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November 27, 2014

Pittsburgh Survivor: Bike Commuter Assaulted by Driver

On Monday the Twitter brought this thought: a cyclist is just one driver away from being a Hashtag and getting a Ghost Bike. #OnlyTakesOne

Tuesday morning my friend Stu was riding his bicycle to work, which he does routinely, and encountered that unusual driver, riding inbound on Perrysville Ave at Marshall when he was attacked by a Pittsburgh driver who got out of the car and knocked the cyclist off the bike.

Trigger warning: violence

Stu is an accomplished, disciplined bicyclist who really does obey the law and operate very safely and conscientiously. He's a better cyclist than I am. Stu rides his bike to work because he's living lean, putting a kid through college. JAPD: Just another Pittsburgh Dad.

The driver (license plate JJV-1316) probably didn't expect that the cyclist had front- and rear-video cameras rolling.

This is the rear-view camera, and it's turned 90degrees so you'll have to adjust. Watch the white car. Stu's narractive is:

JJV-1316 comes into view at 7:30 of video, passing a church. At 7:37, I cross stop line at Marshall Ave; at 7:39, he crosses stop line. I traveled about 200 feet (hydrant by Milroy Street to stop line) in 7 seconds, about 20 mph. He traveled about 500 feet (church to stop line) in 9 seconds, about 38 mph. Posted 25 mph. Continuing south from Marshall, slightly downhill, I am going about 23 mph. This is where he decides to pass me with only a couple inches of space.


This is the front-view camera. There is audio, if you have speakers. Stu's narrative:

JJV-1316 passes me at 6:58 in video with only a couple inches to spare. No oncoming traffic. He pulls over, jumps out and immediately pushes me off the bike.

Stu's position in the lane was absolutely appropriate given the parked cars along the curb. You can go back further in the video to get a sense of the larger context.

So much tremendous anger, frustration, and violence on the part of the driver. What any driver should do is: slow down and wait for a safe opportunity to pass - or else, stay in line. Just like you would with a bulldozer or a truck.

Do you think he would have acted that way to a police horse, a bulldozer, or a heavy truck? I don't. And so this is vehicular bullying, picking on the vulnerable because: who can prove anything?

The cyclist with a camera can prove what happened. Or their survivors can.

Stu followed up by pedaling over to the Zone1 police station, which he found to be in need of a bike rack.


Unknown said...

Update? What happened next? Did the police do anything to the driver?

MH said...

Any follow-up on charges filed?

Anonymous said...

I have seen cyclists blow through stop signs put up at crosswalks by police. I have also seen cars almost run cyclists over. What this person did was wholly uncalled for and I hope charges have been filed.

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