A couple of weeks ago I was out riding with two friends; we were on a two lane country road, traffic was light as it was early Sunday morning.
We were riding single file close to the right hand edge of the road when three vehicles approached from behind; it just so happened that there was an opposing vehicle there at the same time.
The leading car behind us decided to slow and wait for this single car in the opposite lane to pass before swinging wide to overtake us. This was proper behavior, they could have squeezed by without waiting, but this driver decided to take the safer approach.
I was the last in this trio of cyclists, also riding in a safe and courteous manner; I even gave the lead driver behind me a little thank you wave as he went past. The second car did the same, swinging wide to overtake us.
However, the third vehicle was a full size Chevy truck; he just laid on the horn and drove by as fast as he could and as close as he could; he missed us by about a foot. Totally unnecessary as the opposing lane was now clear.
This was intimidation with a deadly weapon, pure and simple; a “How dare you slow me down; I’ll teach you,” attitude.
If I could have spoken with this driver I would have asked, “Where are you going in such a hurry on a Sunday morning that you can’t stand to be delayed for two seconds?” Because I swear this whole maneuver took no longer. I would also have asked him this.
“If you had a loaded gun in your hand and you were mad at someone, would you fire it missing them by twelve inches just to intimidate them?”
I doubt most law abiding citizen would do that, including this driver. But the potential for death or serious injury are the same; I would describe it as ‘Assault with a deadly weapon.’
In fact I would go further and say, given the choice between taking a bullet and taking a hit from a full size Chevy truck, I would rate my chances of survival better if I took the bullet.
What is it about driving a large vehicle that gives one such a sense of entitlement? It seems it is always the driver of a full size truck or SUV that have this attitude; I rarely get the ‘Horn and Buzz’ treatment from anyone in an economy car.
This exact same scenario happened just this week in California; a driver of an SUV threatened a group of cyclists with his vehicle. They were able to take his tag number, flagged down a Sheriff’s Deputy, and reported it; the driver was traced and arrested for... Guess what? Assult with a deadly weapon.
I have to remember that; when I am riding on my own I usually ignore such behavior as it is just my word against another. But in the above instance I was with two friends, I had witnesses. I may be too old to kick ass, at least I can take numbers.