“So heads up maybe there’s a serial spitter biking around.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Melanie Cohen

A reader writes in with this disgusting/disappointing note on Friday:

“A cyclist spat on me today. I’m a tour guide and I was standing next to the vehicle while my guests were slowly coming to get in, something I’ve done literally hundreds of times before. Directly behind the Jefferson Memorial there is a stretch of Ohio Drive that people often use for loading/unloading. I was standing on this sidewalk next to one of several vehicles in the road when a cyclist on the sidewalk rode toward me, simply turned his head and spat on my face. He didn’t look back as he sped away.

So heads up maybe there’s a serial spitter biking around.”

Ed. Note: In a perfect world, one caught spitting in someone’s face would be punished severely. In reality this chump will never get caught nor punished. Sadly, lowlifes like this have been witnessed using all forms of transport – so let’s not focus so much on the bike – but I hope we can all condemn the action itself.

30 Comment

  • In a just world, one could kill the person who spat on them, and not even be charged. Totally justifiable homicide.

  • Condemned.

    – bike commuter

  • Black, white, hispanic, asian? bike color? Wearing helmet? Clothing? I imagine it was scary as hell but just hoping you can provide with more info…

    Anything to help identify, OP?

  • binpetworth

    I’m really sorry to hear you were the victim of this repulsive move. I get grossed out even when people spit near me. That said, the accompanying photo to this post gave me quite a chuckle…

  • Blithe

    That’s really vile. I think the punishment should fit the crime: community spit and shunning.

  • I take this route on my ride to work, and my guess is that the biker was frustrated by the crowd blocking that sidewalk. Ohio Drive is one way so bikers going the opposite direction have to ride on the sidewalk through throngs of oblivious people when tour buses stop there. This doesn’t excuse the act, of course, but I think this is more likely than a “serial spitter.”

    • Bikes use this sidewalk crowded with tourists as a road. When sidewalk cycling, you have to be ready to put up with “oblivious” pedestrians who aren’t expecting to have to move aside for a speeding bicycle. Seems to me that if you want to go fast, you could more easily go the other direction up Ohio drive, towards Lincoln.

  • Could have been worse and been a cereal spitter.

  • This happened to me last summer in Adams Morgan on a Saturday afternoon. I was sitting on the passenger side of my sister’s car, window down, waiting to turn onto Ontario from Columbia (right at the corner where Chief Ike’s was) when a teenage boy on a bike road up next to the car, spat in my face, (through the window) and rode off.

    I’ve lived in DC for almost 10 years and have experienced pretty much every urban unpleasantry you can think of, but this was a new low. I have never felt so disgusted in my entire life, and simply cannot fathom why someone would behave like that. I feel the OP’s pain!

  • This is disgusting. But – how does one draw the conclusion that there is a *serial” spitter? One person got spit on, once. It’s certainly gross, and the spitter should he ashamed of himself, but I don’t think we need to start walking around in ponchos for fear that a cyclist is going to rain loogies down on us.

    • justinbc

      I was thinking the same thing, but decided instead to give everyone I passed by an evil eye as deterrence just in case they are the serial spitter.

  • I truly wish someone had knocked him off his bike. Quickly, right after the disgusting incident. NO HOME TRAINING. This is his mother’s fault

  • As a bicyclist, I would say stick through the front spokes has been authorized.

  • This doesn’t sound like a one person job, there had to be a second spitter! Did anyone happen to see Roger McDowell hiding behind bushes nearby?

  • My mom once accidentally spat on someone. We’ve never let her live it down.

  • This Friday, the same thing happened to me, but worse, in a way.
    I was leaving yoga class on 15th/P right where the Whole Foods is. And I was walking through a very safe alleyway behind the church there to get to my car parked on Rhode Island Ave. It was about 7 PM but it was light out. This guy on a bike came past me and started screaming (you f*ckin cracker c*nt racist b*tch). I, never one to take things lying down, turned around and flipped him the bird. What I now know never to do again (even if it makes me feel better to flick an ass off), resulted in him coming after me on his bike. I said, “are you really going to approach a single female on foot, and you’re a guy on a bike?” I then proceeded to tell him I’m calling the cops. He said, “before you can even hit 911, I’ll shoot you and keep shooting.” He then spit on me from a bike’s distance a way, and took off. Luckily it only hit my yoga top, which was an old one, so I ended up throwing it away I was so disgusted. But only after I called the cops. They called this a felony threat and simple assault. Threat because of the shooting comment. Assault bc spit is an assault (though a simple one). But with my fear of germs, I don’t take this too simply.

    Here’s an accurate description i gave to the cops:
    25-30 years old
    African-American male – medium skin tone
    no accent/dialect
    probably about 5’10 – but he was on a bike, so hard to tell
    bike was a mountain bike type — not a tall 10-speed kind
    he wore long army fatigue shorts
    for some reason, i was looking for plates on the bike like you would on a car, so I was distracted by taking more note to his physical appearance or clothing.
    may have worn a baseball cap
    pretty sure he had a small gap in his front-two teeth
    giggled as he left after spitting on me

  • At first I didn’t get what a cow had to do with this story, but then I saw the suspicious look on the cows face and the serial spitter lurking in the background behind the tree. Great choice of photos.

  • Sincerely sorry for the victims of spit assaults. As a word of caution, I live and work around Chinatown, and there’s a lot of spitting going on around there. Initially, I didn’t know what to make of it, but after a few years, I’ve noticed that the spitters tend to be of Asian descent. Thus, I’ve got a working theory about spitting being more socially acceptable in China. One elderly Asian female spitting pedestrian nearly got me in Chinatown because she wasn’t paying any attention at all to see whether anyone was walking behind her. When I made a surprised/disgusted squawking noise, she turned around and looked embarrassed, at least.

    • justinbc

      LOL, is this for real?

      • Holy realz. I was curious so I did a search and the NYtimes covered it as a major tourist and cultural issue saying “spitting is a major reason Chinese tourists can feel unwelcome abroad.” Ideally, people would practice “socially responsible spitting,” Mr. Coomber said. That means into a gutter and not someone’s path, or eye.


        I don’t know what sort of Jerkwads are purposefully spitting on people, but I hope their mouths go dry and they are forever parched!

      • For real. Apparently the Chinese are only recently working on no-spitting laws and etiquette adjustments because of the bad reputation they were getting from disgusted Westerners. There are cultural differences, as well, regarding cutting nails in public (another sight I’ve seen in Chinatown). Of course, I’ve seen some non-Chinese spit and cut nails in public in DC, too!

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