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Reporting Threatening Drivers

Reporting Threatening Drivers

On my impromptu ride on Saturday, three experienced and fast riders were intimidated and threatened on RT-216 Highland Road.  We were riding fast, nearing the end of a hilly 60 mile ride, single file, along the white line about a mile East of Brighton Dam Road.  The silver Chrysler/Dodge mini-van, MD license number 890M444 laid on his horn right on our tails and buzzed way too close passing.  The road was generally open and clear, his intention to scare us was clear too.  As he passed, all three of us simultaneously yelled "HEY" which was kind of amusing.  I decided this jerk needed to be reported and dealt with by the authorities.

At the BAHC symposium down at APL a month ago, I had a nice conversation with the Howard County Special Ops Police Rep who told me first, and then the group, that they DO want us to report these kinds of people.  He made it very clear that we should ignore those old PSA's' that say to not call 911 but that we SHOULD use the 911 number. Long ago I put the non-emergency number in my phone but I thought it was interesting that he boldly said "we have the people and the system to deal with calls to 911 and we want you to call that number from the road".  What I asked him privately was if we could provide them postage and a letter and get them to mail it to reported plate numbers.  To my surprise, he informed me that they already do that when we report someone.  They send a letter to the address of the vehicle stating the date and time and what the vehicle was observed doing wrong.  It also finishes with a disclaimer that if they weren't using the vehicle sorry for the note.  Anyway, this was pretty cool and made me feel better because they are at least scaring people, the people know they have been reported and are on record, and they are getting the law read to them.

Anyway, when I got home I called the non-emergency number (410-313-2929) and basically just explained that we had been threatened and that Capt. John McKissick told us he wanted reports.  I detected a heightened level of "interest" from the phone answerer when I mentioned the meeting, the discussion and Capt. McKissick's name.  She sent an officer to my house to get the details.  The officer was the same one who investigated the woman recently "right-hooked" and almost run over on RT-216 and it was a great opportunity to point out more of "our view" to one of our foot-soldiers.  He had called the Captain before visiting me.  He took notes to add to the letter to the driver and/or meet with him/her.  I made it VERY clear that while incidents occur regularly, we rarely report them except when people show malice and pre-meditation.  He was aware of cyclists being shot and punched and other similar issues from the past (showing great commuication and training in the ranks of the department).

He saw my bike in the living Rroom and took interest asking if they were really as expensive as he'd heard.  I showed him some details that can make a big difference in price, and my Ti Break Away travel bike was mostly packed in it's case also in the Living Room as I was packing it for an upcoming vacation for another expensive example.  I let him know that the price could vary a lot and it might be difficult to tell just looking at them as a bike but also letting him know they could easily be between $4000 and $8000 for those of us who ride a lot and enjoy the sport.  He was clearly impressed that I ride 3,000 plus miles a year and I also let him know that many of my friends locally ride multiples of that distance each year.

He tried to call the offending vehicle's owner, but the number was unlisted.  He assured me that he would get a nasty-gram in the mail.  I think it was a very positive experience, the police are clearly trying to help protect us and they understand many of the issues.  Taking time to talk with me I'm sure this officer has an even better impression of cyclists.

Ciao,
Stuart

~too much of anything is just enough for me. Pete Townshend

Stuart Lamb
Stuart the Descender
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Re: Reporting Threatening Drivers

Stuart,
I'm glad you put forth the effort to report this incident.  If we all did this, maybe we could make a difference.
Susanne M.

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Re: Reporting Threatening Drivers

It is great that you got this response from the policeman!  And rather "amusing" that you had this problem soon after we parted ways on Saturday - As I was riding up Tridelphia Road, I had a similar (perhaps not quite as threatening) experience - A driver in an SUV came quite close, then started gesturing wildly, I interpreted as "You bikes shouldn't be on the road".  There were no other vehicles close by, nothing held him up, and I was as far to the right as I could be.  There must have been something foul in the air that time of day! ...

Barry

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