Reducing Cyclist – Vehicle Confrontations… Notes from Dave Evans, Chair, Bike Jeffco

At last month’s meeting, we had an interesting discussion about anti-cyclist rage. In particular, there appears to be an emerging profile of the typical anti-cyclist ‘rager’. Looking at recent incidents in the Denver area, the rager is a middle age to elderly white male driving a large pickup truck along a narrow road.

By now, I’m sure that most of you are aware of the cause of this rage – the cyclist or group of cyclists who ride(s) completely oblivious to other vehicles, to traffic laws and to their surroundings. But what can happen when this irresponsibility is confronted by a rager? The answer is anything.

Sometimes, there does not have to be a reason for provocation however – as was experienced at our recent vehicle count. In the rager’s eyes, you, as a cyclist, are responsible for the behavior of every other cyclist on the road.

How should we handle the situation? The key here is to remain calm and let the rager see that beneath that lycra and helmet is a real person. Removing your helmet is a good idea. Sometimes reasoned discussion  is possible. Be prepared to be accused of interrupting traffic on ‘his’ road, not paying taxes to build and maintain ‘his’ road and trespassing on his property in search of a bathroom.

When reasoned discussion is not possible, point out that you are not breaking any laws and that he should take up his case with the relevant lawmakers.

In the extreme case of threats, either physically direct or with a vehicle, take notes and report it immediately to the relevant police authority. In areas where cell phone reception is poor or non-existent, Bike Jeffco is working to have more emergency phones installed. Jeffco Sheriffs’ Office takes any such threat very seriously.

With the ever decreasing drop in the cost and weight of HD video cameras, some cyclists are taking to mounting one on their helmets. The latest generation of cameras are of sufficient quality to record the license plate of the vehicle that did not give you the required 3 feet clearance or hurled insults or anything else from the window as it passed. With a sufficiently large memory card installed, these cameras are capable of recording a full day’s ride. Such videos are permissible as evidence in a court of law.

Bike Jeffco is working to reduce these confrontations by lobbying to get more shoulders and rest areas built on popular routes, by working with the Sherriff’s’ office to increase patrols and by education.

Unfortunately, these confrontational encounters will still happen. Do NOT become part of the problem.

With the long evenings perfect for riding, Bike Jeffco will not meet in July but we will be back in business Tuesday August 13th 7:00pm at the Jeffco Government Center.

 

Happy riding.

Dave Evans

Chair, Bike Jeffco

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