Threats To Cyclists from Motorists on Twitter

“If one of your number cycels (sic) past me in an irresponsible manner I will now instead nudge him or her into a hedge or wall so they can have time to reflect on.. Road tax, the highway code and the values of fossil fuel”


“If you’re on a push bike at night with no light & wearing dark clothes, then I will run you over & I won’t feel guilty.”

The above two tweets are actual tweets from drivers. I see them as threats to maim and kill people. A judge may do also. So whenever I see a tweet of this nature I take a screenshot of the tweet (I click on expand first so that the time and date of the tweet can be seen), and I set up a Google alert with the name of the person who posted the tweet. If there is ever a newspaper article or other mention on the internet concering that person, I will be able to read it, and if the person in question has been involved in a serious accident I will be able to provide evidence that the person, at best, had previously displayed scant regard to the safety of other road users, and at worst, had intent to kill. After setting up the alert, I inform the tweeter of what I have done and advise them to drive carefully.

The people tweeting these comments may or may not be serious – who knows? Whatever the case, it is clear that they don’t take cyclists seriously and they don’t view them as road users with the same rights that motorists have. Let’s hope that their words don’t come back to haunt them.

2 thoughts on “Threats To Cyclists from Motorists on Twitter

  1. Difference between motorists & cyclists:

    Cyclists have to pull over and stop to reed threatening Tweets.

    Motorists type out threatening Tweets WHILE THEY’RE STILL DRIVING.

  2. I agree with your general senetmint, but some errata:- The guy in Gatineau was apparently riding against traffic, according to the Sun’s coverage, IIRC.- I forget the specific statistics, but the vast majority of cycling injuries do not occur due to motorist fault, but are falls, hitting potholes, etc. and don’t even involve other vehicles. Most bicycle-motor vehicle injuries occur at intersections, not from behind, as the two recent Ottawa collisions were.- The law does not grant us 3m, or 1m or 3 feet. The law requires vehicles to pass each other safely. Ask the Minister of Transportation about this, and they’ll say this means passing in the next lane, and that a 1m passing law is not necessary. Ask the police (who are actually responsible for interpreting the law at the level of enforcement), and they may say as long as you weren’t hit nothing was wrong (actually they do generally follow up on my complaints of unsafe passing).The cycling safety blitz is one of many ineffectual blitzes the police do every year. They’re scant, unfocused (in the sense that 300 or so tickets over a month across 7600km of roads barely reaches a fraction of the people committing a given infraction, whatever it is), and as you suggest tend not to focus on people risking harm to others. For example, their pedestrian safety campaign where they threaten pedestrians to walk like your life depends upon it is certainly blaming the victim, and doesn’t affect the factor of unsafe and inattentive drivers.I’d also criticize those who say that these collisions underline the importance that we have segregated cycling facilities in Ottawa. For one, you can never fully segregate the cycling facility they’ll have to cross roads at some point, even if you pair off all 7600 km of Ottawa’s roads. But more importantly, this is yet another form of blaming the victim: by moving cyclists away from cars, you’re not addressing the fact that motorists are driving unsafely! In fact, by reducing the number of interactions motorists have with cyclists, by removing the cyclists from motorists’ frame of mind, you’re giving motorists fewer reasons to care and think about cyclists while they’re driving, making it more dangerous for people to cycle anywhere there isn’t a parallel cycling route (or if it’s littered with pedestrians like our pathways are).The two lines that concern me most is not the cycling blitz, but the line about how police are investigating whether the cyclist in Orleans was riding within the bike lane. That lane, if it is where I think it is, is one of the first bike lanes we had in the Ottawa area, and is woefully narrower than the standard width used today. And even if the cyclist was riding outside the bike lane, he may have had a good reason for doing so it was too narrow, it had debris in it, etc. It may not even have legal status as a bike lane anyway. All this to say that the cyclist being outside of the bike lane is no excuse for the motorist not avoiding him. In this way, bike lanes are becoming bike ghettoes’, as one person put it, where cyclists are barred from riding anywhere else.

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