Assault on a Cyclist

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Assault on a Cyclist

The Roanoke Times’ Dan Casey shares a harrowing experience with an aggressive driver that could have ended more tragically than it did.

Photo : Mayabike

Photo : Mayabike

Dan reports on an incident on the Blue Ridge Parkway last week involving the driver of a silver truck who menaced a group of cyclists and eventually assaulted the lead rider, who was fortunately able to recover from being bumped and didn’t crash.

The going theory is that the driver is likely a regular commuter – that stretch of the Parkway is commonly used by commuters traveling between Vinton/Bedford and Roanoke – and so has probably encountered cyclists on the Parkway before, and regularly.

I’m sharing this story for two reasons – the first, so that anyone riding the Parkway watches out for this truck and, if possible, records a license plate number to help with an investigation.

Second, I wanted to call attention to the fact that the riders reported the attack to a Parkway official.  All too often, when cyclists are threatened by a driver (who may be acting out of aggression, or may not be paying attention), the cyclists shakes it off and continues the ride having never reported the incident to law enforcement.  While it’s true that traffic violations can’t really be investigated unless the police officer sees it happen, an assault is a different kind of crime that absolutely should be reported and can be investigated.  Even if it’s not likely that an aggressive, lawbreaking driver will be found, the act of reporting the assault can be important for data collection.  While any one cyclists may have a single encounter with a bad driver, it may be the case that the driver may have a history of menacing other cyclists.  Law enforcement may be able to find patterns in incidents that to individual cyclists may seem to be one-offs.

Basically, if a driver ever bumps you, spits on you, throws something at you – even yells at you in an effort to distract or threaten you – it’s worth reporting.

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