The Chainlink

Last night in Uptown (Clark & Lawrence) I was lectured and then threatened by an irate driver.

Why the lecture?  He thought I should be waiting in the right turn late at a red light, even though I was not going to make a right turn.  He didn't like me standing in the line of cars waiting to go straight through the intersection.

I was polite and advised him to check the city of Chicago website for rules of the road related to bicycling (but I don't think he heard this, as he never stopped yelling).  He ended his rant with, "I just want you to remember that it's 2500 lbs against 25 lbs!"

Anyway, given that this guy may have a bad temper as well as a not-so-great understanding of the rules of the road, I would advise anyone biking in Uptown to try to steer clear (no pun intended) if they see him - who knows what else might set him off?

Description:  White, somewhat overweight, middle-aged, balding, salt&pepper full beard

Car: Black Cadillac SUV

License: IL R24 0270

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Until we become a city with a transportation system to rival Amsterdam's, these bloated buffoons in their cages will always be ranting and honking at me and you and everyone else who chooses to be green.

Never gonna happen. Americans learning from some European Socialist Pinko-Cripto Commies (and secretly Moslems, to boot)?!

Juan 2-8 mi. said:

Until we become a city with a transportation system to rival Amsterdam's, these bloated buffoons in their cages will always be ranting and honking at me and you and everyone else who chooses to be green.

"I have a giant machine and you have a stupid bike, so that gives me the right to run you over".

Your story (and many other similar stories) are just another reason why there needs to be better bike infrastructure if the city is truly serious about supporting biking as transportation.

Good infrastructure, like in the Netherlands, is only about half the "battle" though, because Dutch drivers (from what I've experienced) are relatively patient and understanding of other road users. That is not the case in the US, where I have heard many people say they want to "run over pedestrians" with their cars. So there's that...

Sounds like this guy threatened you; I would feel threatened if someone told me it was "2500 pounds vs 25 pounds," as if using the road is some sort of video game with a reset button. I live by that intersection and think both Clark and Lawrence around there allow drivers to go too fast, but I see tons of people riding their bikes every day.

If that's the case, if you can't beat em, join em in bumper to bumper traffic with these pseudo prestige human powered cars that look really fast. :D

Serge Lubomudrov said:

Never gonna happen. Americans learning from some European Socialist Pinko-Cripto Commies (and secretly Moslems, to boot)?!

Juan 2-8 mi. said:

Until we become a city with a transportation system to rival Amsterdam's, these bloated buffoons in their cages will always be ranting and honking at me and you and everyone else who chooses to be green.

File a police report. He broke the law.

I'd say its more about a cu

I'm kinda with Bruce on this one about filing a police report. I'm fairly certain he threatened you with a deadly weapon, which I think in IL is aggravated assault.

But I'm kinda not with Bruce because we all know that the police would just laugh in your face.

Bruce said:

File a police report. He broke the law.

I think it's important to work on establishing precendents and a history of incidents and complaints arising therefrom. Please see the following, regarding a law signed by Governor Quinn in 2011:

http://lawyerjimfreeman.com/blog/2010/07/13/illinois-anti-bicycle-h...

  
As far as I understand, the law makes it a crime to intimidate cyclists with threats.

I 'm not a lawyer but I think that we could eventually file a class action suit against the CPD for failing to enforce laws such as this after we establish a clear history of abuse and failure to enforce the law.

Again, I'm far from being a legal expert. 


Will G - 10mi said:

I'm kinda with Bruce on this one about filing a police report. I'm fairly certain he threatened you with a deadly weapon, which I think in IL is aggravated assault.

But I'm kinda not with Bruce because we all know that the police would just laugh in your face.

Bruce said:

File a police report. He broke the law.

I agree with those who say the driver broke the law.  You are on solid ground to press charges as there is a law against drivers who verbally abuse or harass bikers - and of course as he threatened you that adds more weight to your case.  Of course I would be careful if you fear the driver will actually take you on depending on his propensity for actual violence beyond the verbal - in which case at the very least I would take down his plate number and then take that to the police station with the time of day and address the incident occurred.  One could, if not fearing violent reprisal, say in a very crowded location with witnesses and/or fellow bikers around, tell the driver that you intend to press charges and plan to call the police and so would like him to stay put until the police come to mediate the dispute and that if he leaves that will not look good as attempts to flee from a citizen's arrest are illegal.  I can't promise a positive outcome, but I do know there are laws against drivers abusing bikers verbally.  Who knows more about those, and whether my advice is sound or what is better to do under the circumstances? I have never had to do this so I am just informing you what I would attempt if I felt abused and unsafe and brave enough to take on a driver.

Do you think anyone would really try to use their vehicle as a weapon?

Evan said:

Thanks for that info/link! I did not know about that! If you can stand it I'd say file the complaint and mention that statute.

Bruce said:

I think it's important to work on establishing precendents and a history of incidents and complaints arising therefrom. Please see the following, regarding a law signed by Governor Quinn in 2011:

http://lawyerjimfreeman.com/blog/2010/07/13/illinois-anti-bicycle-h...

  
As far as I understand, the law makes it a crime to intimidate cyclists with threats.

I 'm not a lawyer but I think that we could eventually file a class action suit against the CPD for failing to enforce laws such as this after we establish a clear history of abuse and failure to enforce the law.

Again, I'm far from being a legal expert. 


Will G - 10mi said:

I'm kinda with Bruce on this one about filing a police report. I'm fairly certain he threatened you with a deadly weapon, which I think in IL is aggravated assault.

But I'm kinda not with Bruce because we all know that the police would just laugh in your face.

Bruce said:

File a police report. He broke the law.

If you file a police report and try to pursue this, I hope you've got witnesses who are willing to back you up.

SlowCoachOnTheRoad said:

I agree with those who say the driver broke the law.  You are on solid ground to press charges as there is a law against drivers who verbally abuse or harass bikers - and of course as he threatened you that adds more weight to your case.  Of course I would be careful if you fear the driver will actually take you on depending on his propensity for actual violence beyond the verbal - in which case at the very least I would take down his plate number and then take that to the police station with the time of day and address the incident occurred.  One could, if not fearing violent reprisal, say in a very crowded location with witnesses and/or fellow bikers around, tell the driver that you intend to press charges and plan to call the police and so would like him to stay put until the police come to mediate the dispute and that if he leaves that will not look good as attempts to flee from a citizen's arrest are illegal.  I can't promise a positive outcome, but I do know there are laws against drivers abusing bikers verbally.  Who knows more about those, and whether my advice is sound or what is better to do under the circumstances? I have never had to do this so I am just informing you what I would attempt if I felt abused and unsafe and brave enough to take on a driver.

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