The Chainlink

Passenger of SUV blocking bike lane throws liquid on cyclists

Contributor Submitted:

"I stopped in front of the vehicle to take a picture of the lady blocking the bike lane. I noticed afterwards that the that I caught the attacker in the picture. He is to the right of the car in the blue jacket. This was right out of OTC on Clinton, about 200 ft from the station. He got in my face about taking pictures of his girl's car. I told her that she was in the bike lane. He continued to escalate, and here are some pictures of him.After a few choice words, they drove out of the bike lane and proceeded down the road. The light at madison was red and as I got to that light, this guy was waiting there and threw what I hope was orange juice all over me. At this point, I ran after him and he ran back into this car. I stood in front of the car to try and hold them there until someone could come on the scene, and the woman started driving, trying to run me over. I got hit by their car and went rolling, and had some road rash on my knee and I tore my jacket. Here is the video of the fluid being thrown on me. The video was taken by another rider, who told me that she has a helmet cam because she had been chased down the road previously. I made a police report and a detective reached out to me about 2 weeks later. I gave him all of this and they still do not know who this was or who the woman was. "

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The reality is that most drivers are ignorant of the law, and also do not care much about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

Also a reality is that CPD reflects the attitudes of the general (driving) population.  Do not expect them to care about driver assaults on cyclists.

As a vulnerable road user, I feel it is wiser to avoid conflict at almost any cost.  You may desire to educate drivers and even the CPD, but trying to do it on the street is not likely to be successful.

+1 Paul.  I agree.  Good points as usual.  Chicago is the city where you have to have 'clout.'   And SUV drivers have more clout than we do:  'Might makes right!'

And thanks John for the Streetsblog article.  Unfortuntely Streetsblog has been posting pertinent stories like this for many years.  Here's one (with a lot of interesting comments) from 2017 by Angie Schmitt in Florida about the SUV mentality and the car industry that concludes:

....In 2000, DaimlerChrysler [said that for SUV drivers], ”It’s not safety as the issue, it’s aggressiveness, it’s the ability to go off the road.” Research also showed that SUV owners drive faster and place a lower value on being courteous on the road...

While I certainly have to agree about SUV's and the aggressive, discourteous attitudes their drivers have, from what I've witnessed on the streets and highways (either on a bike or in a car) those driving a certain German made car with a three-letter name are either as bad or far worse.

As well as a certain German made car with a 4-letter name....

Stereotyping like this, while basically harmless, is also a bit ridiculous. 

Sometimes stereotypes are the products of observation.

And that's the origin of these comments about certain German made cars - observations about the behavior of a significant portion of their overly entitled drivers.

What a chickensh*t stunt pulled by the "man" / passenger. Laughable, really. And yet, I would have struggled with the impulse to respond by removing the vehicle's mirror as I rolled by.

This is all no fun, and it isn't really even springtime yet!

As an insight, SUV drivers aren't necessarily more nor less aggressive or insensitive than other drivers.  We might as easily suggest that with their higher vantage point and view of the road especially at intersections over parked cars, they are more at ease and thereby less prone to rage than folks in their cheap shorty cars wallowing in their inferiority complex and thus acting out. (By this illustration we can see how easy it is to take liberties and generalizations with stereotypes fueled with conjecture)  Maybe it's just we who feel more intimidated by the larger vehicles?

A motorists' sense of slight of dignity, whether right or wrong, doesn't exempt them from the phenomenon of road rage either, much as we wish it didn't happen. What the guy did outside the parking lot was pretty awful.  While no excuse, I was thinking that tapping on somebody's vehicle may actually produce a pretty loud resonance inside the car.  A pea-sized rock for instance that doesn't faze me on my bike makes terrible sound on my windshield at 25mph, so making contact with somebody's vehicle may upset them more than is intended.   Plus, if somebody hoped out of their car at an intersection and tapped on our handlebars in an effort to engage in conversation over what the word in the center of a stop sign means, that would likewise provoke some dialogue in this forum.  Are fisticuffs in order over that?  No way, but I could see it playing accordingly. 

If folks aren't getting satisfaction from the police, one could try to go directly to the DA, or better yet, retain private counsel and pursue the matter(s) as civil cases.  This is probably the better route anyhow, because the ability to recover damages to put toward clothing or bike repairs and such may leave somebody better off anyhow and the powers that be have implied in other venues that they're more about emptying OUT the county jail than filling it up a the moment, for reasons that perhaps are best suited for a separate discussion.  

So you guys, be careful out there as Paul's highlighted for us.  If we want the join the anarchy such as messing with someone's mirror in traffic as I think was highlight elsewhere a few other times as well, it's likely to provoke something other than a passive reaction.  And with the asymmetry of someone having a vehicle for shelter versus the vulnerability of straddling a bike in the event of an ensuing squabble, the disadvantage to the cyclist comes right at the start of all that.  


Some terms and grammar from an English class you may have slept through:

"Those people": the people in the pictures. "Those":plural demonstrative pronoun, singular form: "that." BTW: Easily identifiable by any police who cared owing to the license plate and auto in the picture.

"packing heat": common slang for "gun-toting." An all too common condition in American society that crosses "racial" lines.

Riddle me this: is the OP a "racist" because they posted pictures of an assault by non-caucasian people? If the persons ("those people") pictured happened to be caucasian ("white") would you have called racism?

"Or, just end the discussion by calling me a troll."

-i hadn't called you that, but if the cap fits, wear it.

All very correct, and all very beside the point.

For example:

fam·i·ly val·ues
noun.  Values held to be traditionally learned or reinforced within a family, such as those of high moral standards and discipline.
See also - "gay people are an abomination," "women should stay at home and cook and clean," "abortion is murder."  
A ruthless moneylender; a loan shark.\
see also, "money-grubbing jew."  
adjective.  in, relating to, or characteristic of a town or city
see also "black people, particularly in reference to crime and danger."
and here's a compound word!!
noun.  statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need.
noun.  the female ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth.
See also "welfare queen," "the black woman stealing your hard-earned tax money to buy steaks and drive a cadillac."
Don't play sanctimonious and dumb.

And to answer your questions, no and no.  For similar reasons as suggested above.

You didn't call me a troll, but someone else did (to you, I think).


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