Driver busted for harassing cyclists

Here’s an update on a post from yesterday, “The crazies out there,” about the driver of an SUV harassing two Colorado bicyclists by driving behind them and repeatedly honking at them even though the cyclists were riding far to the right of the road and the driver had plenty of room to pass.
The Colorado State Patrol announced today that it has issued a citation to James Ernst, 75, of Erie, Colo.

Cyclist Dirk Friel. Photo by ABC News

Ernst was charged with two counts of harassment, impeding the flow of traffic and improper use of a horn or warning device.
“The citation is based on an investigation by CSP of a male driver in a Ford Explorer driving behind bicyclists, slowing down to their speed and continually honking the vehicle horn while refusing to pass the bicycles which were riding near the right portion of the travel lane,” said a statement from the state patrol.
The investigation was prompted by a viral YouTube video shot with a smart phone by one of the cyclists, Dirk Friel. Friel shot the video as he and a friend were followed for about five minutes during a ride on Sunday morning on Colorado 52, a two-lane road in a rural area between Boulder and Longmont. The video clearly showed the license plate number on the SUV.
“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,” Friel wrote on YouTube.
Friel posted the video the day of the ride. As of this writing, it had been viewed 204,775 times.
Denver ABC affiliate KMGH/Channel 7 found tracked down Ernsts’ address and talked to his son, David Ernst. “I don’t know what happened,” the son told KMGH in response to the YouTube video. “Maybe there was something that precipitated it. I don’t know, because he’s a gentle old man.”
Colorado has a Bicycle Safety Act, which took effect in 2009. It states that motor vehicles must give bicyclists three feet of space when passing and vehicles may cross the center yellow line to pass bikes. Bicyclists must ride as far right as they deem safe and they do not have to ride in the gutter. Under this law, bicyclists may ride side-by-side but are required to ride single file when a car approaches.


1 Comment

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One response to “Driver busted for harassing cyclists

  1. John Forney

    My initial pleasure in hearing that he was given a citation now feels a little mean. His son called him a “gentle old man.” For some reason, I believe his son. I wish we had a more corrective penal system, and a less punitive one.

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