Friday, August 08, 2008

Bike love and tolerance.

I'm really hesitant to post a story like this. It makes my stomach turn. Here we go.

I received a phone call today from a good cycling friend of mine who I've know for almost a decade now. He called to inform me that one of his team riders was attacked by a 19 year old motorist while riding in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The cyclist's name I will not mention at this point, had received a flat on the rear wheel. At that moment he didn't repair the flat and continued to slowly pedal on the deflated tire along the shoulder of the road/painted line. A car came speeding from behind and blared the horn right next to him in hopes to scare the slowly pedaling cyclist. The rider waved a hand gesture in the air at the rude motorist in response and continued to pedal for another stretch of road.

The 19 year old driver apparently had a bone to pick that day and pulled his car over to the shoulder of the road and waited for the cyclist. The cyclist while slowly pedaling around the parked car asked the driver if he was aware of the speed limit and should slow down. At that point the motorist deciphered the cyclist as having an accent and is possibly from another country. The kid then angrily replied, 'Why don't you go back to your f^#%in' country!' The cyclist, taken back by this verbal attack, responded in his defense, causing the kid to snap into his own Nam. Next, followed by a full speed tackle into cyclist that was still slowly pedaling down the road and clipped into his pedals.

Naturally an attack like this leaves hardly if no time to react and un-clip. Let alone have a solid footing in road shoes on a hard road surface. Still mounted to his bike and now on the ground, the 19 year old proceeded to kick the cyclists with the intention of doing severe damage. During this effort, the attacker verbalize, 'I'm gonna F'in kill you!' and proceeded to stomp on the rider's head multiple times. Fortunately this brutality was broken up by a witness, passing motorist.

The attacker jumped back into his car and sped away from the scene. His license plate number was obtained by a witness and the 19 year old was detained later by local police. The cyclist identified his attacker. All awhile the kid was smirking at the cyclist and the cop during the apprehension.

At this point you have to ask yourself, where is society going wrong. This incident doesn't represent the youth of today but in discussing this event with the Team Captain this afternoon, who is a teacher as well, adults are falling short with their kids. My mom works for a public school system. I have many friends that are teachers and they collectively agree that parents need to put expectation on their children. Don't be that hard-ass dad that beats their kid like a dog and is pushing them beyond their mental capacity with sports and militant behaviors. Rather try instituting some structure, love, goals, teach them accountability, and compassion to fuel their flame that will burn forever in their lives.

I'm not expecting everyone to run out and save the spotted owl, go vegan and drive a Volvo. But look inward once and awhile in silence for 15min a week. Teach your kids about winning and loosing, not...let's not keep score in T-Ball. Help your youth to always give back more than they take and most of all, respect each other. Boys respecting girls, dads respecting moms in front of their kids when having debates to the point of arguments; stop right there. Teach and use patience, even when you have to slow down to go around someone that is enjoying a day out pedaling.

I wish the best of recovery for the West Chester cyclist. No one EVER deserves a situation like that to happen to them. As for the hate filled motorist, hopefully justice will be served and an example will be made through all of this.

Thank you for reading.
--------------------------------------------------

s.b.
Post a Comment