Driver charged for cyclist harassment after video of incident goes viral

Driver, aged 75, had repeatedly targeted cyclists

by Sarah Barth   September 25, 2012  

Colorado bike harasser .png

A driver who tailgated cyclists, honking and harassing them as they rode along despite having plenty of room to pass safely, has been charged.

A video taken by one of the cyclists, who happened to be Dirk Friel, founder of Training Peaks, was posted on YouTube and first highlighted on our site in a forum post.

 

The video went viral, and currently has had 408,000 views. Dirk, from Longmont Colorado, wrote of it:

"Here is what was supposed to be my relaxing Sunday morning ride with my teammate until things became a bit unsettling when an older male driver came up behind us in his Ford Explorer.

"This guy obviously doesn't like seeing bikes for some reason since he sat behind us for more than five minutes blaring his horn. What's even worse is we saw him approaching from behind and to be polite we ride single file to give him as much road as possible, as we did with every other car we encountered on this road east of Longmont, CO.

"This guy was so intent of bugging us that he backed up traffic behind him and cars had to pass him on a double yellow line. It seems he was the one obstructing traffic, not us. We ended up slowing up in order to force him to pass us and go on with his day. Insane. Hopefully this is the worste thing this guy does to cyclists.

"As a Founder of TrainingPeaks.com I encourage everyone to get out and ride bikes as part of a healthy lifestyle. Everyone no matter what their age or where they may live should have the right to feel safe when riding whether it be for health, fitness or simply commuting to work."

When police investigated, they found the driver, aged 75, had had "similar run-ins with this driver,” according to Dirk.

“Together with victims and witnesses, CSP worked with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office in an effort to find and correctly charge the alleged driver,” Trooper Joshua Mills said in a statement released to DC Streetblog.

“The Colorado State Patrol wishes to remind everyone to share the road with courtesy with everyone, regardless whether they are pedestrians, bikers or other motor vehicles.”

16 user comments

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Obviously the Colorado State Police have a more enlightened attitude than Essex Police who after been shown these clips by the BBC didnt think any offences had been committed http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-19710937

posted by gazza_d [194 posts]
25th September 2012 - 19:06

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I always give riders a friendly toot when out on the road. Maybe this guy was stoked after watching the ToB and was expressing his delight at seeing some cyclists on the road?

posted by kitkat [197 posts]
25th September 2012 - 21:30

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The driver has had run-ins with the driver?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3051 posts]
25th September 2012 - 21:35

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notfastenough wrote:
The driver has had run-ins with the driver?

I think it meant to say something like other people had had run-ins with the same driver.

Good on the state troopers for charging the driver.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2163 posts]
25th September 2012 - 22:21

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I doubt I could have remained calm for that length of time, what a nutjob.

posted by moonbucket [55 posts]
25th September 2012 - 22:50

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kitkat wrote:
I always give riders a friendly toot when out on the road. Maybe this guy was stoked after watching the ToB and was expressing his delight at seeing some cyclists on the road?

I can't tell if you're being serious or not..

but if you are then stop beeping at cyclists.. all it does is agitate and startle.

posted by ALIHISGREAT [110 posts]
25th September 2012 - 22:56

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i have to agree. i'm sure your intentions are friendly but it always startles me when people do that.

posted by thehood [23 posts]
26th September 2012 - 8:25

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Its common in Italy. You can tell a friendly toot toot from an agressive toooooooot one easily enough and the friendly ones do it from a way behind NOT when they are 1 meter behind you!!!

posted by Hopalongsteve [61 posts]
26th September 2012 - 10:00

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Hopalongsteve wrote:
Its common in Italy. You can tell a friendly toot toot from an agressive toooooooot one easily enough and the friendly ones do it from a way behind NOT when they are 1 meter behind you!!!

In Spain it used to be a legal requirement to hoot before overtaking a cyclist. This did not make the hooting any less dangerous and alarming.

You can almost always hear a car behind you when cycling, sometimes before the driver can even see you. Hooting at cyclists is simply bad manners.

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
26th September 2012 - 10:16

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The horn and the bell are audible warnings of approach, as is the voice. It is reasonable for a driver to use a short toot on the horn as they approach a cyclist or pedestrian, and expect an acknowledgement in response. In this way we can interact appropriately with other road users.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [480 posts]
26th September 2012 - 11:15

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I'm amazed how calm they stayed, but then i guess in the US you don't know if the nutjob in the car has also got a gun so its probably more sensible to remain calm than to provoke a response

posted by md6 [156 posts]
26th September 2012 - 11:30

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md6 wrote:
...i guess in the US you don't know if the nutjob in the car has also got a gun so its probably more sensible to remain calm than to provoke a response

This was basically my thought, although as he is driving a tank he has no need for a gun !

posted by zoxed [62 posts]
26th September 2012 - 12:11

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What a nutter - but I think having got video and a registration number I'd have stopped and let him pass, rather than having him tailgate me for miles in a couple of tons of potentially lethal steel.

posted by Bexleyhillbilly [37 posts]
26th September 2012 - 12:49

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I think I agree with Bexleyhillbilly and stopped riding until the driver passed.

As far a tooting a cyclist goes it is a tricky one. Thinking Many cyclists would be startled if they were tooted from close behind them. Me included and because so many UK drivers (inappropriately) toot to show their displeasure with other road users I for one would wonder what I had done wrong. However, if a driver is to sound their horn it should be a short toot and a good 20-30+ metres behind the cyclist. If I was to toot a cyclist it would only be to make them aware of my presence and intention to overtake. If the cyclist was riding normally and not erratically on a wide ride I would not toot.

I always ring my bell when I am passing pedestrians on a cycle path or other cyclists, especially with children, and do so a good 30-50 metres before I get to them. I always slow down before passing if I haven't observed any response to my bell. Angel On a few occasions ringing my bell (just once or twice, I might add) has resulted in an irate pedestrian complaining that my bell was very alarming and frightened her dog. Phbbbbt! At least she knew I was approaching which was the intention but you can't please all of the people all of the time. Smug

We need to reinforce the message of courteous road use through a stronger emphasis of awareness of cyclists during driving tests and through schools insisting that all young cyclists undertake cycling proficiency courses before being allowed on public highways.

posted by BigBear63 [69 posts]
26th September 2012 - 14:51

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Police respecting their duty of care to all road users and enforcing the law? If only the Met took a similar approach.

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
26th September 2012 - 15:56

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JohnS wrote:
Hopalongsteve wrote:
Its common in Italy. You can tell a friendly toot toot from an agressive toooooooot one easily enough and the friendly ones do it from a way behind NOT when they are 1 meter behind you!!!

You can almost always hear a car behind you when cycling, sometimes before the driver can even see you. Hooting at cyclists is simply bad manners.

I find that at speeds over about 15mph wind noise drowns out the sound of a car engine.

I do have large ears, though.

Crosshouses's picture

posted by Crosshouses [177 posts]
26th September 2012 - 16:20

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