Dear PoPville – Please Help Us ID the Man Who Punched My Husband and Broke His Jaw

Photo by PoPville flickr user thisisbossi

Dear PoPville,

Pleas help us find the guy that broke his jaw yesterday. We are looking for a reliable witness.

My dude is a teacher and was riding home from work yesterday around 3:30 on a Capital Bikeshare bike. He was around Colombia Road and Mozart Place, NW when an SUV pulled abruptly into the bike lane, nearly hitting my husband. As he negotiated around the SUV he thumped the side of the vehicle with his hand (doing no damage) to let the driver know he was there. The driver aggressively followed him in the bike lane for a short distance and then stopped the car and got out.

Words were exchanged but my husband never thought it would escalate and kept his hands on the handlebars of the bike. With no real provocation, the driver punched him in the face, knocking him down. He then threw the bike out of the way of his SUV and drove off. My husband and a guy in another vehicle chased the driver but didn’t manage to get a license plate number. If we could get just the license number and a witness that saw the attack, it could really help the police find this guy.

My husband has to have surgery tomorrow to put a plate in his face to secure his broken jaw. I think that no matter where you stand on the bike/car issue, that’s an insane price to pay for touching someone’s vehicle.

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177 Comment

  • i really hate people sometimes.

  • I’m very sorry to hear about this. As a pedestrian, I’ve tapped people’s cars to let them know they’ve almost hit me. I guess I’m lucky I haven’t had this happen (yet). I hope your husband has a speedy recovery and that you are able to catch the asshole who did this.

  • I have a bad feeling about where these comments are going to go…

    Hope the surgery and the recovery goes well, and that you find the jackass.

  • Sorry to hear that.

    Did you guys call the cops?? Have you tried knocking on the various buildings to see if they have surveillance footage??

    Best of luck to your husband. I hope he has a speedy recovery.

  • This is why I would never slap someone’s car. Obviously the guy didn’t deserve to have his jaw broken over it (and I sincerely wish him the best with his recovery) but from the driver’s perspective the car slap is a really obnoxious thing to do. If you decide to do it anyway, be prepared to get a less-than-pleased reaction out of it. It’s completely unecessary and could provoke a violent reaction if you do it to the wrong person.

    • I used to run XC and Track in HS and college. Many times cars would come close to hitting us or running us over. MAny times folks tapped on the vehicle to let them know they almost hit someone…a few times people angrily would stop the car and get out, follow us, yell at us, etc. I used to carry a rock or two. If someone seemed to intentionally try to hit me I would just through the rock at their window and keep going…works better because then they can’t come after you.

      • throw *

      • Let me get this straight. Someone is deliberately aggressively driving around you and your solution is to put a rock through one of their windows?

      • I’m calling BS on this one. No one running XC is going to carry around a heavy rock in their Umbros.

      • Or you could just keep your hands off people’s cars and not worry about possibly provoking an argument. No, that is not an excuse for the guy getting punched in the jaw, but its hard to have sympathy for someone that started it. I doubt people are driving around intentionally trying to hit bikers or pedestrians. Sometimes you just didnt see them. It has happend to me before and you feel awful. No need for the extra agression through the car slap.

    • Bikes don’t have horns. Bells don’t cut it. tapping on someone’s car hood is what gets attention like a horn.

      If you’re in car and someone taps your car, that means you nearly hit them – which means you came close to severely injuring or even killing them.

      • Not necessarily. The one time I my car was slapped I was stationary at a red light. And how is the car slap supposed to alert someone AFTER the fact? Let’s not make this out to be some lifesaving tool. It’s an angry reaction, and nothing else.

  • Speedy recovery to your husband.

    You may want to check with local businesses on the “escape” path to see if any have video surveillance etc of the road etc. Check the area for MPD crime cameras as well.

    Good luck

  • Oh, so sorry to hear about this incident. You really never know how someone’s going to respond. I think this is especially true today. Godspeed.

  • All the more reason bike lanes and car lanes should be separate. I’m glad DC was picked for the “Bikes Belong’s Green Lane Project.”

    Let’s face it – cyclists AND drivers can both be assholes. The less they interact – the less situations like this would happen.

    Regardless – assault is not a response to something like this. I hope you guys find out who did it.

    • Agree completely, Ben. As a daily cyclist, so many close calls/cutoffs would be prevented with separate bike lanes.

      And I bet this guy has a MD plate. Just saying.

  • This is why I’ve stopped slapping or kicking cars and stopped using my middle finger. There are too many crazy people out there ready to break some one’s jaw over a little thing. I’m still thankful for the time a pulled out of my alley and hit someone’s Mercedes and he didn’t get mad and charged me only a portion of the repair saying “it’s a city car and it was bound to get dinged sometime.” Speedy recovery, I ride and drive in that area often and it can get crazy.

    • Same here. I use to slap cars, but you never know how they’ll respond. I usually yell something non-insulting, like “hey, wake up.”

      • I am sorry to hear this happened. I had a similar experience with a car that nearly ran me over as I was rightfully crossing the street. I slapped the side of the car and yelled, “what the fuck!!?” the driver pulled a wild u turn in the middle of 14th and started slowly following me down a one way street and right before he parked the car to confront me, I walked in the other direction and jumped into Yes Organic for safe refuge. My ego was a bit damaged but you honestly dont know how people will react. I wouldnt have been surprised if dude had a gun. It just isnt worth it to me. Still frustrating as hell.

        • No matter how frustrating situations like this are, isn’t it better to be safe than right (and make your point about being right).

  • +1 to what Anonymous 1:28 p.m.

    Slapping/tapping/”touching” someone’s car is only going to up the ante and inflame the situation. (This in NO WAY justifies that driver’s response, which was WAY out of proportion to the offense.)

    There are too many hot-tempered people out there. Just because you’re in the right doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile to risk angering someone who might assault or shoot you.

    And Idaho Ave., for shame! Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    • … to what Anonymous 1:28 p.m. *said.*

    • Right. And even if the driver were a calm person who realized they made a mistake, the car slap is not going to make them empathize with the biker. I’ve been in the driver’s situation before– the realization that I almost hit someone was nerve-wracking enough, and the sudden unexpected THUD applied to the side of my car nearly gave me a heart attack. It was really not needed.

      Immature reactions from bikers are the reason so many drivers hate them. It’s like when one dog owner doesn’t pick up their poop and it makes all the dog owners collectively look bad– don’t be the biker that gives the rest of us a bad reputation.

      • For a minute pretend that he had been walking and not biking. Do you still feel that he shouldn’t do anything (mature or otherwise) to signal to the driver that it’s not cool to almost hit him?

        I walk, bike, drive, and take the bus on a regular basis, so I like to believe that I have a somewhat nuanced perspective on this. I find that when I walk or drive and somebody in a car cuts me off accidentally, they give a little apology wave or something. I have never once gotten an acknowledgement of wrongdoing by someone while I was on a bike. Yes, many bikers are completely obnoxious/dangerous/irresponsible. I hate them as much as you do. But I do think that the intolerance for bikers who do not fit these categories is just a little much here.

        • Yes, I would feel the same way if it were a pedestrian. If the driver really did come close to almost hitting someone, they should already be aware of it and not require a “signal.”

          • On the contrary, often the reason they almost hit you is because they didn’t see you there in the first place. If you don’t do anything, they may never know anything happened.

          • Doubt it, but it you have reason to believe they are completely obvious and didn’t see you at all (say if they were texting while driving), just tap on their window and say something like “I hate to give lectures, but…”

          • Doubt it, but it you have reason to believe they are completely oblivious and didn’t see you at all (say if they were texting while driving), just motion for them to roll down their window and say something like “I hate to give lectures, but…”

          • sure, they SHOULD be aware of it, but they often aren’t. what they also often are not aware of how it’s NOT COOL to drive within a foot of a pedestrian. you are threatening my life when you do that and yes, I will slap you.

      • See post above.

        You did NOT “nearly have a heart attack”; the biker DID nearly get run over by a car.

        Car and bike “collisions” are not equal collisions any more than car and trains collisions are… this is basic physics.

        • I’m just saying, what does this response from the biker actually accomplish? Other than making the biker look angry and childish? I just don’t see the point and I think it makes the rest of us on bikes look bad.

          • what is accomplishes is that it upsets you. and you should know that you upset the biker/ped when you ALMOST KILLED THEM. you should be upset when you almost hit someone, I don’t care if I crank that up a notch.

          • Startling/upsetting people while they’re driving is not a good idea.

            Even a driver who might otherwise feel sympathetic and feel bad is instead going to feel annoyed.

          • Let’s stop this nonsense about the driver being “startled,” or “upset.” the driver was a maniac, a violent vigilante, and basically an asshole. I hope the next biker he almost hits puts a u lock through his face if he gets out of the car again to assault someone.

          • PDleftMtP

            You really don’t get it, do you? Your sense of entitled righteousness is not going to protect you in a fight. That’s not how fights work.

        • I’m not sure what your point is. I think it would be MUCH worse to be the driver that hits a biker than to be the biker that gets hit. Injuries can heal, but the guilty of having hurt someone would be unbearable.

          • Well, it depends on the person of course. Maybe you don’t have much compassion and would rather be the person behind the wheel than the one with the injuries… but I certainly would not.

          • Yep I can see your point. Especially if it’s the biker that initiated the collision by riding irresponsibly. Sure, bikers (I’m one) are far more likely to be seriously physically harmed in an accident, but this doesn’t mean that all drivers in these accidents don’t feel incredible guilt over hitting someone, I’m sure the vast majority do.

          • Wow, yeah, let’s all feel sorry for the drivers who hit those dumb bikers. Especially when they kill them – how horrible for the drivers and their families! It serves the bikers right for making the drivers feel so bad!

    • me

      @Anon @1:37, I agree with everything you said 100%. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • I hope your husband gets a speedy recovery. It’s really sad that some people are so down on themselves and the direction their lives are going that they would resort to violence.

  • What did the guy look like? What kind of SUV was it? Where did it go when it was being chased (up columbia? down 16th?)?

  • I wonder if this is the same A-hole that I had a run-in with a few weeks ago in Chinatown. I was crossing the street and he nearly took a right turn into me. I smacked his car and kept walking, but he pulled over, got out, and started yelling profanities at me from across the street. I responded that pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk and ducked into Matchbox to pick up the pizza I had ordered, but he was still there yelling at me when I came out. I get the sense that if I had been a guy (and not a 20-something girl) he would have had no problem punching me.

    • Probably not. And I’m guessing you’ve never driven in Chinatown! I’m willing to give people a break there because it’s such a chaotic area. I once got stuck partially blocking an intersection, and a drunk guy slapped my car in response. Really? Sometimes things like that happen. It’s not like I intentionally pulled into the intersection just for the pleasure of watching him stumble around my car.

      • I hate to be that person, but this is one of my biggest pet-peeves in DC. It is illegal to enter an intersection unless you have the time and space to clear it before the light changes. In this situation, I would have shot you a dirty look or possibly smacked your car as well. As a pedestrian in this situation, I am essentially forced to walk in traffic because you sped up through a blocked intersection to beat a light when you should be behind the crosswalk before the light instead, as is the law. It may not seem like a big deal inside a car, but you’re essentially forcing pedestrians to walk in traffic and oncoming traffic to go around you to pass.

        • ” I am essentially forced to walk in traffic because you sped up through a blocked intersection to beat a light when you should be behind the crosswalk before the light instead, as is the law. ”

          Um, there are a lot of situations where a driver couldn’t make it through the intersection even though they had plenty of time. Especially in places like Chinatown where there’s a lot of traffic and a lot of pedestrians walking against the light. It happens all the time and it’s certainly not the driver’s fault! Nor does it (usually) force the pedestrians to walk into traffic.

          If you still aren’t convinced, try sitting at the 7th and H Street intersection and really observing what goes on. I’d be surprised if anyone was trying to race through the light as you claim.

          • Its quite simple: If you have a green light but don’t know whether you’ll make it through the intersection, you WAIT behind the crosswalk. If the situation resolves before the lights turns red, you proceed through the intersection. If the situation does not resolve before the light turns red, you’re first up for the next green light. This is why we have those signs all over DC that say “Don’t block the box.” Just don’t block the box, and you’ll never have a problem. Very simple. In those exceedingly rare instances where you enter an intersection and a situation arises after you have passed the crosswalk, then you may be justified in blocking the box. In any other situation, there really isn’t a rational reason for blocking an intersection.

          • The explaination was unecessary, but thanks for taking the time to provide it. I was, in fact, referring to those “exceedingly rare” instances where you enter an intersection and a situation arises after you have passed the crosswalk. This is actually not that rare at an intersection like 7th and H Street NW, where you have to creep up to the edge of the intersection to make sure it’s clear, and then slowly make your way across while keeping an eye out for stray pedestrians and vehicles. You can’t just cross over the crosswalk and shoot through the intersection, usually. Then if a pedestrian darts in front of you, or a car in the other lane turns without signaling, you could very well be stuck there until the next light. And chances are the car behind you did not leave enough space for you to back up.

          • I have to call BS on JPG comments. What he/she is describing is a fantasy world where everyone, cars, cyclists, pedestrians, etc., understand and obey the traffic laws. If I waited behind the crosswalk during a green light until the intersection was 100% clear there are places downtown where I would never be able to enter the intersection and end up sitting at the light forever. Have you ever tried driving on Mass Ave during rush hour? I don’t know if the lights are just poorly timed, buses are blocking two lanes when stopped or what but a lot of times cars making turns onto Mass Ave enter and sit in the intersection to ensure they can make it through once the traffic clears.

            Honestly I would be happy to obey the law to the letter if everyone else did as well. Blocking the box is a necessity in this city because you can’t expect to get anywhere during rush hour if you don’t do it and often if you don’t deliberately break the law and enter the intersection you end up getting flipped off or honked at by the people behind you. I’ve even had someone come up and tap my bumper with theirs while waiting behind the crosswalk during a green light.

    • I saw the exact same thing happen at 15th and L a few weeks ago. An SUV turning left almost hit a pedestrian (who had the right of way), who then yelled “watch out!” and slapped the car. The driver–who, I should add, was a middle-aged white dude in a suit–stopped the car in the middle of the intersection, blocking all traffic, and flipped out on the pedestrian. The driver was in a fighting stance and threatening the pedestrian, and if hadn’t been for the fact that eveyr driver was honking for them to get out of the way, there would definitely have been a physical fight.

      What. The. F.

  • Carry pepper spray, seriously. I keep it in my satchel in case someone does try to get out of their car after an event like this. I’ve had to use it on stray, aggressive dogs twice. As for cameras, try these websites:

    and good luck on the buildings in the area.

    • This. Every day, everywhere.

    • Allison

      +1 to Pepper spray. Also, remember to purchase new pepper spray every two years, as the container will decompress over time. Don’t want to get caught in a bad situation with nothing but orange dribble on your hand!

    • I bet an airhorn would work well as a weapon. Although you would have to get it close enough to the face or ears for it to really do any damage.

  • Allison

    Wishing you and your husband a full recovery and swift justice.

  • why does part of the population think that bike lanes are their private parking spaces?

    • As a driver this one bugs me. As well as the people who use bike lanes as right turn only lanes.

      • Just a note to say that if a car is turning right and there’s a bike lane, the proper place for the car to be is in the bike lane. This prevents a biker from being right hooked. It’s also the law, you’re supposed to move all the way to the right-most lane to make a right turn and the bike lane counts in this case. It’s why the bike lanes are dotted instead of solid at intersections.

  • White, black, whatever. He still didn’t deserve to have his jaw broken.

  • I was on Columbia and 17th NW yesterday afternoon and saw a dark blue ford excursion traveling at a high rate of speed/erratically south on 17th from westbound columbia. Shortly after a police car sped by eastbound on Columbia. Any relation? If so there is a MPD camera at 17th and Kalorama but I doubt it would do you any good.

  • I’ve had numerous issues with a “gentleman” in an SUV while on my bike in the ColHi neighborhood and my 14th Street commute route. A colleague also got pushed out into the middle of 12th St for a similar love tap by the same guy about 2 months ago.

    If the OP can provide any additional info about the SUV (color, make, model) or the driver it would be a huge help. I would not be shocked if it was the same guy…who’s license plate # I have

    • It was a black Cadillac. He says the guy was in his 20’s with a young woman in the car as well.

    • I know this is off topic but I must say that I just shuddered when I saw someone say “ColHi” in reference to Columbia Heights. Can we PLEASE not let this name stick… its really obnoxious. Just say “Columbia Heights,” we don’t need to reduce every neighborhood to two syllables. The reason names like NoMa and SoHo make sense is because they’re abbreviations for long phrases which don’t sound like the name of a neighborhood (“North of Massachusetts Ave” and “South of Houston Street”). Columbia Heights does not have a confusing or long name, so lets just keep calling it Columbia Heights.

      • Never gonna happen. The renaming of existing neighborhoods seems to be a millenial obsession.

        It irks me to read AdMo… but they’ll keep calling it that. You are not talking to people who care.

        • Add DMV and CaBi (why not just call it Bikeshare?! ahhhhh) to the list for me

          • Unfortunately dumb as it may be, Carpital Bikeshare themselves use the term CaBi. But CoHi or it’s variants really take the cake as far as making the user sound like a dork. It’s generally people who are new in town and trying to sound hip that talk like that.

      • Seriously? If this is your biggest problem of the day, you are one lucky, lucky person.

    • Any chance you’re thinking of an asshole in a gold SUV? I got hit in Dupont awhile back as a pedestrian, crossing legally and in the crosswalk. After he hit me, he stopped his car, started screaming at me, and then drove off. I was fine but I’m still furious every time I think about it.

  • really sorry about what happened to your dude, hope he’s got adequate insurance to cover the costs of his surgery and has a quick recovery…. i’m sure you’ll nurse him back with some great smoothies

  • Do unto others. If you inconvenience or scare a biker/pedestrian/driver while walking/on a bike/in a car, give a quick wave in apology. If you’re the biker/driver/pedestrian that’s been inconvenienced or nearly hit, acknowledge that people make poor judgement calls and don’t always see everything– especially when they’re sharing urban streets with other drivers/bikers/pedestrians. Move on with your life and don’t get angry.

  • gotryit

    Learn how to fight too. Some people are just crazy, and it can give you a leg up.

  • sunsquashed

    It’s a good idea to carry a conveniently located bike lock when city cycling. I had a similar situation in NYC: driver got out, threatened me with physical violence. At the time, I was carrying a NY chain lock (~10lbs of metal around my waist). All I had to do was unlock the chain-lock and look like I would use it if he rushed me. Once he saw the chain-lock, he backed off. I know that you don’t need a lock when using CaBi, but think about carrying some backup when biking.
    On a less violent and hopefully more constructive note…. The entire stretch of 14th around DCUSA is a cyclist death trap. The bike lanes are always clogged with double parked cars, drivers constantly speed through the area, run red lights, and make illegal U-turns, etc.. I’ve made formal complaints to the police and the parking enforcement division, as well as asked officers in person to do something about dangerous conditions. As far as I can tell, nothing has been done. I realize the police have a lot of crime on their hands, but more people die in car crashes every year than are murdered/victims of violence. What can we (i.e. pedestrians, cyclists, drivers who are respectful of other people) do to make this area safer? I’m seriously thinking about moving out of ColHi (or at least a different part of ColHi) just so I don’t have to be near DCUSA.

  • I love it how the race of the jaw breaker wasn’t listed… Possibly because he wasn’t black?

    • don’t race bait please.

    • I think you’ll find on this blog that if it’s not listed it’s because he IS black and people don’t want to seem like they’re bringing race into the situation.

  • A biker tapping – or even pounding with frustration – on a car that almost hits them isn’t (just) an aggressive response. It’s a wake up call to the driver that next time, they may not be so lucky and may actually kill someone.

    • But it’s still an aggressive response. And it makes an angry driver angrier, and is likely to make even a chilled driver slightly angry.

      • Thank you!

      • No, it’s often a self-defense response. I think it’s small beans compared to threatening someone’s life with your vehicle. Jerks drive around like they are entitled to behave however they want, they need to know pedestrians/bikers do not find their behavior acceptable. If you drive and find that people keep slapping your cars, you should come to the conclusion you’re a shitty driver and try to change.

  • PDleftMtP

    PSA here. It’s obvious that there are a lot of people here who have not spent a lot of time in potentially unsafe environments. If you escalate a confrontation, you are risking serious injury. I doubt that any of the Internet warriors posting on this blog is among the toughest people in the city, and I guarandamntee none of them is bulletproof.

    This is not who’s right and who’s wrong, or whose fault it is. It’s the aggresor’s fault, clearly. But that doesn’t make the person who got hurt any less hurt. Where I grew up, talking smack at the wrong time could get you shot, in which case you need to decide whether being righteous and dead is a good tradeoff. If you have to defend yourself against someone who’s coming at you, that’s one thing but don’t be foolish, and don’t make it worse. Smacking someone’s car after the fact makes you feel better, but it doesn’t do anything constructive and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

    Best wishes for the recovery of the biker, and I hope they catch the psycho.

  • Hey, thanks for your kind words everyone. It’s unfortunate that sometimes our efforts at getting along unscathed in our everyday travels fail, for whatever reason. All we can do is stay positive and be careful. When I think about others who have suffered worse damage while making their way through the city, I have to consider us lucky that this is a temporary, albeit painful, situation. It’s not the end of the world, though it is pretty lame.

  • Kinda makes you rethink the “stand your ground law” doesn’t it…

  • WTF?!!!! I am sorry this happened to your husband and hope you can get the information you need to press charges.

  • There are at least two close circuit cameras in the area, one at 14th and Columbia, and another at Kalorama Road & Champlain Street, NW, and another at 14th & Girard Street, NW. Maybe more found here:,a,1238,Q,560780,mpdcNav_GID,1545,mpdcNav,%7C31748%7C,.asp

    Contact the detective and see if they can be reviewed for the car you described based on how you pursued.

    According to this they save the data for 10 days unless it may have evidence of a crime:

    Good luck.

    • Also 17th & Euclid Streets, NW camera. If the guy drove south/west, you almost certainly have him in the camera zone. If he drove off east or north…maybe not.

  • There is no one defense system or strategy is for all occasions. Currently I use the GoPro Hero 2 hemet camera while creating a fresh documentary on “Behavior of Highway Users.” This one of the few means of “shooting” annoying persons and, baring other more harmful actions, all may live for another day to tell their story. I learned from painful experience – avoid making contact with the offenders conveyance. The individual or their buds make use lethal force on you. Generally, file a police report to document the incident and also in DC Metro area send a copy of the incident report or an email with details to After an incident vary your path between points and change your departure times after incident. May you have a short and full recovery from the incident.

  • I read all of the comments with interest (ok, mostly with interest) because I’m trying to figure out how to handle similar situations.

    I’m a pedestrian, and it is scary and frustrating when a driver almost hits me in a crosswalk – generally, they are talking on a cell, texting, or craning so intently to the left to see if traffic is clear for their right turn on red that they don’t bother to check to their right.

    I’ll admit, I get angry – and the times I’ve slapped a car, I’ve slapped it: no pretense that I only “tapped.” After a few minutes, however, I’ve regretted my action – not because I’ve done any damage to the car but because, as some commenters opined, it is in some ways an escalation that I initiate – and this is not the only story with some such violent outcome, I am sure.

    On the other hand, if I yell at drivers…either they don’t hear me because their windows are up or – you know, they aren’t paying attention anyway. I can’t imagine anyone responding if I asked them to roll down their window so we could chat – especially because they’ve usually already gone on their merry way.

    Usually, whatever my response, I get the finger or a stream of curses directed towards me. On one memorable occasion, a young woman who almost hit me yelled: “What is YOUR problem? I only forgot to stop!”

    Out of hundreds of incidents I could count on one hand the times a driver mouthed “sorry” or put up a hand in a conciliatory gesture.

    But what to do? I’ve lived in cities my whole life – it’s instinctual to me to stand up for myself, particularly when someone in a large, heavy vehicle isn’t paying attention. Yet I’m trying to curb these reactions because of the potential for this kind of outburst from a psycho/road rager/person who has had a really bad day and wants to take it out on someone else.

    But how else do I get the driver to notice that something is amiss? Or do I just need to get over it, and focus on scurrying about to stay out of the way? It just seems wrong. But maybe better safe…

    • I would really learn how to curb your responses (I say this with the best of intentions) because it’s not standing up for yourself, it’s making a point that you’re right and they are wrong – there is a difference. This is a case where I believe, “Let it go reigns supreme.” Really.

      You said that you are often a pedestrian (or even if a cyclist) – look, who’s going to win, even if said person in car doesn’t have a weapon or is bigger/stronger/angrier than you. Car v. person (car will win, it’s that simple).

      If not only for the possibility of escalating a situation, you have no idea what has gone on in other person’s life – their rage against you could be a long-formed of ills throughout the day, week, month, year or in personal life.

      • Sigh. I know you are probably right. Must keep practicing deep breathing.

      • PDleftMtP

        +1,000. Fight only if you have to, and then fight to win. Don’t if you don’t. If you’re the one who decides to take things up a notch, you can’t be sure what’s going to happen or control the consequences. This is Urban Survival 101, not King of the Playground.

      • The car is a weapon, which they used to almost kill someone not in a car. It’s a crime that must stop.

    • sunsquashed

      It sounds like you need a good “death stare.” Generally, when something like this happens, and I can make eye contact with the driver, I glare directly at them as I pass by. Usually this is accompanied by a facial expression of “are you a fucking idiot?”, “What the fuck is your problem?”, or “You could have killed me by driving like that you fucking asshole!” (depending on the circumstance). This is particularly useful when a car is blocking the crosswalk. I can’t count the number of times that cars have backed up out of the crosswalk after I’ve given them the “death stare.” I think this is a good way to make a point (in some cases) while simultaneously avoiding an aggressive response.

    • It’s weird, I never ever ever have problems with cars as a pedestrian, because I presume that they are going to be driven by distracted assholes and never assume they are going to follow traffic laws. I assume they’re going to roll through stop signs, make right turns without stopping, rush to beat lights, etc. Doing so adds just a tiny fraction to my average stroll around the city. The stupidity of people who march into crosswalks on their cell phones without even so much as looking to check for oncoming traffic, etc, is truly breathtaking.

      • Wow, thanks for stereotyping. I never talk on my phone while walking. I’m just not that clever.

  • Your husband could have totally been me, I aggressively “defend” my right of way too. I hope someone comes forward. I assume a police report was filed? Perhaps one of the cameras in the area caught something??

  • If you were driving a car, and another car cut you off or nearly hit you, would you intentionally hit that car to “send a message?” If you were riding a bike and another biker cut you off or otherwise crossed your path, would you ram him with your bike? If you were walking and someone nearly bumped into you or got in your way, would you hit or kick them? I’m assuming the default answer to all of these questions is “no,” so why should that answer change when the mode of transportation is mixed?

    • Yes, what’s the difference in a two-ton weapon directly hitting a person or hitting another car? None at all.

      • Yup, like I said, the answer should be “no” no matter the combination.

        • So a person will be killed from the impact of a car hitting another car? No, they will be killed by other circumstances resulting from the impact, but not from the impact itself. A pedestrian will be killed by the impact itself.

      • PDleftMtP

        Looks to me as if the difference is that the post doesn’t suggest hitting a person with a car.

    • No, but you would certainly lay on your horn to let them know you are there, right? When you’re on a bike there’s no good equivalent so I understand why bikers may slap the side of the car to let you know they’re there – i think most drivers who almost hit bikers by drifting into the bike lane do so because they’re already distracted, and probably haven’t noticed them at all.

  • I often smack/tap the side of a car that is cruising with one wheel in the bike lane with plenty of room on the other side. It is intended to let them know they need to drive in their lane, just I would honk if I were driving and another car were drifting into my lane.
    But drivers don’t like it. You just touched their CAR. Confrontation is valued over turning the other cheek in our society. And they feel powerful because they’re in a car and you’re some schmo on a bike. The bully syndrome kicks in.

    • In your example, shouldn’t YOU have “turned the other cheek” by not hitting the person’s car?

      • No, because “turning the other cheek” could result in being run over and killed, while tapping on someone’s car does nothing to the precious hunk of metal. Your logic equalizing person versus vehicle is astounding.

        • Because the car’s wheel is in “your” lane? Seriously? If he/she is weaving in or out, I can totally understand. Otherwise, you’re just asking for a confrontation.

          And for the record, how is the driver supposed to know the difference between you “tapping” their car (must be pretty hard if they can hear it in the first place) vs you hitting it with your handlebars or something?

  • damn, that’s horrible. i hope your husband heals quickly.

  • If DC would allow concealed carry, people would be much less likely to think it’s a good idea to start a violent confrontation. Right now, the asshole driver knows the guy on the bike doesn’t have a gun, so he has no hesitation in getting out of his car and breaking the guy’s jaw.

    First response mentioning Zimmerman/Martin wins a t-shirt.

    • I was just waiting for someone to mention the “concealed carry gun law.” Congratulations – you win. This will solve everything.

    • PDleftMtP

      Yes, if only the driver who became irrationally enraged and assaulted the cyclist had had a gun. That would have made it much better.

    • Yeah, like flying bullets in a densely populated urban environment would’ve made things better. Idiot.

  • Well, I’ll add my two cents here.

    Of course no one should ever get assaulted, BUT:

    If an angry person gets out of their car to confront and you are on a bike, bike away. Who cares who is right they are retarded anyway.

    Simple as that.

  • So, I have a genuine question.

    I understand the arguments on both sides here. But, as a frequent pedestrian and cyclist, how do I assure my safety (without being perceived as an aggressor) when so often cars come deathly close to hitting me?

    I am a very petite girl, I wear a helmet and I try to follow all of the bicycle laws, but I have been nearly hit before, and I know that if I were hit I would be severely injured, if not killed. It seems to me that it is unfair that the law-abiding (I know not all are law-abiding, but please indulge me) pedestrians and bicyclists would have to just “suck it up,” if you will, when they just barely avoided what would have been a life-threatening accident.

    A number of forum members probably disagree, but I think it is in the best interest of both parties that the driver who does nearly severely injure a person know that they nearly hit the pedestrian or cyclist; a near-miss could have easily been a tragic collision. I think this is a matter of safety not only for the bicyclist/pedestrian, but the vehicle as well—nobody wants to be in an accident.

    So, how do I let a car know that what he/she was doing is unsafe without being seen as an aggressor? I do not expect DC law enforcement to be any help in these matters. A car has a horn that can be used to alert other drivers, but bikes and pedestrians don’t have anything. All I want is to commute safely, but if I cannot honk with a loud enough horn, if I cannot talk to the driver calmly and directly, if I cannot count on law enforcement to penalize drivers when they are being very unsafe (e.g., turning into pedestrians on the crosswalk or diving half-way into the bike lane during rush hour), is there ANYTHING at all that I can do?

    • Honestly, I think you can be a careful commuter. Even if you follow all the rules to a T and dot your i’s, I still think you need to be extra alert and do your best to anticipate sudden or non-thinking actions. Here’s an example, if I see a yellow light for cars and I am waiting to cross (my light is red but about to turn green based on the perpendicular light being yellow), I will wait because I assume if a car comes out of nowhere, they will try to speed through to make it before it turns red or they will think it’s okay because it’s just “a little bit” red. If I see a driver on the phone, I’ll try to anticipate and assume that the driver is not paying attention to the road and be more cautious around that vehicle. I know that this puts an additional burden on you but, in the end, I think it’s worth it. People always say driving is second-nature and I think that that’s something that is taken for granted because if it’s second-nature, surely it won’t hurt if I’m gabbing on the phone, too. That can be dangerous thinking. Even if you’ve done this several times “successfully” all it takes is for one time for it not to be successful where you can bring serious damage to yourself, someone else or to all parties.

      • Exactly. I bike to work every day, during rush hour. I’m a petite girl as well (if that even makes any difference). I have never come close to being hit by a car, ever! I think this is because I bike the way I drive– with extreme caution.

    • How about cyclists and pedestrians carry small cans of spray paint – let’s say bright orange for the cyclists and bright green for pedestrians. If a car nearly hits you, just give it a quick spray. Then, when they find the paint marks, they can realize, “gee, I almost hit three people today.”

  • Dust the bike for prints. Make MPD work for your tax money.

  • You really have to look both sides before you cross any street anywhere, even when you have the WALK sign. There are many drivers who don’t bother to give your right of way and just make a right turn on top of you or if you are lucky in front of you. I prefer they drive in front of me so I make sure that they see me, I see, them, and if I sense they aren’t going to stop I let them go. If one cuts me off I just raise my hands and say come on’ and keep walking. That never prompted a bad reaction from the driver, I still make it home safe.

  • As someone who has smacked a few cars myself, and then regretted it, I have to say it’s a stupid response which is about nothing other than channeling anger. Drivers don’t learn lessons from that type of thing, they just get angry, and are likely to take their anger out on the next biker or pedestrian they see if not you. A better reaction is a stare, or words (non profane) — people feel very uncomfortable when they’re called out of the anonymity they think their car affords, and a lesson is more likely to be given that way.

  • I used to, on a very regular basis, get extremely upset with drivers making careless mistakes and not paying attention to the road. However, I have learned over the years that instead of getting upset and confronting the situation it is best to give a thumbs up. Giving the finger is almost expected when a driver is a fault or someone is purposefully being an asshole on the road. BUT giving a thumbs up is mocking their stupidity and frankly, it’s pretty funny.

  • I’m sorry but your husband was WRONG for hitting someones car damage or not….He was cut off, something that’s been happening to drivers, peds, bikers since the dawn of time. The only time it should be an issue is only when a real accident does occur, plus once your cut off you forget about it 30 seconds later…..STOP BEING SO ENTITLED!

    • Right and wrong are relative values dependent on the perspective of the speaker-writer. I found that generally it is TRUE that if the victim takes overt action the abuser will likely respond with equal or greater force including a assembling posse of their buds to watch for and attack you and even harm those near and dear to you. Based on the facts included in the responses – others have had like experiences. I suggest if one is a victim in a road incident:
      1. Do not strike at the offending parties, do not strike them or their vehicle
      2. Do not pursue the offender(s)
      3. Memorize or document details of the incident
      4. File a police report – if for no other reason than to create incident statistics
      5. If a bicycle is involved in the incident then persons witness to the event (victim included) may email or send a report of your observations also to or other interested organizations.
      6. Train yourself to be observant and document your observations then when an incident occurs you may be a more accurate witness
      7. By documenting incidents and sharing the information with others there is a improved possibility that analysis of multi-incidents may police and interested parties to work with the police to aid them in selective enforcement that is based on the details of time, location and other details from the collective incident reports.
      8. The police are trained and authorized to question, arrest or use reasonable force when challenging persons they observe violating laws or persons who are a threat to themselves or others.
      9. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, “Orange Hats – safety patrols” and other neighborhood organizations may aid by simply observing and reporting incidents and high conflict intersections or areas.
      10. If you are not member of authorized law enforcement then do not engage in an incident. Call 9-1-1 and or file a police report.
      11. If you find that your police reports get “lost or down graded” send future copies to your A.N.C. Commissioner or organizations who will record then generate analysis reports based on individual incident reports.

    • Euclid, what would be the proper response if someone bumped into your vehicle by accident? Shooting them? I mean it seems like you have an escalation quotient. Touch a vehicle that cuts you off, driver entitled to punch you. Run into a vehicle that cuts you off, driver entitled to knife you? What’s the rest of this tale.

      Road rage isn’t acceptable in any situation–with another driver, with a cyclist or with a pedestrian. There are laws about touching vehicles as well as punching people. Choosing to enforce your own justice has never been recognized by courts of law as valid, especially not when it’s physicially-damaging a human over perceived property damage.

    • Yeah everyone, make sure that you only tap someone’s car once you’ve been injured or killed.

  • When on my bike, I often just yell “ayo!” to let drivers veering near me know that I am there.

    A word to the wise to all my biking pals and urbanites generally: when someone hops out of a vehicle to confront you, the odds of a physical confrontation is HIGH. Most people who only want to talk stay INSIDE their vehicles. Thus, when someone hops out a vehicle, do your best to DE-ESCALATE the situation, including keeping your tone calm. Yes, I know it may seem like a “burden” to have to be the peacekeeper when someone else is clearly trying to *escalate* a situation, but unless you *also* want to be in a fight, de-escalation becomes the best possible course. Naturally, I advise against being in the “also” column (e.g. trying to fistfight as an adult). I’ve certainly had my share of situations where I did not follow this advice. Things always ended well, but could easily have not ended so well.

  • Maybe PoP should start a driver “wall of shame”. We can all send in camera phone photos of the jerks who play it fast and loose on the road.

  • A lot of this focus on how he responded to an aggressive driver (slapping the car) reminds me of the debate you often hear about whether or not a rape victim’s clothes were slutty or not. Completely irrelevant.

    • Wearing slutty clothes and hitting someone’s property have nothing in common with each other. Analogy fail.

  • All of this can be solved with this one item. Can’t believe I hasn’t already been mentioned!

    Be heard. Be safe.

  • Two wrongs don’t make a right. It is a total dick head move to slam your hand one someone’s car — just like it’s a dick head thing to drive in the bike lane. It’s super loud on the inside when you do it. You’re just asking for trouble as no good can ever come of it. Good luck to your husband.

  • I can’t believe how many people on this thread admit to touching someone’s car. Each one of you deserve to be punched in the face for stupidity.

    Touching a man’s car is up there with insulting his wife. You don’t do it and not expect to face repercussions.

    • You’re going to try this in real life someday on someone, and they’re going to shoot you in the groin. A real shame. Or maybe you won’t, because you’re a douchebag asserting internet violence from the safety of mom’s basement.

  • I’m not a fan of the stand your ground law, but if someone endangers your life with their car, a response is not only appropriate, but obligatory. Not making them aware of their dangerous behavior is not doing anyone a favor, including them. When they run over someone next time, they’ll go to jail.

    Of course, you have to be discriminate. An annoying cut-off is just annoying. A car being in the bike lane where they should not be is just annoying. I generally don’t respond to that at all. Cars and the people in them do stupid and annoying things. It’s a judgment call as to whether the driver is just failing to obey traffic laws, unkindly forcing you to slow down, etc, or if he really could have / almost hit you.

    If it’s the second one, a punitive and angry response is morally appropriate, just like it would be if someone almost runs you over with a lawnmower or accidentally sets your clothing on fire. Personally, I’d say carry an airhorn and use it in these situations. It can’t be that hard to get a very loud attachable horn on a bike. Or, yes, slap the car. Spray paint’s also a good idea. Someone endangers your life, they don’t get away free.
    (It’s pretty hard to imagine a car slap actually causing material damage in any way, so it’s really a trivial punish behavior, hard to call more than annoyance. If you physically assault someone who slaps your car, you are committing felony assault. It is not self-defense, and enjoy your stay in jail / the morgue)

    Prior posters are absolutely right that this could provoke a confrontation, and one where he has a car and you don’t. So get a plate number before you act. Be aware of the confrontation. But that doesn’t mean shirking that confrontation is the ‘right’ thing to do. That just lets bullies and assholes get away with it. The answer is to be prepared to win the confrontations you start. If someone gets out of the car, one verbal warning to stop getting closer, followed by pepper spray, is a good plan. As is carrying a half brick in a thick wool sock. Or a gun. Or an incendiary device. Be prepared.

    In any event, condolences for your husband and a safe recovery.

    • I think your suggestion to carry a gun at the end of your post reveals the type of person you are, and delegitimzes everything you say prior. Take your vigilante fantasies back to the old West.

  • 160 comments and not one re the description of the subject. The woman is asking for help trying to find this guy. Geesh

  • hope the OP’s husband heals up quick.

    anytime i ride a bike in the city, i assume every car is out to kill me. i slow down/stop at stop signs (even if it breaks my uphill momentum), stop at a crosswalk to cross a street, etc. my mantra is always “not in a hurry” when i’m on a bike.

    i know how rage-inducing it can be to be nearly hit by a car when riding your bike- i once had to slam on my brakes and put my feet down because a car cut so close in front of me once to make a right turn.

    the slamming yr hand/educational response is gonna get you nowhere, except the emergency room. i think most people who drive cars think people who bike on the streets are f*cking crazy to begin with, and are not going to listen to any lecture and get enlightenment from someone on a bike. plus, no one likes to be lectured to, even if you know 100% that you were wrong.

    take all that rage and use it to bike up a hill instead.

  • Could the author of the letter give some more details about the SUV? I had a stunningly similar experience with a white escalade last fall, albeit slightly different. I only touched his vehicle to avoid falling into it when I had to slam my brakes following his decision to cut in front of me on the cycletrack (and yes, I had the crosswalk symbol) and him stopping abruptly to avoid hitting pedestrians crossing.

    I thought the driver would apologize or something, but not a word. I went along my way and suddenly 30 feet later I had been tackled down to the ground with this maniac guy screaming about touching his car. I guess more luckily for me the police were situated nearby due to the Occupy Protests and they immediately came over. I have no doubt the guy would have taken a big swing otherwise.

    But I’m not in the practicing of posting people’s names, vehicle descriptions, etc to blogs. Very sorry to hear of the rdiciulous ahole move by the driver and if it is in fact a white escalade involved then I would be glad to forward the content of my police report to the victim. I would also forward them my advice in dealing with local authorities.

  • Nice to hear asshole bikers are getting KO’ed for acting like entitled pricks. I’m not the fighting type, but the next time a biker flicks me off, curses me, or otherwise gets aggressive, I will be throwing down as well. Well done motorist, well done.

    • Yes, an anonymous drive-troller who vents his or her frustration at being stuck in traffic by proclaiming the need to punch a cyclist. Of course, posting such records an ip and if you’re more than just trolling that could well end poorly for you. The moral of this story is that people like anon-troller’s road rage isn’t restricted to other vehicles he or she doesn’t like. All hail anon-troller’s ultimate wisdom.

      • I actually don’t own a car. I’m speaking from a pedestrians perspective. Bikers are reckless assholes, and generally disregard traffic laws and everyone elses safety. In addition, they have the nerve to shout profanity at cars and pedestrians as if they own the roads. Slapping a car, screaming at people, or flicking somebody off is grounds for getting your ass kicked just about anywhere in the world. Glad somebody took this guy up on his offer to fight.

        • Some bikers are reckless aholes, as are some motorists and pedestrians. Making blanket statement’s about any of the above individual’s regard for safety is just patently stupid. You have clearly never traveled most of the world or you would realize that the blatant disregard for traffic laws is the norm, not the exception. I’m amused by your attempt to justify violent means of response to any perceived slight. It’s like you’re living in an antiquated western. Six steps, turn and shoot, that’s the fair way to settle everything, right? Thank God you’re a pedestrian, you would clearly be one of those drivers who kills someone or one of those bicyclists who idiotically violates traffic laws. We have enough stupid people, do us all a favor and remain a pedestrian. And for what it’s worth, I commute to work by Metro, bike and car. My general theory is less people on the road=less traffic=getting home faster.

    • Hopefully you pick my ex- Special Forces riding buddy to “throw down” with. It really is perplexing why drivers think that, once they’re out from behind the wheel of the two-ton automobile, they’re still invincible.

      Anyway, I’m sure you’ll pick someone who looks vulnerable to “throw down” with. Gutless bullies always do.

      • Do they teach some super secret combative skills to SF operators now? Because it’s my experience that unless your buddy has spent years training on his own, that three week combatives course he got probably didn’t make him any better with his hands than anyone else. Now give him a gun and it’s an entirely different conversation.

        Anyway, don’t hit someone’s car unless you’re confident you can win the fight. This guy didn’t deserve to get his jaw broken, but at the same time, he shouldn’t have been surprised and “kept his hands on the handlebars” – he clearly wanted a fight, or else he wouldn’t have picked one.

  • brookland_rez

    No comment on the tapping the car except that I’ve done much worse. Having said that I would be careful who you pick that fight with.

  • As someone else mentioned, the little bell on my handlebars is not going to get the attention of the driver of the car. It simply can’t make a noise as loud as a car’s horn. So sometimes I resort to smacking a car when it’s crossing my path. How else am I supposed to get the driver’s attention and quickly when they’re about to hit me (and I have the right-of-way)? And if the driver ever does notice (which is extremely rarely) that they’ve cut me off, I never get an apology. In DC, it’s as if drivers drive their cars to hit cyclists or pedestrians like we’re ants who can be squashed under a stomping foot. Their thoughts seem to be that there are lots of us out there, so if one or two are eliminated, then no big deal. Well, we are somebody’s parent or son or sibling, and taking a life is not something good!

    As a cyclist, however, I see a lot of behavior from my fellow cyclists that does not help our cause or group. I see plenty of cyclists doing foolish things daily that are going to get them hit and injured by a car, and it’s totally the cyclist’s fault. I think both car drivers and cyclists need some education about how to behave and interact with each other – according to the traffic laws to begin with, and maybe, because of incidents like this, socially as well!

  • Well, that same day that this lady’s husband got punched by an SUV driver, I had another (or possibly the same) driver threaten me. I was waiting on the sidewalk at 16th & Monroe, NW. The light turned yellow, then a taxi and another car sped through soon after. I turned and looked at how fast ahead the taxi was going then turned back. Ok, now it’s a red light and a green for me to cross. I was just about to step off the curb when a blue SUV ran the red light about two seconds after it turned red. He was also in the curb lane, super close to where I was standing and about to hop off the curb. I gave him the finger as he sped through, since he just about ran me over. He passed the intersection, then stopped his car. He walked towards me and threatened me, that he would punch me and break my f’in glasses. I told him he ran a red light. Fortunately, there were people watching this going on and I said “I have witnesses.” Then he got back in his car. He looked to be Middle Eastern in complexion with short dark hair and no facial hair. The main thing is that I got his license plate. It was a blue BMW SUV, license plate XKC 1240. I didn’t have a chance to file a police report that day since I was heading to work and then away last weekend for the holiday but I am going to file one for sure.

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