“The woman driving the car proceeds to call me a ‘faggot’ and to ‘ride on the sidewalk.'”
— Reader email about a road rage incident in northeast yesterday
This story is part of our Collision Chronicles, an ongoing series to shine a light on the steady stream of street interactions we hear about but that you probably won’t see covered in the news.
The incident below was sent in by a reader via email and it happened Thursday, November 3rd:
Hi there. I had a crazy incident occur earlier today…
So I’m riding my bike on NE 16th between Tillamook and Thompson. To give you backdrop, this is a designated bike route that is usually spare of vehicles and the type of road where I often see people running on the street. It’s a very calm, residential side-street with friendly drivers. Most of the time.
In any case, I’m approaching the stop sign at NE Thompson and while I’m within 10 feet of the sign a speeding vehicle tries to pass me. Like at the intersection. She brakes HARD and slides uncontrollably for around 5 feet. This was a roughly 2000 green Dodge Caravan with the front passenger side window busted out.
The woman driving the car proceeds to call me a “faggot” and to “ride on the sidewalk” or the edge of the road which was actually piled up in slippery leafy sludge. On side roads like this, cyclists are encouraged to take the lane because bobbing in and out of parked cars is more dangerous and makes you less visible to other road users. And the irony is that I typically ride to the right side of the driving lane. If she had waited for me to pass the intersection she would easily have had enough room to pass me as countless other vehicles have before on roads like this.
Anyway, she calls me every name in the book, and then yells “faggot faggot faggot!” and speeds off driving WAAAAAY too fast for a side street. She stops ahead and leans out and yells more phrases that I couldn’t hear.
I am afraid she is going to kill someone. No joke. There is no way someone like that should have a license. I can’t believe she thinks she can go around harassing people like this. Do I have any avenue for legal action here? Would the police bother to visit her if I reported this? I don’t care if she doesn’t get a ticket. I just want her to know this type of action won’t go unnoticed. I have the license plate number and make of vehicle.
Since the victim asked, the answer is yes. You should always report behavior like this – especially if you have a license plate number. A photograph of the person driving helps as well. The reason to report this (to 911 if it’s in progress or 503-823-3333 if not) is 1) If there’s an officer nearby, dispatch might put them on the case, and 2) if the person ends up hitting and possibly assaulting/injuring/killing someone else down the road, your call will help the police build a stronger case against them once they’re arrested.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org