A weekend group ride in Jacksonville, Florida ended with three men in the hospital after a motorist got out of his truck and stabbed two cyclists finishing up their regular route. The aggravated assault has sent shock waves through the American bicycling community, inciting fear, anger, exasperation and calls for a strong, unified response to the special kind of road rage that cyclists face. Since it occurred on a college campus, it has been covered by national media, as well. Our friends at zMotion have already reached out to media in Jacksonville with information about their Right Ride/ Drive Right campaign.
Clearly, there is a need for motorist/cyclist civility. Because of the literal assault that took place, this incident does not call for specific cyclist-safety laws, or does it? If it was against the law to hit a cyclist even if it were the cyclist’s fault, as in Scotland, would the driver have just driven off? What was the man doing with a knife in hand, anyway? Where does all of this road rage come from?
As advocates for better, safer bicycling, it is our responsibility to talk about what happened. I urge you to share the Right Right/Drive Right PSA with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, through email and just in everyday conversation. One of the many reasons that the State of Florida has a ‘3 feet law’ is to prevent this physical contact that leads to these sorts of events. Here at the South Florida Bike Coalition, we are considering our next steps in response. We are eager to support a ride hosted by any of the clubs or fellow organizations in our counties because we remain true to our goal of empowering bicyclists to take action and encouraging our communities to advocate together as one.
Email us at SFBikeCoalition@yahoo.com – we’ll keep you updated here.