Aggressive cyclists attacking motorists, pedestrians

by: Deborah Horne Updated:


Dan McConnell met us where he had a violent encounter with a bicyclist last August. The assault loosened some of his teeth.

"It happened in the center lane. I split both of my lips," said McConnell. "And my face was swollen."

He and the cyclist were trying to negotiate a narrow street near the Seattle Center.

But the cyclist followed McConnell and rode up to him as he waited for the light.

"I had my window down," McConnell said. "He looked at me and said, 'How dare you?' Which I didn't understand what he was meaning by that and just (he) slugged me in the face."

And the problems is not only in Seattle.

"It's just my elbow here and I'm sure that's where I struck the pavement."

William McCallum was walking on a sidewalk in Bellingham when a cyclist slammed into him.

"And he got, I would say, approximately 50 feet from me, and my mind goes blank until I'm looking up and seeing a woman over me, saying that she is a nurse and I'm not to move."

Despite the photo that an eyewitness took at the scene, the cyclist was never caught.

"It's dangerous for us pedestrians."

Simon Banks says she risks being struck every time she tries to cross busy Dexter Street.

"It's very dangerous through here," Banks said. "... the traffic is all backed up and the bicyclists come flying down."

"They don't stop for the crosswalk. Most of them just blow right through."

While working on this story KIRO 7 reporters experienced it, too.

Deborah Horne: "So Dexter is probably a good example of the conflict that -- I'm sorry that bike was coming so fast, I wasn't sure he was going to stop."

So what's going on?

"I think that there's a misunderstanding of what people do as cyclists." We posed the question to Chris McFarlane. We met him on his daily bike commute from Wallingford to Seattle's SODO neighborhood.

"It's not easy to maintain a slow speed, going down a hill," said McFarlane.

But what about cyclists who fly into a rage?

"It's different on a bike because you're vulnerable," he said. "And a lot of times people aren't considerate to you, so you develop a disdain towards (drivers), or shorter fuse, I think, towards people making mistakes."

We see plenty of cyclists making mistakes - and worse, breaking the law. Watch this guy bike right through a red light.

And we are likely to see more in the future: Seattle is halfway through a 10-year master bike plan to get more of residents on two wheels.

"Our goal was to triple the amount of cyclists on Seattle streets and reduce collisions by a third," said Rick Sheridan, a spokesman for Seattle's Department of Transportation.

He says everyone else on city streets has to learn to share.

"If they're in a motor vehicle travel lane, they have as much right to that space as a driver or a truck," said Sheridan. "So when a driver sees a cyclist on a city street that cyclist has a right to be there."

The cyclist who attacked Dan McConnell is still on the loose.

"The last I saw of him he was like riding up this hill," McConnell said.

He thinks bicyclists should be licensed like drivers.

"(Then) we could probably track him down and find him," he said. "This kind of behavior shouldn't be tolerated on our streets."