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Crash Of Civilizations

Biker/motorist tension seems to be getting worse lately. On July 4th, an angry doctor in L.A. attacked two bikers with his car, nearly detaching one's nose from his face. The doctor, who fits the description of a man who recently ran a few other L.A. bikers off the street and escaped scot-free, is being charged with a felony criminal assault.

Over in Portland, however, the meek have inherited the streets. Here's The Oregonian on an encounter yesterday during which a drunk bicyclist challenged a motorist--who happened to be an avid cyclist himself--to a fight, clubbing him six to eight times with his bike. The best (worst?) part of the story comes after the rabid biker has been struck down by a passerby, and Yates, the beaten driver, is lying on the pavement:

Nearly a dozen people--many bicyclists who were riding by and noticed the commotion--swarmed around Yates, shoving cell phone cameras about a foot from his face and accusing him of roughing up the bicyclist.

To make matters worse, a 9-1-1 call that came in at 10:10 p.m. was relayed to officers as: ‘Car hit bicycle, and people yelling.'

Officers found a confusing scene when they arrived. About 25 to 30 people were gathered, and police described the atmosphere as hostile towards the motorist. Some witnesses were afraid to speak up for Yates.

This sounds more like a Biblical parable than a news story, especially when the article relates that the next day, the victim was left with "an imprint of a bike chain on his left forearm and grease stains on his shoulder."

To top it all off, the cycling assailant, who was charged with third degree assault, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, and criminal mischief, works for Portland's department of transportation.

On a parting note, I suppose we should look to the Cyclists' Bill of Rights and remember that "cyclists are, first and foremost, people--with all of the rights and privileges that come from being members of this great society," and, apparently, with all of the flaws that come with being members of the human race.

--Nicole Allan