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Cyclists Slam into Driver with Road Rage

If you’re a regular bike blog reader, I’m sure you have already seen this story about a doctor who cut off a cyclist and then slammed on his brakes so the bikers went through his back window.

I’d love to believe the bikers. I’m not so sure, however.

Bike Crunch in Boulder, Colorado

Earlier this year, I caught a crunch out of the corner of my eye and whipped my head around in time to see a biker go down and the car stop. I grabbed my camera so I could take pictures of the accident and get a picture of the license plate in case the driver tried to run.

The biker was coming down a hill outside Boulder, Colorado. The car was doing less than 20 miles an hour and slowing to make a left turn into the parking lot. The cyclist was going too fast — nearly twice as fast as the car. He didn’t realize the car was turning and went to pass. He misjudged distance and intent. The cyclist crunched into the driver’s bumper.

To his credit, the driver stopped. To his credit, the biker admitted he was at fault for the accident.

If the cyclist hadn’t fessed-up, well, there were enough of us in the parking lot ready to blame the driver and beat him senseless before the cops arrived. (It was Boulder, after all. The biker is always right.) The biker did the right thing.

But, what if he hadn’t?

What if the biker said the driver had been ticked-off, unable to pass the biker on a narrow mountain road? What if the biker had said the driver had tried to run him off the road then slammed on his brakes in front of the bike? Road rage. Damn cars.

Would we have believed the biker? I probably would have.

Busted Wheel and Trip to the Hospital

The front, carbon fiber wheel was toast. I’d be surprised if the front fork didn’t need replacement.

We drove the cyclist back to his apartment — five or so miles away — and his friend took him to the hospital. He didn’t think he had any broken bones but was worried about soft-tissue damage. He looked okay on the mountain given the fall but by the time he was back to his apartment he wasn’t feeling well at all.

We joked as to if his repairs or the bike’s repairs would be more expensive.

In the Land of Critical Mass

Cyclists are becoming more militant and organized. Would I run my bike into the back of a jerk’s car if I could get some cash, sympathy and the local government to install more bike lanes? Probably not.

Would I immediately believe every cyclist that is involved with a car? Probably not.

Before I start jabbing spokes under the fingernails of drivers, I’m going to make sure I know all the facts and a court of law has made a ruling. Until then, I’ll just give everyone a bit more space.

—Matt

4 comments to Cyclists Slam into Driver with Road Rage

  • kls

    Ditto what you said. I’m the guy in the blue jacket in your picture. I messed up my Achilles tendon when I turned quickly and pushed off at an odd angle when I heard the crash and ram off to see if the biker was OK.

    My first reaction, like yours, was to shoot pix of the car in case he bolted.

    The biker was much more gracious than I would have been when he said the accident was caused because the driver didn’t signal his left turn and because he (the biker) was going too fast for conditions. He figured that both of them could end up with tickets if they called the cops, so he said he’d forget the damage to himself and his bike if the driver would overlook a small scuff mark on the side of his car.

    I’ve often wondered how the biker came out when he went to the E.R. to get checked. He was beginning to hurt by the time we got him down off the mountain.

  • Argh! I just want to ride my bike.

    Now I have to bone-up on each state that I ride in to see what my rights are and what the rights are of the folks driving?

    Perhaps I could go to a Army/Navy surplus store and just buy one of those old under water mines and strap that to my bike. Then all bets are off if I get hit by a driver.

  • What a breathof fresh air to hear that a biker takes responsability for his or her’s actions. I live up HWY 7 to Allenspark and I have to tell you that most bikers are doing the right thing but there are always a few who think they are God because they ride a bike and car drivers are scum. There paved roads everywhere in this country where built for the transpertation of cars and trucks if bikers want special rights let them build their own roads and there won’t be any car bike confrontations. You don’t see these problems in most areas but for sure the worst place for this is in Boulder county Co.

  • Aaron,

    In this case, the driver AND the biker were at fault. The driver didn’t signal his intentions and the cyclist was going too fast for conditions.

    Show me where it’s written that “There paved roads everywhere in this country where built for the ‘transpertation’ of cars and trucks…”

    Interstates are the only roads that come to my mind where bicycles are explicitly prohibited. Even there, there are exceptions if there are no other alternative routes.

    Virtually every state says that bicycles are entitled to ride on the roads that we pay taxes to support. And don’t give me the “bikes don’t pay gas tax or have to buy tags” argument.

    Funding for roads comes from other taxes that I pay, even if I never fire up a gas-powered vehicle again.

    I think you should keep your car off those roads that are built exclusively for trucks that are bigger than you or for cars that are faster than you.

    Oh, and you might want to invest in a spell checker. Or find a second grader who could edit your messages before you post them.