Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bike Girl Chooses The Wrong Battle

Sometimes, even a fearless protagonist like Bike Girl needs to stand down. While it is true Bike Girl has a right to be in the road, and many drivers deserve to be yelled at and have their windows tapped, there are some times when standing one's ground, can prove to be the wrong decision.

Last night, as Bike Girl went on a run to cross-train, she found herself in a crosswalk near a busy grocery store. As she made her way across the street, a driver zoomed right in front of her instead of stopping and yielding the right of way.

Bike Girl yelled, "Hey, I'm a pedestrian! You have to watch out! You could hit somebody!"

The young man driving the black luxury vehicle yelled an obscenity at Bike Girl, that translates roughly to, "I don't care."

Bike Girl, wearing fleecy mittens, hit the trunk of his car with her hand as he sped away. He immediately slammed on the brakes in the middle of traffic, and he and his two friends piled out of the car. They surrounded Bike Girl. The driver of the car, who was about 3 inches shorter than our fair protagonist, began spitting obscenities in her face, coming progressively closer. Bike Girl looked right in his eyes, unafraid, and the short driver got close, stood on his toes, pressed his nose against hers while screaming at her, poked her eye with his pinkie and tried to rip off her glasses.

That was enough stoic standing of ground for Bike Girl. She pushed him back and told her not to touch her, and repeatedly yelled, "Get away from me!"

This attracted some attention. Other drivers had stopped and started yelling at the man. His friend appeared to be filming the incident with a cell phone, as if he had some desire to document how his 4'11" friend stood up to a lone female pedestrian who dared to touch his vehicle with her fleecy mitten.

Perhaps because Bike Girl's push was so powerful, perhaps because he finally came to his senses, and perhaps because a driver threatened to call the police, he backed off, got in his car, and sped away.

Bike Girl did not get the license plate of the car, and not a single witness had actually called the police to report the incident.

There will be zero consequences for this driver. He will likely go on to road rage another day, and Bike Girl prays that he never kills anyone.

Bike Girl didn't do anything out of the ordinary on this occasion. She regularly taps on cars to get drivers attention. She feels strongly that they should be made aware when they are doing something incredibly dangerous or stupid. But in this case, Bike Girl's actions turned out to be the stupid ones.

When the car stopped, she should have run away. The driver could have been more violent, or just as violent but drunk, and actually caused her physical harm. She also should have gotten the license plate number. Because that is the only way he could have been caught.

Bike Girl wants to assert her rights, but only in a safe way. From hearing other similar accounts, there seems to be a pattern of things that will make the driver become intentionally violent. The two most provocative actions one can take, are flipping the bird, or touching the car.

Bike Girl's significant other likes to give a thumbs down to bad drivers. That gets the message across without being quite as provocative. Our fearless protagonist is slightly more fearful on the road, and is not sure how she will react the next time a driver threatens her life with a deadly weapon, his car.