Did Bicyclists Retaliate Against Careless Motorist?
NORTH BEACH, Md. - A Calvert County motorist told local police that on Saturday, Jan. 6, he was surrounded by a group of bicyclists, one of whom allegedly punched him in the face and dented his car. The incident reportedly happened near Md. Route 261 (Bay Ave.) and 5th street in North Beach.
The unidentified man told DFC James Wahlgren, of the Calvert County Sheriff's Department, that at around 11:52 on the morning of Jan. 6, he was driving home along Md. Rt. 261 and observed a large group of bicyclists ahead of him. The man said he turned onto 5th Street when he noticed that a portion of the group of cyclists in front of him had stopped and that another group of them had surrounded his car and were yelling. He advised police that one of the bicyclists then reached through the open window of his car and punched him in the face.
The man also told police that the same bicyclist then put a gouge in his vehicle using the handlebars of the bicycle. The damage to the vehicle is estimated at $600.
According to the witness, the entire group of bicyclists then rode off heading toward Anne Arundel County.
The police report makes no mention of the victim providing an explanation for any action on his part that may have provoked the incident. Police say they were unable to get the cyclists' side of the story since they left the scene and could not be located later.
Local cyclists tell us that it is not uncommon for motorists to interact with bicyclists on the local roadways in an unsafe mannerwhether it is intentional or merely a demonstration of poor driving skills. Cyclists also report that they are often harassed by some motorists who will come up behind them and scream in attempt to spook or insult them. Some motorists even go as far as throwing objects.
In Maryland, the bicycle is classified as a vehicle with all of the same rights, requirements, and restrictions as a motor vehicle. Bicycles are only prohibited on public roadways as follows:
* Roads where the posted speed limits are greater than 50 mph (riding on the shoulder of the roadway is permitted);
* Expressways or other roadways where bicycles are prohibited;
* The travel lanes of roads where there is a smooth shoulder or bicycle lane (except to make left turns or to avoid debris in the shoulder space).