Thursday, October 6, 2011

I went to go home like usual today. I have to ride about two and a half miles down Royal, west of Harry Hines. It's not a nice stretch of road. Especially in the afternoons it's very busy, but people generally treat me pretty well. I get honked at and whistled at on occasions, people pass me too close bit I don't think anyone means any direct harm. I'm a brief inconvenience and then they're on their way.

Not today. Today a woman made it her personal mission to terrify me.

I think she was in a rush, but if she was in a rush, why didn't she go around me? Why did she, instead, spend well over a mile tailgating me down Royal, honking the whole way. I could hear her getting closer and closer as the honking grew louder. She rolled down her window to yell at me to get out of the way. It sounded like she was right on my ass, a foot from my rear tire. My heart was in my throat the entire way because with every honk I knew that was going to be the second she misjudged our respective speeds, or the second she decided I was just that much of a pest. I kept expecting the thump that would send me flying first to the road and then under her squealing tires. Was I really ready to go out like this? In my hockey jersey?

I just kept riding. I ignored it for a long as I could, then I started gesturing for her to go around me. She just kept laying on the horn, inching closer, and my stomach churned harder. I'm writing this from the train and I'm still shaking. I still feel sick. I'm still nearly in tears. She never saw it, but she got to me.

She eventually moved a lane over, then got stopped at a light, which gave her the chance to honk at me again as I continued in my mostly-empty land. Stopped there at the light, I nearly lost it. A nice man in a truck pulled along side.

"Why was she honking at you crazy like that?"

"I don't know? Stressed out, probably. In a hurry? Taking it out on me."

(Yes, I actually said this. Calmly. How, I do not know)

"Okay, I'm sorry. You ride safe."

Just one nice person checking on me helped me keep it together, but I didn't know at all what to do. When can we pass harassment laws here?


  1. I'm so sorry, that is awful. That and the train guy.

  2. I'm glad you're still on the planet. I wish it was feasible to take a photo of people like this that also shows their license plate and post the experience on a blog. I'd create a new blog just to showcase the psychos that stalk cyclists like this one. I'm not sure how you would snap a photo while riding for dear life though, but still. You didn't happen to get her license number did you?

  3. I am glad you also included the last part of the story. We need some hope, too.

  4. I had this happen to me on the tiny one-lane (literally one lane, with street car parking) street outside my apartment as I was coming home from work one day, only it was some businessman in a fancy SUV who decided my nice neighborhood street would make a great diverter from all that traffic on the stopped-up arterial nearby.

    Thankfully, that is by far the minority here, and almost every day I go about my business without any particularly unpleasant interactions - but man is it infuriating when it happens.

  5. What a stupid hooker. There's no reason for that behavior on the road.

    I'm glad you're safe and that you kept your cool with her. I probably wouldn't have.

  6. Thanks, guys. Really. She seriously got me wiggy, I even drove to work today. Which just makes me feel like she won and that gets me wiggy again. I'll be back on two wheels soon.

    Chris, no, I didn't get her license place. I wish I had. I'm thinking of investing in a helmet-cam. I will myself to sleep last night dreaming about a perfect world where a passing police officer arrested her for attempted assault with a deadly weapon.

    Steve, yeah, the nice truck man helped me gather the shattered remains of my faith in humanity.

    David, my usual response to getting honked at is a quick middle finger escalating to a screaming match. Something in my gut told me to just keep going and I'm glad I listened--any kind of retaliation, and she probably would have run me down.

    The soulless sociopaths of this world just need to be quarantined somewhere in the Sahara.