Driver who made Facebook videos about aggressive behavior towards bicyclists arrested

road rage video
CC BY 2.0 Nate Steiner

Apparently, making a video saying you might one day run a bicyclist into a ditch can get you arrested in Alabama. Or perhaps it was scaring bicyclists by speeding past them... and the evil laughter that followed. In any case, it's good to know that the law enforcement department in Calhoun County, Alabama, takes bicyclist safety seriously enough to look into the matter and even make an arrest.

The full backstory: Michael Keith Maddox of Piedmont, Alabama, really, really hates bicyclists. His big beef seems to be the way that they "slow down traffic" on the rural roads where he drives to work. He got into the habit of making videos of himself passing such bicyclists (which basically took just a few seconds to do most of the time) while talking smack about them and even sometimes laughing if they seemed scared from him speeding by. He posted these videos on Facebook and eventually caught the attention of the bicycling community.

Naturally, bicyclists weren't happy to hear things like, “I’m going to hurt one of them one of these days, I can’t help it,” “Ought to run him in a ditch,” and “Ride your little bicycle, you piece of crap.” Yeah, for some reason, that didn't go over well with people. Mr Maddox was reported to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, with the video complication and social media screenshots above submitted as evidence.

To be honest, I'd expect that a typical sheriff's department wouldn't do anything about that, but give it to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department for caring. Mr Maddox was arrested with the bond set at $3,000.

Just prior to the arrest, Mr Maddox took to Facebook to apologize: “I want to publicly apologize to all people that I have offended over those absolute stupid videos that I posted … anybody who knows me knows that would never ever intentionally hurt anyone,” Maddox wrote. “I am truly sorry for anyone I may have offended … and please everyone share the road and be very aware of bicycle riders everywhere.”

That seems nice and all, but the "stupid videos" sure seemed to include some genuine anger and hate. They also seemed to indicate that he might well hurt a bicyclist someday. Of course, the apology does read like something your lawyer would have him write.

So many issues come up here: 1) the apparent assumption that bicyclists don't deserve to use the road, 2) road rage that doesn't seem at all justified when the man hardly loses a few seconds while waiting to pass the bicyclists, 3) the lack of basic bicycle infrastructure on these roads, 4) the fact that some drivers find joy in scaring bicyclists and dreaming about doing more than that, and plenty more. All in all, though, I'm left a little dumbfounded.

Via Streetsblog USA

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