The vulnerability of cyclists

An Ironman friend of mine recently posted on social media a disturbing cyclist road rage video recorded on the offending driver’s dash cam.

The video gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach – primarily, I think, because of the seething hatred the driver seems to have for a certain class of people and his apparent disregard for how his actions could result in serious injury or death (whether by his own driving or by inciting others to share his rage).

The vast majority of drivers I encounter here in western Nebraska are very courteous – almost to a fault. I send a little wave or mental “thank you!” to drivers whenever they take especial care around me. It’s because of their cooperation, courtesy, and law-abiding nature that I feel safe riding.

But there’s always that one guy . . . (and it usually is a male, in my experience.)

Yesterday when I was riding home from work, some schlump suddenly hollered something unintelligible at me from the passenger seat as his vehicle passed. It startled me. I very well could have jerked the handlebars the wrong way and crashed.

The fact is, cyclists are quite vulnerable, quite exposed. We are not encased in a protective bubble of steel, seat belts, and air bags. We do not have 4,000 pounds of weight to wield. We cannot roll up the windows and turn up the radio to tune out our environment.

I wonder if that is why some people pick on cyclists.

Perhaps they have an inferiority complex. Perhaps it makes them feel better to harass or threaten a more vulnerable traveler from the superior vantage point and near-anonymous safety of their enclosed automobile.

I say “near-anonymous” because license plates and helmet cams exist.

Maybe it’s time to invest in a helmet cam . . .

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

5 thoughts on “The vulnerability of cyclists

  1. I find it funny how folks will shout at you from a moving car still. Isnt the internet the place now to insult and run?

    • Some people have not yet caught up with the times, apparently.

      Though I must say, the “approve first post” feature of Wordpess is quite nice. I deleted before it went public a hurtfully rude comment that some random stranger decided to leave.

  2. I was equally as appalled and nauseous when I watched this video. I wish there was a better awareness for cyclists in this country. Unfortunately, there will always be at least one person out there with this sick mindset 😦

  3. Part of the thrill of being out there is the unexpected. Luckily, there are more delightful surprises than vicious ones like you experienced. I bet that was his idea of fun. Silly man.

    • My surprise-of-the-ride today was a turkey vulture taking off from a mailbox post next to a driveway as we passed. Some would not rank a vulture sighting very highly, but these scavengers impress me. AND, they are much more enjoyable than shouting schlumps!

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