Image via Gawker
You may have heard this one before--a cyclist goes biking in New York City. Cyclist gets cut off by a driver who's irritated by having to share the road with cyclists. Cyclist rides up to driver at next stop, positions himself in front of the vehicle and tells him to please observe the speed limit. Driver rams cyclist and drags him 200 feet through Central Park. Driver is a writer for Fox News.Okay, so that last part isn't necessarily relevant to the story, but it's all true. And the fact that the road raging driver works for Fox News has helped the story make headlines all over New York and the ever-trusty blogosphere. And let's just say it paints drivers who hate on cyclists in a rather unflattering light. That's an understatement.
Just refer to this headline from a Gawker post that cropped up a while after they first broke the story:
'Next Time I'll Rip Your F—ing Head Off' and Other Charming Stories of Fox News' Road Rager. The headline refers to a quote indicative of the road rage-inclined driver's workplace behavior--he said that to a co-worker.
Here's the account of what went down, according to Brian Dooda, the cyclist who was hit:
The driver then accelerated, lunging straight into me, knocking me and my bicycle to the ground and to the left side of his car. I quickly got to my feet and positioned myself in front of his vehicle to prevent him from fleeing the scene. I called out to bystanders to call the police and yelled at the driver that he was insane, he just hit me, and he can't leave. The driver again accelerated into me, with no intention of stopping, forcing me, prostrate, onto the drivers side hood of his vehicle. Riding precariously with a 4,000 lb wheel inches from pulling me beneath it, I screamed for the driver to "Stop!!! Please Stop!!" over and over. He continued to ignore my pleas for some 200ft. keeping a steady 5 or 10mph. He then stopped suddenly allowing me to fall off the side of the hood. Just as quickly as he stopped he violently accelerated again knocking me to the side. This time I managed to stay standing. The driver then sped off Northbound. At this point several witnesses came to my aid and reported his license plate.A pretty harrowing account, to be sure. Dooda suffered only scrapes and minor injuries, but it's a rather horrifying ordeal to be put through.
Thankfully, the story has a relatively happy ending: police have arrested the driver, who turned out to be Fox News Channel writer Don Broderick, on charges of leaving the scene of an accident that involved an injury. It's only a misdemeanor, but at least the anti-cyclist road rager is being brought to justice.
The lesson here is that our work is far from done in terms of fostering an environment where drivers and cyclists can share the roads in harmony. Unfortunately, cyclists still need be wary of the risks irritated, anger-prone drivers present. But the more the public sees stories like this, hopefully the more empathy is generated for bicyclists, and the more willing drivers will become to respectfully share the road. We're all ready seeing anti-cyclist harassment laws popping up--perhaps we're on the way to a more peaceful coexistence of drivers and cyclists. Hopefully.
Note: This post has been updated to reflect the correct distance Mr. Dooda was dragged through Central Park.
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