Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Home

You are traveling down a two-lane country road in the dark of night. You come upon a strange sight. There is an oddly flashing red light up ahead, in the middle of the road. You instinctively slow down.

As you come close to the strange light, you can make out that it is some fellow on a bicycle in the middle of your lane. The road is nearing the crest of a rise, and so you must slow and wait to overtake in the opposing lane.

As the line of sight becomes clear, a dark colored SUV roars past you! You are glad you always check before changing lanes.

But the SUV slows suddenly in the oncoming lane, and then accelerates again. As you prepare to overtake the bicyclist, he waves his arm and swerves into the center line while coming to a stop. He nearly falls to the ground as he dismounts and runs toward you... He has a full beard and has a deranged look on his face... His eyes are wild-

"The passenger of that car shot me!" He yells when he comes up to your closed window.

In this scenario, what would you do?

In this case, the fellow rolled down his window and exclaimed in a loud voice; "You've been shot?"

"Yes," I said, "By a pellet gun I think, can you chase him down for me?"

I am holding my left side.

Without another word he roars off.

About 8:30 PM I was west-bound on Hwy 879 (a mile east of FM 1722) when the passenger of an overtaking motor vehicle shot me with some sort of pellet or BB gun. He was a lousy shot. He hit me once out of three tries.

I hope the fellow I talked to will get the license plate number, I tried to get it but I was unable to see it clearly. I ride on down the road to a safe place to pull off and wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

It is hard for me to tell how long I've waited. I know my emotions and adrenalin is messing with my perception of time. I wait some more.

Surly enough time has passed for that guy to get the license plate number and return to me, hasn't it? What if he thinks I have asked him to stop the guy? What if he just doesn't want to get involved? How long before I should give up waiting and just go home? I hope that it left a mark so I can get a picture of it.

After a while I decide it is a lost cause waiting for him to come back with the license number and finish my ride home.

At home, I see that there is a mark, so I arrange some lights and take a few pictures. Shawlee is demanding a walk, (I want to chase bunnies, let's go! Let's go! Please take me for a walk!) so I change into long pants to avoid feeding the mosquitoes, and out the door we go.

In a few minuets, a patrol car with flashing lights comes up the road. I am correct in supposing that they are looking for me, the missing victim.

It turns out that the kind fellow in the car behind me called the police, and then his friend! (To go looking for me and to render aid- he thought I was dying on the side of the road!) He said that the perps were exceeding the speed limit substantially to avoid pursuers. He did right by me, and I am grateful.

The local police, of various jurisdictions responded in force. I counted six cruisers. Three different departments. They canceled the medical units that were rolled. Alas, the perp got away, there was nothing that could be done.

Those are the facts. What has surprised me the most is my emotional response. I am angry, of course, but no more angry than when I hear of similar incidents that have happened to other people. I am heartened by this. I am glad that my sense of injustice is as aroused by the experiences of others as it is when I am the victim.

I have decided that it was a malicious prank. Wrong and cowardly, yes. Reckless, and they are lucky they caused no permanent injuries. A spur of the moment crime.

This was an unfortunate one-off event I am sure, and I doubt it will happen to me ever again. There is nothing I could do to prevent it, as it was a bit of evil born in the heart of someone with poor decision-making skills.

Well, that is pretty much it, but I expect that you, my dear reader, will have questions. Feel free to inquire, I will answer all that I can.

Oh yes, pictures! Warning! For those of you with weak stomachs you should not scroll down. You will subject your senses to horrifying images! (Not bloody and gory- Fat rolls and body hair! Bleach!) Nightmares can be made from this! Tread ye not on yonder path- Lest ye be slain and eaten by Ogres!

I honestly would not have the courage to post such scandalous images, but for the brave post's of dear Rantwick.




  1. Pretty mild compared to fanny packs. I find the police response heartening. Any word on if the perp might be doing this as more than just one time?

  2. OUCH! I was shot at with a paintball gun once but the perp wasn't as good of an aim as your shooter. I still have the paint mark on my paniers. I have been shot with a pellet gun (not while cycling) in my younger days and I know it hurts. I am glad to see you didn't lose control of the bike and wipeout.

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  4. Ouch! At least they were using a very ineffective weapon. The CDC reports that only 9% of gunshot wounds are fatal compared to motor vehicles which are 5% fatal @ 20 MPH 50% fatal @30 MPH and 85% fatal @40 MPH (NHTSA). One wonders why school zones are set at such a high minimum speed (20 MPH by state law).

    You're going in my blog as a statistic, BTW

  5. Steve, the police did not mention any other incident to me. I do not think they were "hunting" cyclists, it is far more likely that it was a spur of the moment, crime of opportunity.

    In this area, "Cyclaris Vehicularis" is a singularity.

  6. Ow!

    I'm so glad you are OK. As Rollz said, glad you were able to stay in control of the bike.

    The police response and the good Samaritan put a positive spin on it, but it's infuriating that some people think it funny or appropriate to shoot (or throw things) at cyclists. The pillory is the most appropriate punishment for such people.

  7. I have yet to see "Cyclaris Vehicularis" common in ANY area. I'm not sure that bothers me - it's entirely possible that vehicularis gets treated better by motorists partly BECAUSE it's clearly a different species than the common vulgaris.

  8. I got lost in all the Latin but I'm glad to hear you'll pull through Chip!

  9. Holy Crap! Are you kidding me? People driveby shooting people with BB guns? Like the others, I'm glad you are OK.

    Going by the police repsonse, if I ever need to report a dangerous driver, I think I'll add "I may have seen a gun!" Way less likely in my fair Canada, but still...

  10. There's news out Delaware (where I grew up) that blow guns and darts are now the weapon of choice for rednecks to shoot bicyclists.

  11. Well acline, I think darts could be better for cyclists. When hit by one, hold onto it, for if the miscreant is caught he could be charged with littering, which would no doubt mean they would pay a stiffer penalty than for assaulting a cyclist! (Sigh, if only that was just a joke!)

    To my loyal reader, (And you know who you are!) I would highly recommend frequent visits to acline's fine blog- 'Carbon Trace'

  12. Yeesh, this is really a crazy story. Glad to hear no further calamity came about.

  13. First off, I am glad you are okay!
    What the heck is wrong with these morons?