Madison "bike rage" incident
- This may be a first. I don't recall ever reading about a "bike
rage" incident before. Typically Madison, though.
Bicyclist attacked after confrontation with two other bicyclists,
By GEORGE HESSELBERG 608-252-6140
Wisconsin State Journal
December 2, 2008
A bicyclist who suggested to a pair of fellow riders they should use
lights when bicycling at night was rewarded for his concern with a
beating, according to Madison police reports.
The 51-year-old victim, Colin O'Brien, who owns Cronometro, a Williamson
Street business that builds custom bicycles, was cycling home last
Wednesday at about 6:30 p.m. along South Shore Drive when someone behind
him alerted him he would be passing on the left. A man and a woman
bicycled past, and as they did, O'Brien said "Get a light." The male
bicyclist turned and asked what was just said, and O'Brien repeated,
"Get a light."
The couple yelled at O'Brien to "mind his own business," and the male
bicyclist tried to run O'Brien off the road, police reported.
The two followed him to the driveway of his East Side home, where the
discussion continued and where the female rider commented that the
"victim seemed to have plenty of lights and asked for one."
O'Brien obliged, giving her a light, according to police, but the
woman's companion, "still upset about the original comment, proceeded to
clamp his hands around the victim's head, police said.
"He twisted the victim to the ground, and kneed him in the ribs."
The two bicyclists were last seen pedaling down South Shore Drive.
O'Brien provided a detailed description of the bicyclists and their
bikes: The man was white, about 6 feet tall, wearing a dark colored
jacket and riding a Trek Time Trial bike with front-style handlebars.
The woman was described as white, about 5 feet 4 inches tall, riding an
Orbea Road bike with orange on the front.
Attempts to reach O'Brien were unsuccessful Tuesday night, but Scott
Wente, who works at Cronometro, confirmed the police report about his
boss, and said that O'Brien has sore ribs but is otherwise OK. He said
it would not be out of character for him to suggest to a bicycle rider
at night to get a light.
"Well, it was dark and the dude was in black clothing, come on," said Wente.
An area bicycle news network was abuzz with the story and related
commentary on its internet connection service Tuesday.
Among the contributors was Robbie Weber, a Madison alderman and avid
bicyclist, who wrote to the group: "Although we would all like to think
that bicyclists wouldn't stoop to road rage and violence, there are
stupid, aggressive, and unstable people in all groups. Some people just
lose it when faced with the smallest criticism. Their choice of
transportation vehicle doesn't change that."