Rushing out of downtown I was involved in a glancing head on collision with a car. Thankfully no major damage to either party and one of those mutual “damn, there was a SUV blocking my view” sort of things. The driver was more than kind, and not worried about his car, only of my health. Briefly checked myself and the bike and his car, all seemed only slightly worse for wear. We went our ways.
A few miles later, on Penn at the Allegheny Cemetery I noticed a teenager standing behind a parked car, holding a Sunday paper in it’s plastic bag. I knew something was coming, but was a bit out of it to react in time. Smacked me on the back of the head/shoulders with a full windmill-style blow. Backpack and helmet made it a non issue, and the car behind me was actually a friend driving home from work. I reeled 180, stopping Penn traffic, confronted the kid and his 6 or so friends, and while one was frontin’ they all had nothing to say when I asked What the Hell. I decided to just roll away.
Crap. Miasme, Hidden Variable and I all had close calls of one sort or another yesterday, and in very different areas. More bikes on the street is a good thing, but motorists are still sort of clueless, it appears.
Frankly, although clueless motorists disturb me a great deal, I’m more concerned by the active malevolence displayed by the bored local youth. Physically smacking someone riding in traffic? On Penn? May not be attempted murder, but it’s sure as heck not an innocent prank either.
With school back in the session, there are more vehicles on the road, especially during the morning commute, and people need to remember how to deal with that (drivers, that is). Riding through Shadyside on the way home from work has been less than pleasant the last few days, and I find myself doing lots of side street meandering.
Still, as reddan pointed out, this seems to be not so much cars here as local riff-raff looking for trouble. I’m sure as soon as it gets cooler things will settle down….but that’s little consolation for those who’ve already been assaulted.
Honestly, throwing things at people in traffic is serious, whether you’re chucking rocks off a highway overpass or chucking projectiles into traffic. I guess I would hope that the police would keep an eye out for this stuff, and that everyone reports their incidents…..