If you haven’t seen it, the pair of Oregon cyclists cruising around New Zealand and chronicling their adventure experienced the ugly underbelly of the roads this week. While passing through Newtown, a car passed them perilously close and they reacted. The driver stopped his car and charged Russ and assaulted him. Both the New Zealand Herald and the Dominion Post carried the story. The riders have said that they aren’t “put off” from completing their journey, but what an awful tangent to the story.
Though definitely a cloud on a great adventure, hopefully there’s a silver lining. These are the kinds of incidents that need a function. So I hope it does this: I hope it evolves from the conversation about sharing the road into action. Although there will always be a few bad eggs about ready to crack, the rest of us on the road can be reminded more persistently about the rights of both cyclists and cars to the finite tarmac that winds us around town. And while we can be ashamed of this particular driver, we shouldn’t have to wonder whether he and others like him will be held accountable for their actions.
I’m sorry to hear about the experience of Russ and Laura and my heart goes out to them. I wish them well as they continue their journey.