Bullying Cyclists is Illegal
Rolling coal is not a harmless joke.
By VeloPro Staff
This week I had the extreme displeasure of being bullied by a truck that "rolled coal" on me during a training ride. The video clearly shows I was in a cycling lane, abiding all traffic laws, and doing nothing to provoke the driver or slow down traffic. This occurred on a busy local street at lunchtime. The perpetrator clearly wasn't worried about the consequences of his actions. This is not the first time that a driver has "rolled coal" on me. However, it is the first time I had cameras mounted on the front and rear of my bike to capture the incident.
In the video, you can hear the truck rev its engine as it approaches. This was clearly intentional. The full video footage clearly captures the truck's license plate and even the name of the driver's business with his phone number on the side of his truck. Not smart. I didn't include this footage in my public video, but I did send the complete video to the police and filed and official police report. I do not know if the police will act or not. Rolling coal is illegal in my location and can result in fines from $60-$250. In my opinion, this is not a large enough fine to deter anyone. This felt like someone wished me harm. This felt like an unprovoked assault. I've talked to other cyclists who feel the same way.
The truth I no longer feel completely safe on my rides. There's been an increase in incivility between drivers and cyclists in the last few years. Harassment, hit and run incidents, inattentive drivers, close calls--cyclists are exquisitely vulnerable. We stand no chance against a driver in a 2000+ pound vehicle. A person who would never confront you face-to-face feels entitled and invisible behind the wheel. I don't know why drivers isolated in the cabins of their cars suddenly become sociopaths. However, I won't be bullied by anyone to give up cycling. I love it. Cycling keeps me fit and sane in a complex world. 95% of the time cycling is wonderful and worry free. I now ride with cameras for the other 5% of the time.