Friday, January 25, 2008

WTF is going on???? This just ain't right...


The Denver Post, Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Bicycle 'boxing' no kids' game

Denver Post Editorial

Sue O'Brien, Editor of the Editorial Page

A series of attacks on bicyclists by teen hoodlums on wheels in northern Colorado cannot easily be dismissed as youthful indiscretion: These are vicious, potentially lethal assaults that should be punished severely.

So far, three male teens from Windsor have been arrested in the case. One, a 17-year-old, has been charged with felony assault, reckless endangerment and underage use of alcohol. Authorities say the boys come from comfortable, middle-class backgrounds.

Beginning in December, police in Windsor and Fort Collins received reports of about a dozen incidents with the deceptively innocuous-sounding name of "bicycle boxing." The reality is anything but sporting: Participants in a four-wheel-drive vehicle apparently rolled up next to unsuspecting riders and one teen struck victims with an aluminum baseball bat. Sometimes, bike riders were forced off the road by the motor vehicle.

That there have been no fatalities is just pure luck. A rider hunched over the drop-style handlebars of a touring bicycle traveling at moderate speed is extremely vulnerable to a serious, disabling injury or death, even when wearing a safety helmet.

Fort Collins and Windsor police haven't learned of any similar attacks elsewhere in the United States, so this appears to be homegrown Colorado product.

Windsor Police Chief John Michaels said he's heard only vague rumors of how the term "bicycle boxing" came about.

Charlie Henderson, president of the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club, said the attacks in northern Colorado are "the first we've heard of." "It's something they've got to squash," Henderson added.

Patrick McCormick, spokesman for the American League of Bicyclists in Washington, D.C., also said the Colorado incidents are a first.

Both Henderson and McCormick say bicyclists often encounter hostile motorists, and most long-time riders have been targeted for road-rage of one kind or another. But those usually are chance encounters. The "bicycle boxing" teens allegedly sought out their victims.

For now, the attacks are being handled as a juvenile case, and the Larimer County district attorney's office hasn't decided yet whether to charge those involved as adults.

Given the assailants' apparent depraved indifference to the potential for death or serious injury and the large number of attacks, adult felony charges might be an appropriate way to discourage wannabe copycats.

Meantime, the teens' parents should ask themselves what kind of monsters they've raised. They may not like the answer.

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