Road-Rage Escalation

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I’m not well known here, but I commute everyday, do rides when I can, and just got registered on Bike Pittsburgh so I could chat about bike related city issues I feel strongly about. I started this blog post last night before I left work for the day because issues regarding the use of violence have been weighing heavily on me in light of what seems like a wave of recent attacks specifically targeted at bicyclists. My stance is that self control and restraint are always going to win out over road-rage reactionary tendencies, no matter the temptation. And, continuing a ‘cycle’ of violence is just a step backwards for other riders who find themselves in similar situations, when recording a plate and taking legal action might actually enact some positive and lasting change for everyone.

That being said, it’s maybe not ironical, but at least three parts coincidental that last night on my ride home from work, I was attacked by three men on the corner of Coral and S Graham. From the curb, they jumped me, knocked me off my bike and just relentlessly let me have it. I didn’t see this coming whatsoever (especially in this part of the neighborhood from men I have never seen nor spoke to before). I’m not one for over-dramatization, but this was probably the most vicious and violent intent to harm I have ever felt—no escalating road rage, just a completely unwarranted, pure desire to hurt me, that came hard and fast. Without getting into all the big hairy details, the only reason these guys stopped hitting me is because I somehow managed to hit two of them in the face with my ulock and mace (which I previously discussed above never wanting to use) to defend myself. Also, my thanks to the surrounding families that came out of their homes and dialed the cops for me. I filled out a report, but did not remember much information (one of the reasons I wanted to post was to say that remembering even the slightest details in these cases is extremely important – what people are wearing, height, weight, etc).

That being said, I feel like if I had not had those weapons on me plus maybe some dumb luck, I would not be around for a while. I’m still trying to make some sense out of this stuff, but I’m a little shaken up still. At the moment I am going to continue to ride with hopefully the same confidence, completely ignore indignant motorists, and try my best to protect myself. Be safe everyone.

Best, W

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