Monday, March 22, 2010

Knowing is half the battle....

Date: 3/17/2010
Time: 7:40pm
Location: Tennessee Blvd. Just east of the St. Joseph River, On the Bike Route
I was on my way home from work and traveling eastbound at about 15 mph.
Traffic was extremely light and no car was visible traveling west bound on Tennessee. A car pulled up tight on my and honked. When this usually happens I ignore it, thankful that they see me well enough to honk at me. Next thing I know the very new Dark Blue Lexus was buzzing me for no reason other than to exert its dominance over me (my theory since there was no oncoming traffic). I could not see the driver over the seat so I am assuming that it was a woman (fair assumption). The car came close enough to me that I should have hit it (with my fist but thought better of it because this sometimes causes a less than desirable response). Six inches from my handlebars. Like an idiot I did not automatically try to get the plate while it was that close to me but the light was low. So I cranked it up and proceeded to chase. It was a In God We Trust Indiana Plate (figures) and I only could get close enough to confirm the big numbers and not the tiny letters prior. It is hard when you are pedaling as fast as you have ever pedaled before and I am not kidding. The chase continued along the Marked Bike Route and around Lakeside Park until I got to Anthony and witnessed the Lady turn left onto Randalia heading North toward State Blvd. I stopped and gathered myself by hacking up a lung (I had a wicked head cold at the time so a high speed chase didn't help in the least bit). After I limped home, I called the police to file a report.
The police dispatcher told me that an officer would come over. I thought that this was odd but said okay. Turns out the dispatcher told the police that I insisted that he come out to my house. I did not say that and he said that they were having some issues internally.
About an hour later Officer Kristen (Sorry about the spelling officer) came over and I told him what happened. He asked if I got the plate and I gave him the partial. He said that even with the make and model that he could not find out who the driver was. I questioned him about that and he said that if there had been a fatality they could send it down to Indy and find out but I guess Fort Wayne doesn't have that capability. This was not very comforting because I was the one who would have been killed! I told him the reason that I was filing the report was because if in the future this lady or short man hurt a cyclist, that this report could be used to establish a pattern of behavior.
Unfortunately, the officer told me that this would be classified as a disturbance since there is not a "Road Rage" law on the books. Good to know.
So the lesson here is, now you know. There is nothing protecting you out there except for you. There are no laws on the books that keeps people on bikes safe from people in cars that like to intimidate those of us on bikes. My advice is to....well I don't have any. Hope you have a witness if you get hit.
Indianapolis has some laws on the books that requires drivers of automobiles to give room to Bikes but Fort Wayne does not. Why? I think probably because the cycling community hasn't screamed loud enough is my guess. I would recommend reporting it anyway though. At least then there is some record, some documentation that we are being discriminated against on the roads of Fort Wayne, Indiana.


MichaelK said...

When I had my run-in with the SUV in Muncie, I have the vehicle description, full plate and direction of travel.

The Muncie cops managed to stop them not too far away, but claim the officer that made the stop "didn't get the call on the radio" and so they weren't held. The driver didn't have his license on him but they let him go anyway.

Because, he was pulled over for something else, you see.

And I got shot in the face with a BB gun in my case.

Needless to say they didn't do anything about it later other than have me come in and give a statement. (That's how I found out about the stop.)

So I'm not surprised the police can't (won't bother to) look up the partial and get a match. You didn't even bleed, and there's not even an easy charge, so to them it doesn't matter.

Eric S. said...

Same thing happened to me with a partial, down here in Indy. I thought I had the entire plate number after a truck brushed me with his side view mirror, causing me to wreck. Turns out, that the owner of the truck was in Auburn and at work. I told the officer the last digit might be wrong. He said he couldn't do anything.

Jugomugo had a similar incident after getting hit head on. Police said they probably wouldn't find the vehicle, but Jugo found it the next day in 15 min with bits of his bike still in it. He turned pictures over and hasn't heard anything since.

There's not much we can do. Get a lawyer maybe?

fwbikecommuter said...

Stay safe out there.

fwbikecommuter said...

Hope that you were okay. I tell everyone it is just a matter of time before you have a run in with a motorized vehicle.
Yeah I remember you telling me about Jugomugo's incident on the New Years Day ride up here.
Stay safe out there. I hope Indy is treating you well.