Cycling has been in the news alot this week, and not for a good reason. The hit and run on the Natchez Trace that went viral and ended up in just about everyone’s facebook feed has demonstrated the real danger that cyclist face, and the real ironic thing: The danger on a road that is primarily there for cycling and sightseeing. The Natchez trace is a national parkway, and has special rules for cyclists, such as the fact that they are legally allowed to take up their entire lane and ride two abreast.
I’m not going to post the video, I’m sure you’ve seen it. I’m at a loss for words after watching it and I just can’t understand, but after watching it something I believe has been reinforced, people do things behind the wheel that they probably wouldn’t do if they weren’t driving, and that society is changing.
The following is just an opinion, it could be wrong but it’s what I think. I think the cyclist Tyler Noe in that video was stuck on purpose. I believe that the driver, Marshall Grant Neely, had been held up for a period of time behind two cyclists who were taking up the lane. I believe the driver probably drove this road on a regular basis and had developed a deep hatred of cyclists, especially those who ride two abreast.
I believe the driver had probably decided that he needed to take action against the cyclists who were, in his mind, ruining his life and the lives of others, by holding him up behind them. I believe the driver decided he would “bump” the cyclist perhaps knock him down. The driver then developed a story claiming how the cyclist threw his bike at him, it would be his word against thier word. Instead he is now on TV.
Now here’s where I’m going to get weird, so bare with me.
I believe that our current society has more or less abandoned the idea of truth and objective morality. Instead it has devolved into a tribal form of subjective morality. I believe that society will separate into two camps on almost any issue and construct their own truth about any given situation. An objective person can see this happening in our politics, society forms two tribes that each completely ignore the flaws of their candidate and develop their own reality of any given situation.
Donald Trump understood this better than anyone, he is a master of manipulating reality. His obsession with polling and ratings is a dead giveaway. He understands that truth is only what his tribe will believe. He realized that to his followers what he said was reality, as long as it sounded even remotely truthful. He also realized that in our society today consequences for behavior are as subjective as reality has become.
Marshall Grant Neely will face consequences for his behavior, but likely not serious life altering consequences, he will not serve time. And why should he? In fact to many he is a a hero, in fact I would estimate if a poll was taken the cyclist would be the one to blame. In fact a poll was taken, look at the comments in the video, the comments that blame the cyclist are far outvoted then the comments supporting the cyclist.
Here’s a good example.
“clearly this asshole on the bike is riding next to his other asshole buddy just so these piece of shit fag boys can talk. I’m tired of these fucks ruling the roads that built for cars not bikes. Best of luck to the guy in the car, I stand with you. Yes, I am very angry about this. I live near the beach and see this too often. These fucks don’t stop at the stop signs and get away with it just so they don’t have to stop and have to start up again. Fuuuuuu-Q!!!!”
This particular comment was the most highly upvoted comment on that particular video. In the past I would just write it off as internet trolls, but that is no longer an option. The internet trolls are now running the country.
So… as cyclists we must understand that we are the minority, and that there are people, a small but likely growing number, who will hit us with their vehicles if we are riding in such a way as they feel is incorrect.
This is my advice. Treat all cars as if they are driven by poorly designed robots that will run you over if you get in their way. Do not ride in the robot car’s path, as many robots are lacking empathy programming. If you are riding two abreast and a car is approaching line up on the edge of the road as fast as possible.
Do not trust that ridiculous 3 feet laws will protect you. They do not really exist.
Maybe I’m way off, maybe Marshal Grant Neely really didn’t the cyclist, really didn’t notice he’d hit one, and really thought a cyclist threw their bike at his car.