// For licensing/usage please contact: licensing(at)jukinmediadotcom //
On Friday, May 9 as I rode home on the R St bicycle route I checked my rear view mirror and saw a truck one block behind at a four-way stop. I attempted to move into the center of the one-way lane in order to have the safest lane position if the truck were driving quickly. Before I could finish adjusting my lane position the motorist Rashad Watt came up beside me in his Toyota Tundra. I stretched out my hand to gauge the distance and was able to touch his truck meaning he was less than 3 feet from me and I said, "Move over!"
The speed table on this street is significant and I trusted that Mr. Watt would slow and at that point I would pass him and get safely out of the door zone. Instead, he maintained his speed and then quickly drove over the speed table. I yell again for him to move over and this time he does, but towards me instead of away. I braked to avoid the sideswipe and since he was stopping at the stop sign and my lane had been cut off I ran into his truck. I used the gate of the truck bed to stabilize myself. Holding onto it prevented me from totally losing control and falling to the ground.
At that point you can watch/read the transcript and you can clearly see that Mr. Watt thought I should have been in the bike lane. The trouble with this idea is that he bike lane he is referring to is a "contraflow" bike lane, meaning it is a special lane that allows cyclists to drive west on what is otherwise a one-way eastbound lane. Of course, as Mr. Watt himself says about the bike lane, “I don’t even know about all of that shit. I don’t drive a bike.”
When the police arrived I told them what happened and said I had a video. However when I was in the ER Officer Thompson arrived and gave me a Notice of Infraction for "Following Too Closely." Mr. Watt did not receive a ticket.
MPD did not cite Mr. Watt for reckless driving, passing with less than 3 feet, for damaging my person or my property. Today (May 20) they say they are still investigating.
Mr. Watt may be right about one thing when he said "There’s laws that govern bikes, they just don’t enforce them."
Dialogue Between Driver & Cyclist
Cyclist: Move over. Move the f**k over, buddy! Hey! Mother f**ker … DF- [attempting to call out the license plate] f**king
Motorist: … touch my car!?
Cyclist: What the hell?
Driver:What the f**k are you doing touching my car? The bike lane’s over there.
Cyclist: The bike lane….
Motorist: The bike lane is over there, dude
Cyclist: This IS the bike lane
Motorist: THAT is the bike lane.
Cyclist: Look at this.
Motorist: That’s the bike lane, dude.
Cyclist: See this arrow
Motorist: I don’t know about that but you ain’t gotta touch my car.
Cyclist: See that arrow? It points that way.
Motorist: I don’t even know about all of that shit. I don’t drive a bike. Don’t put your hands on my f**king car.
Cyclist: What’s your name, buddy?
Motorist: Doesn’t matter what my name is.
Cyclist: I’m going to call the police.
Motorist: You go ahead and call the police because you hit my f**king car? Did you hit it?
Cyclist: Who knows.
Motorist: OK look Dude
Cyclist: Who knows.
Motorist: You know what…
Cyclist: all we’re going to do…
Motorist: … you go, you better call the police. You better call [throws bike into truck] the mother f**king police. Shit. You gonna run into the back of my shit. You ran into the back of my shit acting stupid. How are you gonna run into the back of a truck with a bicycle. How the f**k does that happen? You’re not driving a car, you’re on a bike. Dude I don’t understand how you run into the back of a vehicle.
Bystander: hey, leave that alone. They ain’t gotta be on the sidewalk [unintelligible] I’m telling you.
Motorist: They can be on the side all they want. You don’t run into the back of nobody’s truck, dude. He’s running into the f**king back of my shit. You don’t have to call ‘em, I’m not going nowhere.
[turns off the engine]
I don’t know -- there’s no way you can explain what the hell’s going on … you done ran into the back of the truck.
Bystander 2: there is a dust mark on the back
Driver: there are scratches on the back. Dude. Stop being obnoxious with that bike. There’s laws that govern bikes, they just don’t enforce them.
Get involved in your own community's advocacy for safe streets. In DC, join WABA to help make your home better for bicycling at waba.org/get_involved/membership.php
[the comment area is moderated. imagine you're talking over dinner at a nice sit-down place and you'll be fine.]