Road rage in NC is not an isolated incident. Anti-bike rage kills.
Well, road rage has again reared its ugly head near Charlotte, North Carolina. This time no one was hurt, but the behavior was life threatening, photos were taken, and the social media story went viral.
As a bike crash attorney in Charlotte, and as a member of the Bike Law national network, I deal with anti-bike rage all the time. This time, though, there were photos.
On August 24, a group of bicyclists, led by a safe and experienced rider, was out for a ride in Ballantyne, south of Charlotte. As they rode along in a tight double paceline, a woman in a Mercedes sedan, with her daughter in the front seat, buzzed the group, veered in front of them into the bike lane and almost to the curb and then slammed on her brakes. Instead of screaming or pounding on the car, the cyclists tried to talk calmly to the woman, but she was not to be calmed. As the now viral photos show, she flipped them a double backwards bird with a possessed look on her face.
Here’s the original post.
Photos were taken (and the scene was witnessed by 30 people) and posted. They have now been seen by thousands of people, and cyclists around the country are pissed off.
Why are we pissed off? Well, let’s start with the doctor in California who pulled the exact same stunt but caused one of the cyclists to slam face first through his rear window and the other onto the sidewalk. Or the driver who killed 5 cyclists in Michigan. Or the one in Angier, NC who ran over 4 people, leaving two of them hospitalized for months. Or in Durham, or Lillington, NC where bicyclists were killed just in the past several months by motorists running them over from behind. The list goes on and on and on.
Yeah, we are pissed off!!!!!
Yet the bicyclists at the scene, unlike the driver, acted calmly and rationally, calling for police help and documenting the event.
The next day, the greater bicycling community took the opportunity to vent. The driver’s social media accounts were found and publicized (she took them down), some suggested informing her employer of her actual behavior. Some called her names or said unkind things about her appearance. I have followed most of the comments generated by this post, at least locally.
I also regularly read the comments individuals from the general public write when a bicyclist is killed or seriously injured. Now THOSE comments are hateful. They wish death and maiming on people who are parents, brothers, sisters, spouses, children, and who are hurting no one, because they are riding a bicycle! Those comments make those written by cyclists about the Mercedes the Menace look like kindergarten insults.
North Carolina lawyer and Bike Law founder, Ann Groninger, has advocated at the state level on behalf of bicyclists in North Carolina for over 15 years. Ann has offices in Charlotte and Durham and has helped bike accident clients in Asheville, Raleigh, Durham, Greenville, Wilmington, Fayetteville, and throughout the state. Read more about Ann on her bio page.