Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Report Road Rage incidents

Central Vermont cyclist Carl Etnier was bicycling home via Route 2 in East Montpelier on Friday, July 25.  Because this particular stretch of Route 2 has no shoulder, poor sight lines, and a narrow travel lane, Carl did the safe thing he has been trained to do:  he moved to the left and "took the lane," signaling to motorists behind him that there was not room to occupy the lane beside him.  Motorists who wished to pass Carl needed to cross the center line at a time when it was safe to do so.  One motorist became enraged at the sight of Carl in the middle of the lane.  The driver and his passenger unloaded a string of profanities and screamed at Carl:  "We should have f*ing killed you."  Carl's helmet-mounted video captures the images and the words as the sickening abuse unfolds over half a mile of travel. Click here to see this video: http://youtu.be/d2iJjObplXw 

As the motorist's rage escalated, Carl took refuge at a firehouse nearby and asked for law enforcement. When Vermont State Police arrived, they ticketed Carl for not riding on the right.  The motorist was not penalized, although the motorist clearly violated the Safe Passing law.  Carl is consulting with the VBPC and others regarding how he should proceed.  He is working to arrange a time later this month to show his video to law enforcement in the hope that the ticket he was issued will be torn up and the motorist will be cited.  If you wish to email Carl about his experience, his address is Carl@Etnier.net

What happened to Carl is, unfortunately, much too common.  This incident points out why bicycle advocacy is so important and why it's essential for all victims to report incidents of harassment to law enforcement and local elected officials.  The victim is viewed as a credible witness in a court of law.  You don't need a helmet-mounted camera to prove it.  Please report!

Nancy Schulz
Executive Director
VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition
PO Box 1234 
Montpelier, VT 05601

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