Driver Cited for Harassing Cyclists in Viral Video

By Jennifer Abbey

Sep 20, 2012 2:41pm
 abc cyclist trouble cc 120920 wblog Driver Cited for Harassing Cyclists in Viral Video

                                                                                                       (ABC News)

A Colorado man received a traffic citation after a viral YouTube video showed him tailing two cyclists in his truck on a country lane for five full minutes, constantly blowing his horn.

Colorado State Patrol issued a citation Thursday to James Ernst, 75, of Erie, Colo., for harassment, impeding the flow of traffic and improper use of a horn or warning device.

The encounter between Ernst and the cyclists was caught on tape. Dirk Friel and his friend were out for a ride Sunday in Boulder County, Colo., when Ernst came up behind them in his Ford Explorer and laid on his horn for five minutes, Friel wrote on YouTube.

In the video, the cyclists are riding outside the white line on a two- lane road. The road did not have a shoulder.

“What’s even worse is we saw him approaching from behind and to be polite we ride single file to give him as much road as possible, as we did with every other car we encountered on this road,” Friel wrote.

“This is getting old,” Friel says in the video. “This is insane.”

Friel and his friend ended up slowing down so that Ernst could pass.

“This guy was so intent of bugging us that he backed up traffic behind him and cars had to pass him on a double yellow line,” Friel wrote.

Friel posted the video Sept. 16 and it has since had more than 182,000 views. Colorado State Patrol tracked Ernst via the license plate shown in the video. Authorities had several other calls about the incident, although no one was able to identify the driver.

“I don’t know what happened,” David Ernst, James’ son, told ABC affiliate KMGH in response to the video. “Maybe there was something that precipitated it. I don’t know, because he’s a gentle old man.”

The Bicycle Safety Act was passed in Colorado in 2009. It states that motor vehicles must give bicyclists three feet of space when passing and vehicles may cross the center yellow line to pass bikes. Bicyclists must ride as far right as they deem safe and they do not have to ride in the gutter. Under this law, bicyclists may ride side-by-side but are required to ride single file when a car approaches.

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