I had something happen today that I've never seen before.
On my way home from work, I was riding in the left lane on Franklin and just before Washington, a guy in a black BMW came up from behind me and almost pinned me between him and a parked taxi. I yelled and he swerved and passed me calling me a pussy- then he stopped about 50 feet ahead at the stoplight. Here is where things got weird. I passed him on the left just before Randolph and as I passed him, he reached out and tried to grab me. He had to stop at the light again and when he did, he slammed on his breaks and I think he took off his seatbelt and reached into the backseat and showed me a baseball bat. The whole time continuing to calling me a pussy and hurling gay slurs.
I ride hard, but I'm safe and way more considerate than 90% of people out there. I've also been riding year round since 2003 and have had my share of yelling matches with drivers. As and "older" guy with a family, who has seen a lot, I've been riding more cautious and safer than ever, but things keep getting weirder out there. This is the first time someone has tried to grab me and the first to threaten me with a baseball bat.
It's really disheartening, everyone is getting more aggressive and less respectful out there. And more than anything, I kind of feel sorry for a guy who has a baseball bat at the ready in his back seat.
I am assuming that the police can't really do anything. Besides being a giant A-hole and a homophobe, I'm sure the law doesn't really care about his threats like this. What I am more concerned about is if this guy has a habit of doing this and if he turns those threats into action sometime. There should be some record of his pattern of threatening behavior. I am the first to forgive people, and I know that we all make mistakes, but the more I think about this situation, the more concerned I get about this guy actually hurting someone. So is there a place to report this kind of activity? maybe we should start a threatening driver registry if it doesn't already exist. in the meantime...watch out for a black BMW SUV with Illinois plates R24 1979
not trying to call you on that just trying to understand the situation. I haven't biked in the city since the early nineties and there were a total number of 0 bike lanes at that time. I am interested to know how left turns are done from bike lanes. I understand that in Europe they tend to turn right and then U turn and wait at the light again, but I know this is not Europe.
I ride in the suburbs where there seems to be total confusion on bicyclist road behavior. I often have oncoming cars begin to stop as I take the lane (for a left turn as example) which throws off timing and confuses everyone. It's like "oh no, A cyclist in the road, let's all stop and let the crazy person ride through" when all they really need to do is just keep driving because I'm not crazy or ill behaved (but they don't know that) so not wanting to hit me they just stop unless I wave at them to continue.
I understand, Irvin! your question made me question what I was doing, which I think is a good thing. You comments about the suburbs are right on. I lived in Buffalo,NY for a few years and sadly ended up driving way more than biking just because of the reasons you wrote. There were so few bike commuters that cars just didn't know what to do when they encountered a cyclist.
I moved back here about 5 years ago and I hear that things are progressing in Buffalo, hopefully it will everywhere but with recent cyclist/vehicle news, I fear that things are going in the other direction.
The database is a good resource for people that go out of their way to harass cyclists.
Agro male Jeep drivers seem to be a growing trend.