Should Road Cyclists Fight Back?

adventure journal poll road cyclists fight back

Every time I think about the joy of a long, beautiful road ride on rolling rural lanes, I get a little wistful and start to regret that I’ve sold all my road gear because I’ve come to believe riding on the road is too dangerous. But then I think about the two friends of friends who’ve been killed on local roads, the friends who’ve suffered broken bones and concussions, and the other absurdly tragic, preventable deaths of cyclists I don’t know at the hands of drivers, none of whom where charged with homicide of manslaughter. Or I hear about police response to harassment incidents like the one that occurred right here in my home town, literally with in sight of my house, and I feel justified in my decision.

A couple weeks ago, Bryan Larsen was riding south on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point, California, when the passenger of a pickup truck threw a full Gatorade bottle at him, striking its target. The whole incident is captured on video, where Larsen is heard dropping an f-bomb, saying, “You got on @$%&ing video, right here!” Afterward, he posted the video to YouTube and contacted local law enforcement, which – are you ready for this – is considering pressing charges against Larsen for using “words in public likely to illicit a violent reaction.”

Think about that one for a minute. Dude is a victim of assault, and they’re going to prosecute him? For using a word you can hear at any playground? (The sheriff is also considering charges against the truck passenger, but still.)

Certainly, there are roads in this world where it’s safe to be a cyclist. Or at least less dangerous than the urban/suburban interface where so many of us live. Regardless, it feels like there’s a turf war taking place on the roads, a war that highly vulnerable road cyclists will never win and that authorities will never stop.

The solution, if there is one, will be complex, requiring efforts by cycling organizations, cyclists, and local communities. In the meantime, though, let’s consider a question that I’ve heard debated numerous times by angry, embattled-feeling riders: Should roadies fight back? Should they meet aggression with aggression?

As they say in school, justify your answers in the comments. And what do you think is the solution to making the roads safer for cyclists?

[polldaddy poll=8182946]


adventure journal smith optics serpicoThis week, one poll participant will receive a pair of Smith Optics Serpico sunglasses. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) – all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, July 20, at midnight PST.

Congratulations to Adrienne Isaac, who wins the Smiths this week!

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