Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"It's not really worth our time...

That was the response I got at the local precinct. I planned to post about a trip to Rye NH.,but yesterday's commute home provided a couple detours. The irony was starting my morning playing catch up on the favorite blogs since I've been computer free for a week. The last blog was stuck in my head as I pedaled to work, 'the friendly cyclist'. One who waves to drivers, has conversations while waiting at lights, smiling at pedestrians......
'yeah', I thought to myself, 'I'm a friendly cyclist'. I'm not riding to stand on a pedestal, I FULLY understand the car culture that is woven into America's daily life. I've been an active participant for years, I CAN talk the car talk, I'ld like to think now though that I'm a little more ENLIGHTENED. I ride because it's fun. It's my form of protest to oil speculators and companies profiting excessively and controlling the government. And I ride to be seen by others so they may feel encouraged to ride, and MAYBE, EVENTUALLY, the streets will be safer for my kids so they can enjoy riding bikes. And it's a relaxing way home after a stressful day, or so I thought as I left work.

Half way home, hugging the shoulder during rush hour, I pass the ghost bike. The one that inspired me to get involved in bicycle advocacy, after a friend was intentionally run down. Listening to the traffic behind me, "Whhhhaaaap!". I get hit in the helmet by a cup thrown from a passing cargo van. It can't be! ARE YOU SERIOUS? I see three punks turned around laughing at me as they drive on. And of course it's uphill. At the top of the hill I see them stopped at the light. I race towards them. 'What to do?'. At 6'2" and 230 lbs I can actually approach ALMOST ANYONE I want, but rarely am put into the position where I have to. I roll up to the back of the van just as the light turns green, so my only opportunity is to give them the finger and yell a few thoughts. They simply speed off laughing. I got the plate number and noted the street they turned down, and continued on my way. Now throwing things intentionally at people out of a car window HAS to be illegal. Right? So as I see the precinct, I pull in and lock up.

"Can I help you?"
Yeah, someone hit me in the head with a cup as they passed me.
"Well, I don't think we can really do anything."
I have the plate number and can give a description.
"We don't know if it's a vehicle from this city."
Yeah, well it has our state plates on it! Can't you look it up?
"It's not really worth our time"
OK, so it's not illegal to throw things out the window at people?
"Well, you're not really hurt...."
So if I'm bleeding, or have a bruise, then it's assault?
"Yes, then we'll investigate, but you......"
Only have bruised pride?
"well, ....yes."
So if I catch them at the light and pull them from the car?
"well, then YOU would have the problem."
OK, and if I find the van around here on my own and decide to.....
"don't tell me, because I don't want to know!"
So the next time it happens I should just pull up along side of them...
"Call us if you are injured, sir."

So on the way home I picked up something everyone should own.
Valve stem core remover. Four for $1.99. A valve stem replacement
is less then a dollar. So I won't be slashing some white Ford
E-150 van's tires. Just removing $2 worth of valve stems. Maybe I
should check with the police if you can be cited for vandalism if
the damage is under $2? Hopefully it'll just fall under the 'it's
not worth our time' catagory. It's funny how BIG people get when
they're behind the wheel. We're all someone's child, brother, sister,
parent, neighbor, co-worker. Until the views of society change and
laws are written and enforced, cyclists will continue to be a
marginalized second class citizen.

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