The Woman in the Silver Mercedes is NOT the Victim, She’s an Example

We are up in arms about a woman who deliberately endangered a group of bicyclists as a response to her personal dissatisfaction with the law: Share the Road.

First, I’m going to start by saying that just because bikes don’t have motors doesn’t mean they aren’t vehicles. In South Carolina, bicyclists are subject to all sorts of specific laws in addition to the ones motor vehicle users are. That’s double the law, a BOGO if you will: two sets of laws to abide by.
There are too many bicycle deaths in South Carolina each year due to negligence and road rage like what we saw with The Woman in the Silver Mercedes in Ballantyne, North Carolina. But people feel that they need to justify these deaths by suggesting that bikes shouldn’t be allowed on roads. That bicyclists aren’t as important. That might makes right.

 

SC ranks 46th in the country in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities with 23.7 fatalities per 10,000 commuters. – U.S. Bicycling and Walking Benchmarking Report

 Bicyclists are granted all the rights and duties that the driver of vehicles are, like it or not. But you should like it because they are granted the same responsibilities as vehicle drivers. So, angry drivers, take solace in the fact that if you simply treat cyclists like other drivers, you have nothing to worry about.
SECTION 56-5-3445. This section, also new, makes the harassing or throwing of an object at person riding bicycle unlawful. It is unlawful to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.Generally, a bike is supposed to be driven like a car: In the road, in the right-most lane that takes you to your destination, and as far to the right in that lane as ‘practicable’. In other words, not as far as possible, but what is practical. A motor vehicle drive might not understand why a bicyclist is riding a certain distance from the curb, for example, but trust them, they are probably riding further away from the curb and giving themselves extra space for a reason, and it’s not to piss you off.
And if you don’t like it, then lobby for more (and much needed) bike lanes in South Carolina since we are the 4th deadliest state when it comes to bicycle deaths. We can use the incident in Ballantyne as a lesson so Rock Hill residents don’t become statistics. Lobby for change, don’t complain and expect that bike riders are going to just get off their bikes and rely on a vehicle in order to conform just because you do. As a matter of fact, many bicyclists do their own lobbying for rights; Critical Mass, group rides, education events. Why should drivers be catered to and not expected to actually do something other than complain?
It’s time for motorists to educate themselves on the road laws for cars as well as bikes and change their attitude towards cyclists. Maybe you as a motorist think it’s not your fight. But it is. If bicyclists have to know two sets of laws and regulations in order to play with the big boys, then the big boys need to know both sets as well.

 

Drivers: Use your frustrations to get proper, bicycle-friendly paths and bike lanes in South Carolina.

People are upset that the Woman in the White Mercedes is being demonized, that we are on a “witch hunt”, and the cyclists should have just taken a picture of the plate and reported it to the cops. These people aren’t taking any chances. They are making an example of the maniac woman and here are two reasons why:

 

In only three states is it a felony offense to maim or fatally injure a biker or pedestrian if you are behind the wheel of a car. And in nearly every state, getting police or the courts to prosecute a negligent driver for harming a cyclist is a serious challenge, attorneys and cycling advocates say. –Andrew Zaleski, Next City

 

But even when the circumstances overwhelmingly point to negligence on the part of the driver, the impulse to lecture cyclists remains strong. –Angie Schmitt, Street Blog USA

But she did pose for a picture and must know that social media is the modern day bitch we used to refer to as Karma. So I don’t feel sorry for her either. If we find the pictures and information of child molesters, animal abusers, and other criminals, we personally take to the Internet and share photos and personal information about these monsters with quotes like “This is the face of a child molester” and “Remember this face, he/she did committed such-and-such crime.”  And our attitude towards cyclist needs to change, starting with the Woman in the Silver Mercedes.
picture of woman in white mercedes
 
Then we have those who are on social media, and I quote,

 

Do you know how many people are on the roads with 2 months driving experience, on drugs, texting, just a bad driver, or all of the above. Do you know what happens when you get hit on a bicycle by a car at even 10 or 20 miles an hour much less 50 or higher. Yeah they have the right to, but why would you want to??” -User who commented on the Herald’s Facebook page
OK, I get that. Just because they make XXXL miniskirts doesn’t mean that XXXL women should wear them. Did that piss you off? It should have and here’s why: Everyone has their reason for doing what they do. It can’t be too hard to understand that some of the people that ride bikes aren’t going to only ride on country roads because they are riding for their pleasure. They are riding because they can’t afford a car, they are riding because it saves the environment, they ride because it brings awareness to drivers, for their health, because they can’t ethically justify driving a car, wasting gas to go a mile down the road to the grocery store, because there’s a shortcut to make their trip quicker on a bike.

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