Somebody’s Gonna’ Get Killed
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 5, 2015
I was run off the road while riding my 10-speed bicycle.
It happened in a residential part of town, very near home, and upon one of the widest roads in town…
Capable of 4 lanes of 2-way traffic, with parallel parking along both sides, the road also ran adjacent the football stadium & high school.
I loved to ride my bicycle, and would do so almost daily, for at least five miles. And that was long before the song “Bicycle” by Queen was popularized. In fact, it was upon a “road bike” much like the ones seen in the video below.
Recollecting that time in my youth, it was an afternoon, during summer, as best I recall, and I was returning home from a jaunt.
Upon my return, and very near home, I was run off the road by one such man whom could be described as an “in-bred, rat bastard scumbag, mouth-breathing POS with 2 brain cells.” He was then a very good example why cyclists should “Stand Your Ground.”
Riding as far to the right as practicable (as state law requires cyclists to do), on that widest of roads, he ran me off the road – which means, he had to slow to my speed, and veer ever closer to the right, and the continue so doing until I very nearly crashed by running into the curbing. Thankfully, I stopped before I crashed.
He then proceeded to drive a short distance ahead, stop, get out of his car, and walk back toward me, and in an angry and very loud tone of voice, berated me about riding a bicycle on the road, claiming that “the road is for cars.” He then threatened to hit me with his car if he ever saw me again. It must take a very special type of
man human being to use a one-ton car to deliberately run off the road a teenager riding a bicycle.
I was so shaken by his attack, that, even though I may have made a mental note of his automobile tag number (license plate), in the short distance to home, I forgot it, and didn’t file a police report.
Of course, I knew then he was an ignoramus bigot, because I knew the law (and whether or not you ride a bicycle, you should too!), and I knew he was wrong.
The Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended, states:
Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.
Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
(Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §12-102.)
Note the phrase, “…shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties…”
In essence, what that means is, that by law, bicycles are to be treated with equal respect as any other motorized vehicle, and are to observe the same laws.
Since the time of that most unfortunate incident several years ago, laws concerning bicycles (at least in Alabama) have not substantially changed, and any addition to the laws have only added requirements for helmets, and other safety measures pertaining to children & youth.
And unfortunately, there have been some very-well publicized events in the nation, and in Alabama, which have cast a very disparaging light upon motorists, which were only prosecuted because of the self-incriminating video evidence posted on the Internet by the perpetrator.
A specific case in point is Keith Maddox, of Peidmont, Alabama, who was arrested by Calhoun County Sheriff’s deputies after he posted three videos of himself on FaceBook in which he is seen jeopardizing the life of a bicyclist. He was charged with Reckless Endangerment, a misdemeanor.
Since his arrest, after posting bond, he has removed the videos, and posted a public apology, which read in part:
“I want to publicly apologize to all people that I have offended over those absolute stupid videos that I posted … anybody who knows me knows that would never ever intentionally hurt anyone. I am truly sorry for anyone I may have offended … and please everyone share the road and be very aware of bicycle riders everywhere.”
Video of the crime is available on YouTube.
Jamie Miernik, of Huntsville, Alabama, is a bicyclist who serves on the Alabama Bicycle Coalition and the Huntsville Bike Advisory & Safety Committee, said the type of aggression seen in Maddox’s videos doesn’t surprise her, adding that, “This happens all the time; I think the frustration this guy has represents the feelings a lot of motorists have at times towards bicycles on the road.”
It’s sad to think that some things haven’t changed… and likely won’t, until someone gets killed, or injured.
And now, for a bit of fun!