Thu, 03 Nov 2005

Bicycle Vigilante

Last night I rode home in the dark. I've got a nice, bright headlight and a flashing red tail light, so I'm plenty visible.

The route I took last night takes me through the intersection at Broadway and McDonald. I made a right from Broadway onto McDonald, headed for Sprague and points south. There was a car coming the other direction on Broadway, waiting to make a left. They turned in behind me.

The car followed for a block. I figured its driver was waiting to make a right at the next intersection, but then the car passed, horn blaring. It made a sharp lane change back in front of me, then slowed.

The car made a right onto a dead end street, went wide clear to the left curb, and came to a stop. I thought, hey—maybe this isn't an asshole after all. Maybe this is someone I know toying with me and has stopped to say hi.

Not certain however, I didn't turn in behind the the car. Instead, I stopped at the curb, still on McDonald, but at the same corner.

A girl, twenties, got out of the driver side. A very tall young man, approximately the same age got out of the passenger side and started walking toward me. Another young man, came out of the front door of the house at that corner, glanced at them, then seeing the tall guy headed my way turned his gaze to me and took a step in my direction.

I recognized none of them and decided they were indeed being assholes and this wasn't the place to be. So, I started pedalling. Shouts followed me, but I couldn't make them out.

The ride home was fast, fueled by anger.

When I arrived at home, I changed quickly, grabbed a baseball bat out of the closet in my oldest boy's room and headed out the door. I dropped the bat in the trunk of the my car and headed back down McDonald. The other car was still parked at the corner when I arrived back at the scene. I made a left onto the short, dead-end street, turned around, and stopped next to it.

I reached down, and pulled the trunk release, exited the car leaving the driver door open, did a quick check to make sure I was completely alone and unwatched in the dark. I took the bat, made two, quick, hard swings dashing out a set of headlights with each stroke.

The bat went back in the trunk and I was gone in a flash. There was no sign I'd been heard or noticed—no one exited the house before I was out of sight.

After all the years of drivers pulling their crap and speeding away, I finally got one—one brazen enough to let their location be known. So, I got a little revenge.

OK, I had you going, right? No, I didn't make the return trip with baseball bat. Didn't smash any headlights. But I certainly thought about it all the way home. I wanted to take out my revenge, but that wouldn't serve to make me or any other cyclist safer tomorrow, so I just penned this fiction to quell the anger, and it seems to have helped.

Cycle safely and don't let the bastards wear you down.

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