Sunday, September 15, 2013

Harassment, Endangerment and Assault by an automobile - Georgia Style

You would think that by now, having been honked at, yelled at, driven off the road, by several motorists, by now, I would have learned my lesson and let the motorists have the road right? No, I haven't. And, I would not expect that from you either, my dear readers.

My mission of striving for fair and equal treatment continues, here in Atlanta, Georgia as well.

The car pictured below, was in a huge hurry to pass me in a stretch of roughly 100 meters, at the intersection of Dogwood Road and Riverside, in Roswell, Georgia. The time was around 7 PM in the evening. I was on my way back from work.

As you can possibly imagine what transpired, I will save you the boring details, such as honking, yelling, etc.

But this particular driver had the audacity to try to run me off the road, by flying past me at a very high speed, narrowly missing me. I wonder if such people will kill, if only they knew they wouldn't be caught! Photo below was taken using my portable camera, which hangs on my belt loop. Trying to save my skin, I couldn't take a better picture of the offender. This was as good as I could. Unfortunately, one does not need a front license plate in GA. And, by the time I got to a safe location, I could not take a photo of the rear plates. Well, for that matter I would have need a high-speed zoom lens and a DSLR or something better, to have successfully photographed the rear license plate of this individual.
I pulled over at the park by the Chattahoochee and called Roswell non-emergency Police number. An officer showed up after a while and was professional enough to assure me that I wasn't doing anything wrong and if I could give him the plate number, he will be able to investigate further. I told him I did not have a clear photograph, but that I would try to extract one from my helmet cam. He gave me his card and told me who to send the photos to, if I extract some clear images from the digital footage. Thanks a bunch to Roswell PD for dispatching an officer when I called! Thank you, thank you!

I did not have much luck with the extraction. The image was fuzzy.

Now, I have been harassed at least 2-3 times on Dogwood. I thought long and hard about it. That is when the wise words of my friend Steve came to mind. Steve and I were chatting it up one day and he pointed out that he wouldn't ride on MacArthur Blvd in Irving, even on a Sunday. "It is not a pleasant road to ride on, even when there is no traffic...", said Steve. In my opinion, Dogwood is comparable to MacArthur in terms of how unpleasant it is for cyclists and pedestrians. Mind you, I am not asking for a cycle lane or a cycle track or some million dollar widget. I am simply asking that Roswell Police patrol this area enough and make it friendly for all types of vehicles. Not just for cars!

Guess what? The LAB has given Roswell a Bronze Status for its Bicycle Friendliness. I say, why? If I had a say in it, being a Cycle Commuter in Roswell, GA, I would vote them down. Not just because of the constant harassment of cyclists by motorists on streets like Dogwood, but also because of the lack any decent roads to get to any stores or restaurants or libraries by bicycle.

I contacted a local Bicycle Advocacy organization regarding this. I got a bunch of electronic balderdash for an answer. I have contacted the LAB and let them know how I feel about the Bronze status as well.

I am yet to see another cycle commuter, who obeys the traffic laws, in Roswell. I do not count those who ride on the sidewalk, even if they ride a $5K bike; because, I have seen a few of those too, although they weren't commuters.

That's my story, for now.

Hoping for better conditions for all vehicles on the road.

Peace :)

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