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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why Cyclists Need to Start Fighting Back | Outside Magazine

Stories of altercations between motorists and cyclists have become so common lately that they've almost become easy to overlook. Almost.
Despite their frequency, these episodes still upset me. And ones like this recent incident in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the cyclist wasn’t just bullied but was also vilified afterwards, especially infuriate.
Chattanooga’s Times Free Press has a thorough summary of the incident, but here’s the skeleton account.
A 30-year-old Chattanooga rider, Anders Swanson, recently went for a ride on Raccoon Mountain, a road ride that is frequented by cyclists. On the way up, a Chevy truck with two teenagers inside buzzed Swanson, menaced him, and blasted an air horn. Swanson documented the incident with his camera, filed a report with the authorities, and continued on his way. Not long after, when he had finished his ride and was changing in the parking lot, the teens returned with two more friends in a different vehicle, harassed Swanson, and doused him with pepper spray before fleeing.
Swanson called the police again and filed another report. The Chattanooga police found the teens, received a confession, and were ready to press charges. But before that could happen, authorities transferred the case to another police precinct because it occurred outside Chattanooga jurisdiction. Somehow the tables suddenly turned. The police told Swanson he would be prosecuted for felonies because he posted images of the teen’s car to Facebook. The teens suddenly claimed he had assaulted them, reached in their car, banged on the bumper, and yelled profanities. Swanson went from victim to villain.

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