Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bus hits cyclist, but cyclist (and spouse) handcuffed

One of the big myths spread by the hateful meanies of today's suburban Establishment is that America's roads were designed strictly for cars. To them, anyone who can't afford a car or who wants to save gas isn't even mammalian. These days, if you don't have the biggest SUV, you get treated like shit.

However, bicyclists have a legal and moral right to almost all of the same roads as those hulking SUV's. If the road lacks a bike lane or similar amenity, bikes have a right - often a duty - to use the same traffic lanes as motorized vehicles. In fact, the United States Numbered Highways system was designed primarily for bikes. But in practice, this right is maliciously disrespected by government agencies. (See, they want people to drive. That's what happens when Big Oil runs the country.)

A recent event in L.A. shows just how little respect the city has for the laws that are supposed to protect bicyclists. A cyclist traveling on Hollywood Boulevard - on the far right of the right-hand lane - heard a horn behind him. The horn came from a city bus, which went on to actually hit the cyclist: The bus touched the cyclist's hand as it carelessly zipped by him. Because the left lane was empty, there was nothing to stop the bus from using the left lane instead. But nope. The bus just had to use the right lane so it could hit the cyclist, didn't it?

The bus continued, but the bike caught up with it at a bus stop. The cyclist (who wasn't seriously injured) politely informed the bus driver that she had created a dangerous situation. But the bus driver yelled, "You were in my way! You need to get off the road!" She then angrily slammed the bus window.

Then the bicyclist informed the bus driver he was calling the police to report her for assault with a deadly weapon. The deadly weapon of course was the bus. A piece of metal weighing several tons and traveling at 25 MPH is a weapon.

While the cyclist tried calling the cops, he got that "all operators are busy" horseshit that the phone companies were supposed to fix 25 years ago. So instead he called his wife and got her to summon the police to the scene. Through it all, the bus driver was still engaged in her tantrum at the bus stop. She then struck the cyclist with the bus again. There were witnesses to the incident. The cyclist dismounted from his bike. Then the bus backed up and roared towards the bike, pinning it under the bus's front bumper. The bus driver then began yelling at other bus drivers who went by in the left lane. An indignant passenger on the bus tried to incite fellow passengers to attack the cyclist. He got another passenger to help him yank the bike from under the bus and violently fling it onto the sidewalk. At some point, one of the bike's wheels became hopelessly bent.

Because of the bus driver's screeching skizzum, traffic backed up for blocks. Then the angry passenger jumped back off the bus, spit on the cyclist (which is battery), and ran away.

Finally, the LAPD showed up. The cyclist's wife arrived on the scene as well. The police car pulled up to the cyclist, and 2 officers leaped out. One of them yelled at the cyclist, "Hands behind your back!" The bicyclist's wife said, "Hey, he's the one who called you." Then one of the officers promptly shoved her into a wall and handcuffed her too.

The police proceeded to lecture the cyclist about interfering with traffic. Except it was the bus, not the cyclist, that was impeding traffic. A police sergeant and the supervisor of the bus system then arrived and berated him further. The cyclist stated he wanted to file assault charges against the bus driver, but the cops would have none of it. In fact, they told him to expect a ticket himself. The bus boss declared that drivers are supposed to honk at cyclists: "That's how they are trained to drive. They are told to honk at road hazards!"

This incident wasted 2½ hours of the police's and the cyclist's time.

The following day, the bicyclist called the bus agency to report what happened. Later he got an e-mail from an official there that completely contradicted what the bus supervisor had told him at the scene. According to the e-mail, "Bus operators are not told to honk at cyclists." In fact, the bus company's policy clearly states cyclists have the same right to use the roads as motorists and that if bus drivers pass cyclists they have to have a side clearance of 3 to 4½ feet.

The bus agency hired a driver who doesn't even know how to drive? The bus driver in this case clearly didn't follow the rules she was supposed to operate under. Also, anyone who gets even an ordinary driver's license is supposed to know bikes have the same rights to the road as cars. The driver's manual in probably all 50 states clearly states this. (Not like everyone heeds the laws, judging by the shitty driving you see from regular motorists in the Cincinnati suburbs.)

Basically what this boils down to is this: The system connives to keep bicycling down and to keep itself from trouble. If a bus doesn't obey the rules of the road and ends up plowing down a cyclist, the system considers this to be no loss.


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