Well, this is certainly an interesting situation. When an Audi A7 decided to snag some of the empty space in a “bike box” at a central London intersection, a couple of cyclists decided to give the driver of that Audi some forthright feedback. Naturally, the situation escalated.
The video is fairly easy to follow: cyclists get outraged, they chase down the Audi, they engage in typical “Critical Mass” behavior. This sort of stuff happens all the time in cities and your humble author is slightly abashed to admit that twenty years or so he was probably responsible for some of it himself, as a Super-class BMX racer who rode in a lot of cities alone and with groups of similar knuckleheads. When there are multiple cyclists involved, it’s bullying, plain and simple.
This time, however, the script was rewritten when a passenger hops out of the Audi and drills the offending (or offended, depending on your perspective) biker with a left hook. This significantly dampens the righteous ardor of said cyclist and he makes the proverbial right on red out of the situation. According to the Daily Mail, the London Metropolitan Police state they are ready to prosecute, but they have not been contacted by the cyclist.
It’s at that point that my eyebrows raise a little bit here. Precisely what prosecution do they have in mind? Are they thinking that they would prosecute for the offense of “entering the box”? They have evidence for it now. Are they thinking they would prosecute the cyclist for harassing the passenger and/or driver? Surely, even in Cool Britannia one has the right to drive down the street without being screamed at in a threatening fashion by black-clad anonymous bikers. Sadly, I suspect it’s the actual punch for which they’d be willing to prosecute. Which makes the London Metropolitan Police no better at unraveling a crime/punishment situation than my fourth-grade Catholic-school teacher, who would frequently punish me for finishing a situation started by another student. I never got the knack of doing that stuff when her back was turned.
I have very little issue placing the blame for the confrontation on the cyclist. Yeah, the Audi driver was in the box. No, he wasn’t impeding or threatening any bikers. To the contrary, he wanted to get around them and out of their way. He didn’t want to drive down the road behind a clump of road-hogging bikes. This is a legitimate if perhaps intemperate goal. This brought out the “anti-cager” in a cyclist who then decided to make it personal. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that this approach has worked for that cyclist many times before, perhaps when applied to frightened mothers, young people, the elderly, and the non-aggressive. Whenever you see someone acting in a hyper-aggressive manner in public, it’s usually safe to assume that this is not their first time doing so.
Unfortunately, this time the passenger called his bluff. Oops! Were your humble author in charge of the Metropolitan Police, I’d cite the driver for breaking the box. Then I’d file charges for assault against the cyclist and passenger and offer to drop them together or not at all. What would the B&B do?