Boston Cyclist vs. Cranky Driver: Who’s To Blame?

Decide which person is at fault in this very typical, very Boston altercation.

Tensions between cyclists and drivers in Boston have led to intense debates about the rules of the road.

A recent video posted to YouTube, and later Reddit, has added fuel to the constant bickering between champions of each mode of transportation, drudging up the question, “who’s at fault—the cyclist or the driver?”

The video shows a cyclist bike up to a car that’s occupying what looks like a bike lane—based on the road markings—on Commonwealth Avenue. To get the driver’s attention, the cyclist bangs on the back of the car’s trunk, alerting the operator that he’s in the way.

The driver didn’t like that so much. “Get the fuck out of here, you asshole,” he responded.

On Reddit, people fall on both sides of the argument of this clip. “I don’t understand what the driver thinks he’s getting by crowding over to the left? There’s no benefit. Not like he can pass anyone,” one person wrote. Another: “He wouldn’t have flipped his shit if you hadn’t tapped his car. People take their cars real serious, especially old people.”

There are clearly defined laws when it comes to making way for cyclists in the city, and blocking the path of designated bike lanes like the driver did in this situation. Boston has been on the forefront of expanding its infrastructure to make sure that those on two wheels can safely maneuver along the streets with minimal interference from drivers they are sharing the roads with, to avoid situations like this, and more severe incidents that can result in crashes and injuries.

But in this instance, is the driver out of line by responding the way he did, after obviously blocking the cyclist from getting by? Or is the cyclist at fault for banging on the back of the car—something that tears into the nerves of those behind the wheel—and instigating the feud, which he was clearly intent on posting to YouTube? Perhaps it’s the fault of no one in this video, but the city’s instead, for not clearing the snow from the path completely and limiting the amount of room for the biker to get by.

You decide. Have at it:

POLL: Who’s at fault for this Comm. Ave. altercation?