A friend posted this this viral video of two cyclists in Colorado on my Facebook wall this week after reading about it on RTV6's webpage. In it, the cyclists are harassed by a motorist, who rides dangerously close to them honking his horn for more than five minutes. (The short two-minute video only shows a portion of the whole event.) All the while, the SUV holds up cars behind it, who are ultimately forced to pass both the honking car and the two cyclists.
According to the YouTube post, the pair of cyclists ended up slowing down to a point where the car was forced to pass. After posting their video online, they've found fellow cyclists in the Northern Colorado area who have had run-ins with the same driver. They've also taken legal action through the Colorado State Patrol.
Curious about the illegality of passing on double yellow line? The Bicycle Safety Act, passed in 2009 in Colorado, states that cars must give bicycles at least three feet when passing and that when safety permits, cars may also cross a double yellow line to pass a cyclist.
True, I found this video astounding. How can you not feel for the guys on bikes trekking breathlessly along in the thin Colorado air as an enraged driver harasses them? But what I found even more intriguing were the range of responses in RTV6's Facebook forum, which reflect the divergent feelings Hoosiers have toward cyclists in our own city.
Many took up the cause of the cyclists, sharing their own views on how to safely encounter bikes on the road. Others in the same camp resorted to the less tasteful tactic of name calling— referring to the driver as "douche bag," "crotchety old man," "idiot" and even "dick."
Facebookers on the other side of the argument weren't very gracious either. One commenter suggested that all cyclists deserve to be ticketed for impeding traffic. Another even thought that the driver should throw a milkshake (of all things) on the cyclists before burning rubber.
"They should go ride at one of the parks or many trails that our tax dollars have paid for," wrote Jason Linthicum. "They were made just for that reason. Why endanger themselves or cause further road hazards. They share the same rights on the road, but don't always follow all the laws of the road."
To which Brian Phillips replied, "It's pretty much impossible to achieve adequate training on most trail systems. For purely recreational cycling, trails are sometimes okay, but in training for events and serious fitness, we usually need open road and lots of miles."
Laura Andersen summed it up very diplomatically saying, "We just need clearer rules for bicyclists and motorists in regards to bicyclists. Something that is fair to all and allows those who use their bikes to get to work every day, no matter where they live. To do so in a safe and lawful manner. The laws are not clear enough and they need to be. For all over, not just bigger cities."
What do you think, friends? Do we need better laws, better bicyclists or better drivers?