This really chaps my hide.
A bicyclist – who happens to be a friend and fellow blogger – was riding his bike at night on a major Fort Worth thoroughfare, Camp Bowie Boulevard, wearing a helmet and with lights front and rear, when he was hit from behind by a motorist and left for dead.
The good news is that the cyclist, Zac Ford, is recovering nicely after a couple days in a hospital with a concussion and severe road rash on his back and the left side of his body.
“Whoever hit me didn’t stop and didn’t even know if I was alive or dead,” Ford, 26, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It just kind of blows my mind.”
The bad news is that the motorist is still at large and probably will remain so unless he or she has pangs of conscience and goes to the police.
And perhaps even worse news, for the future of cycling in Fort Worth and car-centric America at large, were some of the online comments posted in reaction to the Star-Telegram story.
The story, of course, prompted the usual back and forth between motorists and cyclists about rights on the road.
Some drivers suggested that roads are for cars and trucks, not bicycles, that cyclists should ride into traffic so they can see what’s coming, or ride on the sidewalks or on those bike paths that government has so frivolously spent tax money on. Even on the trails, one commenter said, cyclists “knock down people walking and run over puppies.”
But some of the comments by motorists, among the 154 posted on both sides of the issue as of this writing, were downright scary. Others were deleted by the Star-Telegram, apparently because they were so over the top.
“These bikers want all the respect but refuse to obey traffic laws as they are supposed to,” wrote a driver with the handle HonestTX_Proud. “I had one turn into my vehicle. They all lied and said I hit him. He scratched his elbow. 6 weeks later here comes the lawsuit for $75K. Insurance gave him a few thousand to go away. If I’d known they were going to do that I would have hit the punk. And backed over him a few times. Want to ride with the traffic? Obey the laws and be courteous.”
Added a critic with the Internet moniker RonRico: “It will be interesting to read the future story about the cyclist who ended up like a bug on a windshield. Au revoir…”
RonRico, who apparently fancies himself as oh-so-clever, couldn’t resist jumping into the comment thread time and again. There was this gem: “Common sense for cyclists seems to be trumped by reduced bloodflow due to those gay spandex riding suits they wear.” And this one: “Ahhh… I see. Go figure… another victim who helped himself to victimhood.”
I liked this bit of idiocy from Obama_Hoax: “If Obama’s re-elected we’ll all be on bicycles!”
Wouldn’t that be great!?
But perhaps most disturbing in the series of comments was the seeming sympathy for the driver, despite the fact that whoever hit Zac Ford left the scene without checking whether he was hurt and failing to render aid. The driver probably would have been pilloried had he or she run over a dog sleeping in the road. But hitting a cyclist and leaving the scene seems to be OK with some folks.
By all accounts, Zac Ford was doing nothing wrong. His bike had a headlight and a red taillight. He was wearing a helmet and he was riding in the right lane of a boulevard that has two lanes of traffic in each direction. But many motorists see him as the villain of the piece, apparently because he was riding a bicycle.
Damn, some people are sick!
But a friend and fellow cyclist struck an optimistic note in a comment on Facebook:
“The only consolation I have is knowing those fat bozos that want to run down cyclists for putting them out 30 seconds and wish their death is knowing we are making this city better for future generations, empowering all sorts of people to take back their streets. Not just by typing at a keyboard, but by getting out there and doing something.”