Chicago’s “Northshore” is a well known area for road cyclists. Annoying because it means that you need to be a hitter to have any chance at KOMs, but it also means that it’s generally very safe to ride your bike in the area whenever you want. While there are occasional incidents with cars, or police crack downs on rolling through stop signs, it’s usually at a very manageable level. There are always stupid drivers (and TBF, stupid cyclists) that will pee in the pool.
I say that to set some context around the fact that yesterday morning one of my friends got shot in the arm while riding through Highland Park, IL. Given the damage, it was probably a compressed air gun (read high-powered pellet gun), and not a firearm, so at least there’s that. But, had it been his eye that got hit, it would have been a life-changing event; and for what?
Naturally, the Highland Park police are taking it seriously; hopefully actually, and not just some lip service…
Yes, we can all understand that it is mildly annoying to have to drive a little slower behind a cyclist while you wait to pass. And, it’s somewhat annoying when you’re in a car and a cyclist doesn’t yield right-of-way at a stop sign; which they should if you’ve already come to a full stop (other times, it’s much less dangerous for them to roll it), but it’s a massive problem when being annoyed leads to sentiments like this one – expressed by Adam Sweders of Highwood, IL when he heard about it…
I can only guess that Adam Sweders never speeds, and comes to a full three-second stop at every thick white line, but even if he doesn’t, it seems a bit harsh to advocate shooting someone you don’t like. But, maybe that’s just me.
As tough a concept as it might be for people like Adam, cyclists are people (IKR!). They have stories, interests outside of cycling (usually), jobs, and families; in this case two young kids. If you don’t like the way someone behaves, and it has no real impact on your life, ignore it. Most of us learned that lesson in grade school. If someone’s behavior is having a tangible negative impact on your well-being; that’s when you tell the teacher… or police if you’re a grown-up, and let them deal with it.
Highland Park police arrested someone on Friday and they have been charged with aggravated battery. I think this is fantastic news. aggravated battery is a felony in IL with some serious penalties associated. While it’s likely that the shooter will plead out to something lessor, that the local DA was willing to wave a heavy stick is a great sign.