Assaulted on a bicycle, what should I have done?
July 28, 2009 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I go cycling about 3 times a week for about an hour to hour and a half for exercise. Sunday I was riding my bike through probably the best neighborhood in town, in the bike lane, when some kid threw a plastic water bottle at me from a passing car.

It glanced off my arm and kept going, after splashing part of it's content of wet cigarette butts and ashes on me. I've heard from a few rude drivers before, but this is the first time anybody ever threw anything at me.

I had my cell phone, but by the time I processed what had happened, he was too far ahead of me to read his license, I'm mildly nearsighted and I wasn't wearing prescription glasses. Has anybody else had anything like this happen, and report it to the cops? What did the cops do? Even though it didn't hurt, it didn't even sting a little, it seems to me this still counts as assault.
posted by lordrunningclam to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (46 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't have a license plate number what do you expect to accomplish by reporting it to the cops?
posted by dfriedman at 10:07 AM on July 28, 2009

My sister recently had something like this happen to her; she was out walking her dog, and some young men in a car drove by and egged her. Lovely.

Anyway, yeah, I don't know what you can do about it if you didn't get a license number/description. Just chalk it up to "some people are jerks", and move on. Most likely it will never happen again.
posted by OolooKitty at 10:11 AM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you call the non-emergency number and report that some anonymous person threw something at you, the best case scenario is that you will have added a datapoint to the local police's "assholes who throw shit" estimate.

The worst case scenario is that you will have wasted everyone's time.

Someone threw a glass bottle into the driveway of a gas station the other day while I (and a bunch of other people) were fueling our cars. Another driver and I picked up the glass and threw it away; it never occurred to me to call the police, because they know assholes throw shit.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some people are just assholes. Unfortunately, there's no "asshole law". I think assault is stretching it a bit.
posted by meerkatty at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2009

I've had this sort of thing happen a couple times -- unless you get a license plate number, there's not much you can do about it, except to know whoever did it is sort of a bad person, and has to live with themselves.

A politician in my town, who is now the director of the city's transit department, once threw a can of Coke at a bicyclist while a passenger in a car -- the cyclist got the plate number, and the politician's career was derailed for a few years of rehab and finding jeesus. It made for some fantastic schadenfreude.

Some drivers just get enraged at the sight of a bicycle. And sometimes kids just do shitty things to be mean. The best thing you can do for yourself is to try to let it roll off your back.

Finally, I would like to add that the weirdest thing anyone ever threw at me while riding my bike was a paper plate of onion rings.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2009

It counts as battery. Assault is the threat of harm. Battery is the unwanted contact.

I've been ridding almost daily in Chicago for five or six years now and I've had all types of altercations. In some of those cases the cops could have been called, but not in all. We're talking middle of the street, screaming matches with motorists, other times where I've threatened bodily harm, and times when it's been threatened toward me. I've kicked and hit cars, flipped people off, ran away from psychos, chased after people who cut me off, reported a commercial truck driver to his employer... the list goes on.

The fact is, you weren't injured (though that doesn't matter in a technical sense of the law) and even if the cops had been called, even if you had gotten the plate number, they probably wouldn't or couldn't do anything about it.

You've just got to let it go. Your nerves will be raw for a few days, but in time you won't even remember this altercation.

As I've matured as a rider, I let the altercations go. I ignore the rude people. I have a little mantra I say over and over again when things get heated, "Be humble. Be humble. Be humble." It reminds me to be happy that I'm able to ride my bike daily.


Be humble.
posted by wfrgms at 10:20 AM on July 28, 2009 [18 favorites]

I'd add (although this is not legal advice) that this is clearly a crime--it would be battery at the common law, though FL may well have updated its penal code to use the term assault. Battery does not have to hurt; it does not have to injure--basically, there just has to be an unwelcome contact (keeping it simple here; there's more nuance). And, of course, there was potential for much greater injury, reckless endangerment and whatever other statutory infractions might be on the local books. And lest we forget, littering!

This is likely not something that the police would scour the state to punish. But if you got the license plate number and wanted to press charges, you might make the kid's life (justifiably) miserable for a bit.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:20 AM on July 28, 2009

I get people giving me the finger on my bike all the time. And not when I'm actually being an asshole (i.e. taking the lane I'm legally allowed). Spit, bottles, etc. Some people just really don't understand that we live in a SOCIETY.

(I've also been assaulted by a guy who physically got out of his car, but that's another story...I don't keep a bike pump on my bike to pump up tires nowadays!)
posted by notsnot at 10:20 AM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ice cubes are the worst I've ever had thrown at me. This was back in the late '80s. A column in a major cycling magazine back then claimed that such incidents were technically hit-and-run violations, even if it's not part of the car that hits you, but I don't know if that author was just making shit up. In any case, I don't find "assault" a stretch at all.
posted by jon1270 at 10:21 AM on July 28, 2009

I was walking around campus at night around Halloween and saw people throwing eggs. I didn't get a plate either but I did have a description of the car and the people in it. The campus police were happy to have that, although they were campus police so YMMV.
posted by theichibun at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2009

"Some people are just assholes. Unfortunately, there's no "asshole law". I think assault is stretching it a bit."

Hitting someone with a bottle full of a vile substances while that person is controlling a vehicle on a public road is assault (or some similar crime, like battery) just about everywhere. Maybe should stretch your definition of assault.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2009

This is definitely battery. A woman last year got prosecuted for tossing a McDonald's soda into another car. Unfortunately you don't have a plate so there is little you can do in this situation. Report it to your non-emergency number.
posted by special-k at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2009

Last week in Seattle, two cyclists got hit by blow darts shot from a car.
posted by martens at 10:29 AM on July 28, 2009

If nothing else, you could report them for littering (if you get the license plate #). Many states have a littering hotline.
posted by nimsey lou at 10:32 AM on July 28, 2009

These dfaysk if you can get away unharmed, mostly, count it as a victory of sorts. Or get a gun.
posted by Postroad at 10:32 AM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Maybe should stretch your definition of assault.

Maybe. I've been hit with worse things while riding my bike. It totally sucks. But I'm just not going to waste the police's time when I'm not injured and just feeling pretty indignant. YMMV.
posted by meerkatty at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2009

The rage helps me bike. I go my fastest up steep hills when jerkwads in SUVs are beeping at me and flipping me off.
posted by valadil at 10:34 AM on July 28, 2009

If I am walking down the street and someone who is also walking down the street throws a plastic bottle filled with old cigarettes at me I would call the police and he would probably be arrested for battery. I dont see how being on a bike / in a car would change anything.

When I was little (5 or 6) I was in my yard playing and some college assholes in a jeep sprayed me in the face with a supersoaker and drove off. My dad called the cops. The cops caught them about 20 minutes later doing it to some other people, my dad went down to the station and IDed them. The cop wanted my dad to not press any charges, as they wouldn't stick and there was paperwork ect.

If my dad was going to press charges the guys would be in jail overnight until they could get a bail hearing. My dad said he wanted to wait until the next day to decide what he wanted to do. This kept the kids in jail overnight... my dad said if they all had proof that they gave blood the next day he would drop the charges. They did, it worked out alright.

Even if you dont get a plate call it in, the cops will be on the lookout.. this is their job. If you get clocked in the head by a plastic bottle and fall off your bike you could seriously injure yourself. There was a guy here in LA a few months ago that got shot in the ass by a BB gun fired from a red pickup truck. He didnt get a plate, but called the cops. They found the car parked at a beach nearby, saw the BB gun under the seat. Arrests were made.
posted by outsider at 10:35 AM on July 28, 2009 [6 favorites]

If I am walking down the street and someone who is also walking down the street throws a plastic bottle filled with old cigarettes at me I would call the police and he would probably be arrested for battery.

Only if you have some way of identifying him.

Even if you dont get a plate call it in, the cops will be on the lookout.. this is their job

That's pretty unlikely in most US jurisdictions. Yes, the cops would probably arrest someone who they knew threw something at someone else on the street. They aren't going to go looking for the bottle-throwing asshole.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:48 AM on July 28, 2009

I can't find a link but recently a top pro US rider (Leipheimer) had someone in a car throw a brick or rock at him while he was riding. It barely glanced his leg or arm (I forget) but he got the plate number and brought the person to justice a few months later for assault and battery. If it actually hit him, he could have been seriously injured.
posted by mathowie at 10:49 AM on July 28, 2009

Cops won't do anything. I was assaulted while on my bike - but the stupid dispatcher thought I was reporting vandalism so an officer didn't come out. A month or two later I was expected to ID the guy, having a license tag didn't mean anything - since I couldn't id him the cops couldn't do anything (Even though an FBI agent witnesses the whole thing). Apparently, license tags don't id people.
posted by thylacine at 10:50 AM on July 28, 2009

I wouldn't do anything about it, because nothing in practical terms *can* be done about it.

If it helps, think of this like an unwarranted insult by an anonymous poster in a thread that is now closed for comments.

I write this knowing full well that I might be setting myself up for a dose of my own medicine.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2009

Report it for sake of statistics, and patterns.

The cops are more likely to investigate "a car threw a baloon at me with license plate zyx" if there have been 10 previous complaints, than if there are 0.
posted by SirStan at 10:59 AM on July 28, 2009

M.C. Lo-Carb!: mr. crankylex had a slice of pizza thrown at him whilst cycling. Not being a cyclist myself, I thought that he was making some of this up, but it appears that are are crazy people driving around routinely throwing things at passers-by.

He has never reported anything hurled at him to the police.
posted by crankylex at 11:00 AM on July 28, 2009

I know this is probably a stupid idea, but stuff like this has happened so many times, that I've thought real long and hard about carrying something to throw back at people on my bike. The only things I've come up with are paintballs (can't throw them hard enough to pop 'em) and water balloons filled with something nasty (too big to carry all the time).

I have to say, that for a town filled with cyclists, San Francisco motorists have almost no regard for folks on bikes. I've kicked dents in more than my share of car doors just trying to keep cars from squeezing me off the road or cutting me off and killing me. My bike commute in southern California took me on the freeway and that was not nearly as scary as riding down Market St. in San Francisco every day.

Anyway, if someone threw something at me on my daily commute here I'd probably throw something right back at them. That's not what you should do probably. Getting a picture of the car or writing down the plate number would be a good start. I have an old cheap camera I've thought about mounting on my handlebars to catch such jerkwads in the act.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:01 AM on July 28, 2009

"I've been hit with worse things while riding my bike. It totally sucks. But I'm just not going to waste the police's time when I'm not injured and just feeling pretty indignant."
When you let assholes get away with shit like this, it only tells them it's ok. If you've got a plate number, by not reporting it you're just setting someone else up for the same treatment. And maybe next time, that person DOES get injured.

Obviously, a water bottle isn't going to hurt. But the pavement to your face when you fall off your bike because you got hit with something you weren't expecting probably would.
posted by csimpkins at 11:14 AM on July 28, 2009

I tend to lean toward reporting it (if it's an unusual occurrence for you), even if nothing comes of the report for YOU. But you might help establish a pattern. In my experience, kids doing stupid things like throwing a water bottle of vile at a bicyclist might also escalate their stupidity into other more serious things.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:21 AM on July 28, 2009

Just to add a datapoint, when I lived (and biked) in Baltimore, I had to ride through the projects to get to work. Little kids in the projects throwing 40s at me was a weekly, if not daily, occurrence.
posted by overhauser at 11:38 AM on July 28, 2009

I agree with SuperSquirrel. I bike in a densely urban area, and also have gotten to know a few of the patrolmen around here. They are always stressing that we should report anything suspicious, let alone actually criminal, regardless of how trivial it seems (the worst that will happen is you'll get an extra drive by from a patrol car). They are very concerned with lowering crime rates, and feel that keeping a handle on vandalism and hooliganism is one way to do that. They would want to know about an incident like that, even if they couldn't do anything about it in this particular case.

As an aside, it never ceases to amaze me that in a city like Dallas, TX, I have never had anyone throw anything, yell anything, or fail to pass me safely while riding.
posted by bwanabetty at 11:40 AM on July 28, 2009

I tend to lean toward reporting it (if it's an unusual occurrence for you), even if nothing comes of the report for YOU. But you might help establish a pattern.

A pattern of what, exactly? Time-wasting by the OP and the police? It seems like there is no way to associate this incident with the particular kids involved (such as might allow preventing them from escalating behaviors), and I see no reason to suppose that it will enable the commission of new preventive resources by the police.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:42 AM on July 28, 2009

I say report it just so it creates a pattern for police to investigate if there are more reports in the future.

If you ride in a quiet neighborhood, the police will probably be more concerned than if you ride in a busy, urban environment where the police have bigger problems to deal with. For example, some residents in my boring, quiet community complained to police about cars not stopping for people at a crosswalk and the local police seemed concerned. The same complaint made to a busier police department would probably be ignored.

A friend of mine had some kind of pastry thrown at him while standing on a sidewalk years ago. I've had people yell at me from cars while I was running on sidewalks. Like runcibleshaw, I too once thought about arming myself to retaliate, like with a rock, to throw at their cars. On a bike, you could put a tennis ball in your bottle holder and use that. It can travel far, is highly visible, and won't cause any permanent damage to a car, but it could be enough to get the asshole's attention and maybe get them to stop the car and come out (which would have been my goal).
posted by That takes balls. at 11:47 AM on July 28, 2009

It could have been worse. In Asheville, NC a firefighter shot a bicycle rider because he believed that the bike rider was riding with child on a road that was too dangerous for children. His logic seems a bit faulty to me.

I'm not sure the police would do much if you had the license plate. Without it, I'm certain they would do nothing.
posted by Lame_username at 11:53 AM on July 28, 2009

thylacine writes "Apparently, license tags don't id people."

It should be apparent this is true. Anyone could have been driving/or riding in the car. Short of charging the _car_ with the crime under some RICO like statue you'd have a hard time getting beyond reasonable doubt with just a license plate. It's why red light and speeding cameras are civil infractions.
posted by Mitheral at 11:55 AM on July 28, 2009

A pattern of what, exactly?

In my neighborhood, there was a rash of break-ins that people reported, even though no one saw the guy. Eventually, they caught him in the act and charged him with all the break-ins, I think, based on some similarities in the crimes.

So if other cyclists keep getting stuff thrown at them by the same type of car, for example, or if it's always a bottle with cigarettes, the police could have probable cause to believe he's the same guy.

Or in the example I gave about the crosswalk, residents were reporting that cars in general, not particular cars, were not stopping at the crosswalk. Police said they planned to set up a sting to catch and deter that behavior. So a sting is another possibility, but probably unlikely unless it becomes a common occurrence.
posted by That takes balls. at 12:03 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

As an aside, it never ceases to amaze me that in a city like Dallas, TX, I have never had anyone throw anything, yell anything, or fail to pass me safely while riding.

Southern hospitality/good manners, or possibly bikers might be packing in Dallas? (Good manners and possibility of packing frequently go together, for obvious reasons.)

At a guess.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:43 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd call the cops just to report it as an incident even without the identifying information available. Make sure you get a police report #, otherwise it just goes in someones notebook.

This is why the police are here. It's not a waste of money. If enough people have the same experience, something will hopefully be done.

It's because of problems like this (and more in terms of hit and run, cab problems or doorings) that I am looking at getting one of those helmet mounted cameras. They've gotten pretty cheap and the point right where you are looking, so even if you can't remember the license plate number, you have it on video.

Here is an example though I have no experiences with this model.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 1:43 PM on July 28, 2009

I only know that this is specifically the case in VA, but there throwing an object from a moving vehicle (or at a moving vehicle for that matter) is a felony.
posted by BobbyDigital at 2:45 PM on July 28, 2009

This guy has found that police officers are unresponsive to the rights of cyclists even when he has video evidence. He describes his video setup here.
posted by oceano at 2:47 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

When John Schnatter (founder of Papa John's) was hit by a book thrown from a truck, the police did take it seriously. Of course, he spent a couple of days in the hospital, the friend he was biking with was also hurt, and it was John Schnatter and not Joe Blow.
posted by dilettante at 2:53 PM on July 28, 2009

On my road bike, I've been run off the road, been yelled at, and honked at. Some people in cars actively hate cyclists and others are so oblivious that their inattention borders on manslaughter. You can count the cops in either of these categories.

When I'm doing city riding, I keep my U-lock in my back left pocket. One day, someone is going to try and bump me and end up with a smashed window. But in the country or hills, this type of shit rarely happens... try to take some rides in the woods, if you can!

If I were you, I'd be pissed off too! But now, there's nothing you can do, so put that anger into your pedals.
posted by jstef at 4:20 PM on July 28, 2009

Some drivers just get enraged at the sight of a bicycle. And sometimes kids just do shitty things to be mean (and similar comments upthread)

I think, personally, it's really not about the bikes and such per se; we live in a society where impotent rage is a big part of daily life for a large number of people. A lot of social injustice is legitimate, of course, but there's a lot of faux-injustice that people invent to justify their inner demons.

Bikes are like a lightning bolt for this rage, because the bicyclist has little strength but significant power. A bicyclist has the power to weave in and out of stopped traffic, split lanes, and generally (not always, and not legally) ignore certain traffic laws without much concern. And yet, the bicyclist has no metal cage, has no engine to power them away, has no weapon to wield versus a driver. Plus, the power that a bicyclist holds is for the most part an innate part of the bicycling experience, unlike a pedestrian who is free to wander in and out of stopped traffic and ignore traffic laws but generally stays on the sidewalks and in the crosswalks. So, a driver (aka a person with much strength but little power) gets pissed off irrationally, and occasionally exercises their strength and assaults a bicyclist. If they get away with it, they feel better about themselves.

Bicyclists do it too, of course, for the same reasons; a car is free to start and stop at lights without undue cost, so a bicyclist who cannot roll through a light because of a car stopped at it (for example) might give 'em the finger, knowing they can probably outrun the driver if he leaves the car to chase him or stick to the sidewalks if the driver attempts to pursue in the car. Without strength, these altercations rarely turn out violent as they do when the strong/not powerful driver attacks a bicyclist, but the same irrational anger is at play.

By way of a story, on my way to work recently a construction worker was attempting to tar something in the middle of an active intersection, with no traffic cones or signs around him. When the light changed, the drivers (including myself) expected him to leave the intersection, and so gave him a few moments to do so. He didn't -- he just stood there with his tar stick, staring at the cars -- and when a few started tentatively to move around him, he started yelling and waving his stick around as if he was having some great injustice done to him. The drivers responded by shouting things at him, and some moved intentionally close. One construction worker who didn't take the proper precaution of laying out cones, a handful of confused drivers trying to figure out how to move through the intersection, and it all blows up because both the construction worker and the drivers became irrationally angry due to rationalized faux-injustice ("how DARE they try to drive their cars around me!" "how DARE he stop us from driving our cars!")

It's all quite stupid, honestly. Just know that sometimes it doesn't take two, it just takes one stupid angry person who sees an opportunity to exercise their strength without suffering the consequences of their lack of power, and suddenly you're hit with a water bottle. I hope you get the license plate next time, because someone driving around with that kind of unprovoked rage or sociopathic behavior is larger trouble waiting to happen.
posted by davejay at 5:18 PM on July 28, 2009 [4 favorites]

Well, I guess what I meant by establishing a pattern is you could place a car at a certain geographic location at a certain time, and if there was a series of illegal shenanigans going on at that time in that area, your information might help. Maybe you couldn't specifically identify the occupants, but you could say "A guy in a blue Ford passed me on Main Street around 4:15pm and threw a bottle at me." Maybe the police have been looking for a blue Ford, and your complaint, while not bringing justice in the bottle-throwing incident, may help the police track down that car for other reasons.

But, I'm not a bike commuter and luckily don't deal with the police much, so I defer to more knowledgeable people here who have better advice.

I don't know if I read too many mystery novels or "True Crime!" stories, but it always seems to be some innocuous off-hand comment or minor complaint that brings the police to the door of the serial killer.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:21 PM on July 28, 2009

I'm a cyclist, and I've had quite a few similar incidents. This is over and above the "oblivious driver" problem, it's active hostility. Being yelled at ("faggot! fatass!" etc.) is one thing, having things thrown at you (soda bottles and other trash, mostly) another. Once I had somebody blow an air horn at me as they passed.

The most recent scary incident was around 11:30 pm (I'm a night biker, a habit I'm trying to break, after a recent bike vs. curb incident). A truck turned left at a stop sign ahead of me, coming at me. The moment he saw me, he gunned his engine and veered across the center line, playing chicken. I did consider my ditching options. Fortunately, as I have some confidence about these things and did not visibly flinch, he was just playing and voomed on past. I whipped around as quickly as practicable and tried to read his plates, but as I noted, it was dark.

I'm also a neighborhood activist, and report crime on a regular basis. You really need to practice how to do this. Making a 911 call is one thing if you're calling for an ambulance or fire truck, another thing if you are reporting a crime. You need to teach yourself how to make brief, effective descriptions. "Two guys breaking into a house" is possibly going to be sufficient, "two guys on the street selling drugs" probably not. You need to say "two males, one Hispanic in a green football jersey, one black in a bright white t-shirt and shorts that look like underwear". Calling in a car is one thing, plates are better than nothing, but identifying the driver (or perhaps, the drug buyer) is critical if you need the person arrested. Being able to say "white guy, wearing glasses" is around the minimum you can expect, and should be good enough if you also have the plates.

Anyway, I would do some mental practice. I have to call in plates for drug buys all the time, so I am really practiced at glancing at a vehicle and getting the plates almost without thinking about it. I also see ordinary people and mumble to myself a brief description, focusing on anything unusual that the cops could use, such as hairstyle or eyewear.

I do know that I can't call in everything. Sometimes, though, I like to do what I can in the instance to make the person sweat, for instance, obviously reading their plate number. Let them think they're going to need to lay low for a couple of days, if you possibly can while remaining safe.

This last is a point to remember as well. I managed to make some mistakes in the course of my activism, and last year I was cracked on the head with a 2x4. I had a description and I got a good police sketch, but there were exigent circumstances and there was no arrest. I hate the fact that there's a guy running loose out there that I could have put in jail -- he'll probably hurt somebody else, maybe even kill them, as he could easily have killed me. Be smart, be safe, and do what you can to get these dangerous people in the sights of the justice system. It may mean nothing to you that they had some charges "read into the record", for example, but a year or two down the road, when they're arrested for hit-and-run or whatever, it may well affect the sentence they get.
posted by dhartung at 9:41 PM on July 28, 2009

In about 8 years of regular cycling I've been hit by
  • 2 water balloons
  • A handful of gravel
  • Various empty containers from fast food meals
  • A large cup of warm soup (ew, carrots)
  • A football (this was on a cyclepath through a park; it was deliberate)
If I catch their numberplate, I call the cops. The cops take it seriously and pay a visit. The gravel was a bunch of kids who I'd seen do the same thing to another cyclist headed the other way, and some cars too - usually I call the non-emergency # but for them, I dialled 999. Little shits. The woman who deliberately kicked a football (at my face) got a slap in the face back, which provided me with a remarkable feeling of release. It was probably the only time I've hit someone in the last 25 years.

To all those posters saying "let it go", I say you are letting your neighbours and your neigbourhoods down. These little acts of barbarism are exactly the kind of incidents that make some elderly people scared to leave their houses. I am not going to turn the other cheek if there is anything at all I can do to try and change the behaviour of these asshats.
posted by handee at 2:51 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks to everyone who answered. Had I gotten the license number I definitely would have reported it as a matter of principle, but sadly I couldn't. Yesterday evening I was even trying to read passing tag numbers but between my not awful but apparently not good enough vision and my sweaty sunglasses I could barely read them when they were only about 30 feet ahead of me. I guess I need to start wearing my prescription glasses when I cycle, even though I can pass a driver license test without them.

I do think part of the issue is that I just very recently started wearing bike clothing. I used to go out in just gym shorts, tee-shirt and a ball cap but I'm starting to get semi-serious about cycling and got some bike shorts, bike jerseys and a helmet. Perhaps he was enraged by the sight of my ass in black spandex. Probably says more about him than me.
posted by lordrunningclam at 7:25 AM on July 29, 2009

To all those posters saying "let it go", I say you are letting your neighbours and your neigbourhoods down. These little acts of barbarism are exactly the kind of incidents that make some elderly people scared to leave their houses. I am not going to turn the other cheek if there is anything at all I can do to try and change the behaviour of these asshats.

Seconding this.

Just 2 weeks ago my husband and I were cycling (along a bike lane, 11pm) and some guys in a car fired some kind of pellets/ball bearings at us through a blowpipe. Luckily we were wearing helmets and they missed our faces - but still, terrifying. Got the registration number when they stopped at some traffic lights, phoned the police, they tracked down the car, visited the driver, he 'fessed up and gave them the names of the passenger who did the firing. He's now being pursued for 'assault without injury' (we're in the UK). They'll probably just get a slap on the wrist or a nominal fine, but hopefully next Friday night they'll will think of something else to do rather than drive around town terrorizing cyclists for kicks. And, it will go on their record so that if they do it again they might get a bit more than a slap on the wrist.
posted by hibbersk at 10:13 AM on July 29, 2009

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