Sadly, I suspect there are thousands of motorists who feel the same way as Mr. Maddox. We encounter at least one on almost every ride… you know, the motorist who either rolls down the window and gives you a piece of their mind, the one that “buzzes” you far too close for comfort or goes wide-open-throttle as they pass to demonstrate their ire for impeding their travel by 5 to 10 seconds.
As a follow-up, based on the composite video going viral and social media-generated complaints to local authorities, Mr. Maddox was arrested by the Calhoun County Sheriff’s office on 22 May and charged with reckless endangerment.
To his credit, he also offered an apology which — quite frankly — I suspect is sincere. There’s just something about cyclists that seem to bring out the worst in motorists who are otherwise good people. Full details in the local Anniston, Alabama newspaper.
Editorial: At the end of the day, buried in our psyche is a “might makes right” that is probably innate in every living thing with a brain. Much like any weapon, when you place a person in control of a a device that gives them great power over smaller and more vulnerable people they can succumb to that power and do things they’d never do otherwise. The bigger the vehicle or more powerful the weapon, the stronger that feeling seems to be. I’m not sure there’s a “fix” for that, other than relentless legal enforcement and application of meaningful penalties that motorists feel put them at risk of the loss of personal freedom (pull their license or incarcerate them ) or wealth (impose significant fines or forfeit the vehicle used to commit the crime). Sadly, neither of those things seem to be used even when motorists kill cyclists by failing to do their most basic duty as a motorist: don’t hit people or things!