Many years ago, I was bombing my Zoke-Z1-equipped Klein down a trail in Ohio’s Caesar Creek park when I took a wrong turn and found myself heading towards a farmer’s field. I saw a flash, a glint, in midair fifty feet ahead of me and I jammed both brakes, coming to a heaving halt an arm’s length away from a brand-new bit of barbed wire strung across the trail, presumably at the farmer’s property line. It was at about the right elevation to catch me across the chest, but it would have caught a child at the neck.
Lacking a tool with which to cut the hazard down, I twisted up two large branches in the wire so it would be obvious to the less attentive then went on my way, my general contempt for man’s inhumanity to cyclist freshly reinforced. When I quit racing bikes and started focusing on cars, I figured I’d never see anything like that again. It would appear I was wrong.
The concept of booby-trapping or attacking random motorists is far from new; it’s been around as long as the car itself and will likely remain well into the future — but the nature and frequency of such incidents offers some insight into how motorists are viewed by the general public. The current recession has put a lot of people on foot. If (let’s not kid ourselves… as) that situation continues, it won’t be long before some genuine populist aggression starts to stir, however passively it might manifest itself.
Of course, where there’s a populist will, there’s a capitalist way. Perhaps BMW will bring the “wire-cutter” Roundel into production:
In the meantime — eyes up, and watch the behavior of cars ahead of you. But you’re doing that anyway, right?