Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Amazing story of a driver intentionally hitting a bicyclist, who happened to be a cop

Pretty wild stuff over at the A Girl and Her Bike blog. Here's a snippet:
I was stopped at the intersection of 13th and Kenyon St. NW at a red light, waiting to turn left onto 13th St. Kenyon is a one-way street going west, and I was on the left side of the street, since I would be turning left. While waiting for the light I heard a car speed up Kenyon St. behind me. I could sense the car stop immediately behind me, extremely close. It was aggressive, but fairly typical aggressive driver behavior. I didn't think much of it because we were at a red light, and there was no where for him to go anyway.

And that's when I felt a *BUMP* from behind. Nothing too hard, but enough to intimidate. Now, remember: I knew he had STOPPED behind me. So this was a conscious decision by the driver to hit me with his vehicle. I could hear laughing coming from the car behind me. They thought this was HILARIOUS. Also, there was a taxi to my right, waiting for the light as well that even remarked on this behavior ("asshole" is what I think the taxi driver said).

I ignored this. Why? 98% of the time, it is not worth it to engage with an aggressive driver. At best, you end up getting angrier, at worst, you get hurt. Plus, I spend the majority of my day dealing with people like this and by the time I'm done with work I Just. Don't. Want. To. Anymore.

The light turned green and I started to proceed. And then I felt *BUMP!!!!!* again, this time a bit harder.

Oh no. No. No. No. I can't ignore this. I just can't.

So I stopped. Pulled out my police badge (yes, I'm a cop if you didn't know before. No I really don't want to talk about it, thanks) showed it to the driver and motioned him to stay right where he was.

And that's when he panicked.
The whole story is worth a read: thankfully there was a happy ending, she chased him (on her Capital Bikeshare bike!), he was caught and is in jail.

It raises a bigger issue to me though, which is aggressive drivers in the neighborhood. I've written before about nearly being hit while walking in a crosswalk during a walk signal, and I've witnessed bike-versus-car incidents numerous times in the neighborhood. Of course this happens everywhere, and of course sometimes pedestrians or bikers are to blame, but the vast majority is drivers who aren't paying attention or are jerks.

It's really frustrating, not to mention dangerous. It's awesome this particular jerk was arrested, but I wonder what else can be done to prevent this from happening. Any ideas? Or similar experiences?


Anonymous said...

Best part of the story, and why it's worth a read- he also happened to be a drug dealer.

Tim said...

Glad to hear the idiot got what was coming to him.

But a comment on your comment about a wider aggressive driver problem. I agree it exists, but it is not just drivers. As someone who unfortunately drives more often than I bike, I Have seen a number of people doing incredibly stupid things. I live in the Allegro building at 14th and Meridian. Numerous times, driving home from work I will have a green light on Meridian to cross 14th and go into the Allegro parking garage only to nearly hit a biker who is blazing through a red light on 14th. In addition, people crossing the alleyway to get to the Allegro parking garage (next to the Social/Getaway building), almost never pay attention to the do not walk sign on the sidewalk or the fact that this is an active car entrance and they need to look before crossing. Often times they will be completely distracted looking at their phones or something.

I think this intersection and the Allegro entrance in particular are horribly designed, and it looks like the intersection is a three way rather than 4 way intersection. In addition, I'm sure that I do some equally stupid things as a biker or pedestrian on occasion. But I think that we need to not put all of the blame on drivers, or bikers, or pedestrians and ask everyone, regardless of their mode of transportation to pay attention to where they are going. It does not necessarily take an aggressive driver to result in a serious pedestrian or biker accident: all it takes is someone not paying attention in or outside of a car.

Andrew said...

Very good point, thanks.

jared said...

i was crossing in the crosswalk at 11th and girard in the early evening (heading south, on the east side) a couple months ago and an older black gentleman intentionally hit me with his car. He had a stop sign, so had pulled halfway into the crosswalk. As i was crossing, he rolled his car into me. I turned and looked at him and he swore at me, "dumb fucking faggot get your nigger ass out of the road you cocksucking nigger." He kept shouting until my lady friend and I had walked all the way down the block before he finally drove off. she was terrified, but I can't help but giggle when someone calls me (a white guy) a nigger.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Columbia Heights is home to a lot of aggression of black residents against white residents,even when the black residents are nor drug dealers. I too have been nearly hit by black drivers impatient with my crossing the street with the light at a crosswalk. I and my spouse have both been hit deliberately by young men on bicycles on the sidewalk. I have been assaulted as I detained one hit-and-run culprit. Black residents regularly express aggression by spitting in front of every white person they pass on the street. This is not a spontaneous development; it is learned behavior. Perpetrators have been taught how to behave by their elders. Of course, there is more than race based aggression here. Almost all bicyclists ignore stop signs, red lights, crosswalks, and almost all expect pedestrians to have eyes in the back of their heads.

Andrew said...

Come on now, let's watch the generalizations. I have never seen a resident of any race spit in front of me.

Anonymous said...

OK. Revision: I have seen Black residents regularly express aggression by spitting in front of every white person they pass on the street during the period they were within my line of sight.

LatinainDaHood said...

Good story. I'm sure the jackass was from Maryland. Worst. Drivers. Ever.