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End the Punishment Pass

It’s the ride you’ve been waiting for all week. You’re on a country road, maybe with a few friends, maybe in your favorite new kit. You’ve been out for 2 hours already, your legs are strong, the big ring feels small. Your real-world worries have faded away, and the road ahead asks more from you. You hear the breeze, your tires, the chain, and your heart. You’ve reached that place that all cyclists know.

And then, it happens. Your peripheral view overcomes your vision, you see a storm of color enveloping you, you are violently shoved by a concussion of air, and you hear nothing but an explosion of ugly sound.

Internally, the euphoria of endorphins is overcome by a surge of stress and fear hormones, triggering terror, a racing heart, and a body bracing for impact. The car that veered so close to you — steered into you — races off. Your ride has been ruined, but when you calm down you say you were lucky not to have been killed.

You Experienced the Punishment Pass

This tragedy has happened to every single one of us. It is a tragedy in the most classical sense, this horrible contrast between your expansive heroic nature a moment before, and belittling pure fear after.

You were buzzed by a car. For my almost 40 years of riding, that’s what we’ve called it, being “buzzed.” Many drivers (and much worse, too many law enforcement officers) don’t really see the big deal with buzzing. Drivers have never experienced it from our side, and they certainly have not been in our shoes when one of our tribe is struck, hurt, or killed.  The punishment pass is an illegal act by a driver to punish us for riding our bikes. It is an illegal act that can and does hurt and kill.

End the Punishment Pass

Today we announce a campaign to address the problem of close calls and the punishment head on. We are joining others and calling it “End the Punishment Pass.”

At Bike Law, we are devoting significant and on-going resources to do what we can, across the country, to bring attention to this problem, and offer tools to punish those criminal drivers that persist in endangering our lives. Our goal is that this inhumane behavior is recognized for what it is, prevented, punished, and ultimately eliminated.

We have been working on this for months so far, and in the coming days and weeks, we will release more about our campaign to End The Punishment Pass.

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