Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I was preparing a happy and chipper post to usher in the New Year and talk about what I've been up to during this little break, like tandem riding with my girl and my first time at the velodrome. I thought it would be a nice way to break the ice after my short hiatus from the blogosphere. As the title of this post suggests however, the nice things are put on hold for a bit.
Anyone who has really spent time cycling in this city has either been subject to some form of harassment or knows some one who has. Usually this takes non physical forms, like aggressive honking, buzzing or passing with little room, or shouting obscenities. Less often is the occasional thrown garbage usually with poor aim and thus not physical. Sometimes it's with no real provocation or reason other then being a cyclist on the road.
Well in a rather frightening fashion I encountered some sickening individuals in a car who felt they would get physical with me last night. I had heard stories of cyclists being attacked, usually at dead hours in shady parts of town, but my encounter was at about 10:30 pm on the busy road of Santa Monica Blvd. while going through West Hollywood. Traveling through there is something I do often as I live in Santa Monica and my girlfriend Meghan lives in Hollywood and she gets off work at 11.
I was traveling east bound and went through the intersection of Santa Monica & Fairfax as the light turned green, hustling along as I always do, when a car pulled up beside me scarily close. I thought this was a driver trying to buzz me for a scare, since they surely saw at least one of the 4 (yes 4) tail lights I had on. Then it happened, I saw hands reach out of the rear passenger window and grab my messenger bag. The assailant tugged on the bag hard and I tugged back and amazingly shook him off without losing my balance. I noticed it looked like it was a fully loaded car 4 or 5 people, white or silver 4 door sedan, all males either white or light colored Hispanic.
I screamed fuck at them at the top of my lungs when it sunk in what just happened, and started pedaling at sprinting speed to try and catch the license plate. When I really push it I can get going over 30 mph, but apparently the scream was intense enough they felt compelled to floor it and started weaving between vehicles probably close to the 45-50 mph range. With a series of synchronized greens and light traffic to their advantage all my strength wasn't enough to catch up.
After burning out and giving up the chase, I pondered if they were seriously trying to steal the bag right off my back or just trying to fuck with me because they could. When I got to Meghan's place I discovered yellow sticky gunk, presumably egg, was on the side of my bag. This made it pretty clear to me their intent was to fuck with someone, and I just happened to be the convenient target.
What really had me burning with anger though was that had I not been such a strong cyclist, I easily could have been knocked off balance and fallen in the middle of the road way, which could have led to more serious injury, potentially even death if the following car could not avoid collision. These are people with no qualms about jeopardizing the lives of others because they fucking can, and can get away with it.
I filed a report with the police of West Hollywood, but without a license plate number there is little I can really do. I'm a pretty easy going guy who rarely wishes ill will on others, but I'd be lying if I didn't start envisioning some U-lock justice on their vehicle. I don't know what else to say other then it was really fucking scary and I hope karma catches up with them one of these days.