In Portland, a hate crime against a cyclist: BikePortland.org is reporting additional details in the arrest for first-degree assault of Wayne Conrad Thompson, who viciously backed over Michael Luther, who was riding a bike. “he cyclist had been knocked out of his shoes and his helmet was a few feet from his head,” a bystander reported.
BikingBis: Traffic fatalities dropped in 2008 — unless you happened to be on two wheels. Deaths rose 2.1 percent, and injuries spiked much more: 21 percent.
Not all of these involved hate against cyclists, of course. But many can be shown to reflect a second-class citizenship, akin to the bias and ignorance at the heart of racism, sexism, sexuality-based prejudice and other stereotyping, which fosters anti-cycling behavior and, in some tragic cases, incubates eventual extremism.
Until we address the unique psychological phenomenon that stigmatizes cyclists as “the other” in traffic as well as in traffic planning, the role of the bicycle in our culture will continue to be hazardous as well as marginalized.