jerseys that could be mistaken for a NASCAR driver with all the "sponsors". Go ahead. Make fun of it. I'll admit I look like a dork. I can deal with that. But don't eff with my life!