Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘bicycle hate crimes’

More on hate crimes against cyclists

In Bicycle advocacy, Obama Bikes, Rider Down on September 5, 2009 at 11:28 am

In Portland, a hate crime against a cyclist: 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.

Our take continues to be that this kind of action represents a hate crime against cyclists. BikePortland follows up with a perspective on the Toronto incident we reported earlier.

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.

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.