Paul Andrews

In Toronto, a hate crime against cyclist

In Bicycle advocacy, Obama Bikes on September 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm

New York Times: A former attorney general for Ontario has been charged with killing a bicycle courier in a road rage incident that is simply hard to believe.

Michael Bryant, apparently a tough enforcement official when he was in office, hit the cyclist, who apparently held onto Bryant’s car in an attempt to save himself from being run over. But instead of stopping and offering aid, Bryant accelerated and tried to brush past light posts and other obstacles in an attempt to shed the cyclist.

This is a perfect example of the kind of escalating anger toward cyclists that Bike Intelligencer believes merits classification as a hate crime. See our previous discussion of terrorism, hate crimes and other acts of violence toward cyclists.

Why, when someone is charged with criminal negligence (it sounds more like criminal purposefulness), or in any case could be charged with vehicular homicide, do we need to add hate crime to the category?

Because it would help address the peculiar attitude of drivers, who may be perfectly reasonable human beings in all other settings away from an automobile, that cyclists are the scum of the roadways, do not belong in traffic, and completely deserve what they get.

Until we identify and “out” this distinct psychological phenomenon it will continue to motivate and even sanction violent acts against human beings whose sole misstep is that they happen to be riding a bicycle.

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  1. You’ve probably seen the discussion elsewhere in which many many people are essentially blaming the victim, and calling Bryant’s actions justifiable self defense.

  2. [...] hate crime against cyclists. BikePortland follows up with a perspective on the Toronto incident we reported [...]

  3. [...] this a trend? Remember the Toronto incident where a bike courier was impaled and tried to hang on for dear life while the driver scraped [...]

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