You know it's getting bad out there when cyclists start experiencing road rage. No, I am not referring to the all to common bike-car altercations. The incident I am referring to is a bike-bike dustup. There was no car involved. This was a case of one cyclist taking it out, literally, on another. And, to top it all off, the aggressor has had assault charges filed and is awaiting his day in court.
It all went down several months ago in Madison Wisconsin, a place known for having lots of bikes and people who ride them. It is a college town with a history of being bike-friendly and has also produced some of the country's top bike racers. This is probably one of the last places you would expect some sort of bike-bike road rage incident, but yet it happened.
Colin Obrien, owner of the Cronometro bike shop, was cycling home from work one dark night when he happened upon a couple of riders. Neither had any sort of light on their bike so as Colin passed, he said "get a light" or words to that effect. The male rider of the group must have taken offence at that remark because he followed Colin home and then assaulted him in front of his house.
I have known Colin for almost 30 years and he is one of the nicest and mellowest guys on the planet. Maybe it was just that he made the remark at the wrong time to the wrong person; I don't believe that there was any malice intended in Colin's remark. He truly loves riding his bike and wishes the same for others. But, something went wrong and now Colin's attacker is facing assault charges.
What is interesting here is that if we cyclists can get along amongst ourselves, how can we expect us to get along with cars? We have to be able to be civil to our fellow riders. Clearly, a lot of car-bike road rage incidents originate with the car driver, but we as cyclists also need to be able to keep our rage in check. If we can't do that with our brethren on two wheels, it's going to be a long road ahead.