Maui Road Rage: A Local Tried to Kill Us

I kicked the shit out of a local that tried to kill us

When the road rage incident that I’m going to tell you about happened, besides the initial shock, I decided to not broadcast it online. We were just finishing up our annual Maui vacation. I didn’t want to bring bad mojo onto our family time or describe riding in Maui as dangerous or not recommended.

I’ve ridden with @mzsitka for years in Maui. We’ve spent hundreds of hours in the saddle and thousands of miles riding without incident. What happened there could happen anywhere to any cyclist, just like the incident ealier in the year when a cyclist I was riding with was attacked on a NYC bike path.

maui

Shoulder riding with distracted drivers, some of them very angry

So What Happenend Was

This all happened fast, but in slow motion

We were riding to from Napili to Paia to meet up with our teenagers for a late lunch. Crossing over from one highway to another, we got on Hansen Road at the Sugar Plant museum. We’ve ridden that road before and it’s one that you get on/off quick with no shoulder and broken pavement – it’s a couple miles between highways. I came to the front to set a tempo and heard a “WTF” from Pam. Glancing back, I saw a truck at her hip honking and moving violently back and forth. I turned, waved my arm for the truck to pass and it zoomed ahead of me. It turned abruptly to the side of the road, skidded to a stop, and the door opened knocking me down.

knee

Where it went down

A Chuck Norris Kick from Jens Voigt

What I remember at this point in the story happened very quickly and I’ve been reliving it since in slow motion. After my helmet struck the pavement, I remember seeing the local moving rapidly out of the truck and raging towards me. I was vulnerable on my back with one foot still connected to a pedal. As he roared, I kicked him in the groin as hard as I could. That threw him back into the cab of the truck. I then slammed the car door into him with my hand and kicked it repeatedly until he recoiled all the way into the truck. Pam told me she grabbed the bike away from under the truck door before it sped off. By this time, a group of motorists stopped and stayed there to protect us while asking how we were with looks of astonishment.

A few hundred yards away from us, the local skidded to a stop again. I was ready for more, but he didn’t come back. Instead he jumped out of his cab, tore his shirt off like the Incredible Hulk, did a dance, and yelled how he was going to actually kill us this time. A window washer truck was behind him and followed him away from the scene. A few minutes later, after more motorists asked how we were, the window washer returned and said he had his license plate.

The police were on the way.

knee

The road took a layer off my fav scar like a gritty cheese grater

Pam and I debated whether to leave or stay and then heard the sirens of the EMT. The medics checked me out, just a road-rashed knee, and then the cop cars arrived. We told them the story, they checked with the other witnesses, and then we rode onto Paia. We had a few beers and pizza.

pizza

Felt better after beers and this pizza

No Further Action

The cop asked us repeatedly what happened and seemed amazed that I “won.” I wasn’t severly injured. He didn’t hit me or Pam. It was a twist on the usual bike v. car narrative that too often ends in tragedy. That day was a win for the Maui cyclists because a motorist tried to kill us and got a set of Time cleats in his nuts for a reward.

I don’t advocate violence or suggest anyone fight a motorist. I do insist that we ride offensively with a keen awareness of the surroundings. There is no defensive cycling on the roads of the States and most places I travel. I also lost a few nights of sleep over this incident and believe I wouldn’t have done anything different. I was defending myself and my wife.

Maui has no road rage laws and I expect nothing further to happen. I’ll ride there again with Pam and with an even stronger sense of protecting ourselves from angry drivers.



34 Comments

And now you should publish the offending drivers license plate number so the rest of us who like to visit and ride Maui can be aware of said IDIOT. Scary story and very happy you both are OK.

@jon

Thanks for the concern. It was intense. I hadn’t though about publishing his plate number, but we’ve got it. I’ll call the Maui PD again.

Glad to hear that this story did not end in tragedy.  This is my first time on this site, and to read this very harrowing story was incredible (I felt a great sense of satisfaction reading about your ninja kick to the attacker’s crotch).  I’ve never met you, but I am so happy to know that two fellow cyclists escaped major injury!

And per the response of the other comment, it would indeed be very wise to report the license plate to the police!

@chase

Thanks for stopping by and your comment. We’ve got the number and it was reported, I don’t know that it’s actually the attacker yet. As the cop said, a dude that raging may have stolen the vehicle and was on drugs.

Good on you. This kind of neanderthal behavior is all to prevalent in the islands. I lived in Hawaii for 7 years and found it to be a troubled place. Yes, there are cretins everywhere, but there is a pattern of behavior in the islands, and also that this behavior is justified and justifiable.

@jeff thanks and knowing the Islands like you do, it’s probably no surprise that a bike road rage incident was not a huge priority with the MPD.

Respect for standing up for yourself and much kudos for turning the tables.

until a year ago, i rode london every day, I too had to deal with dangerous drivers (although perhaps not as homicidal as yours), buses shunting me, taxis insisting they have the right of way (always) and drivers, well, driving into me. I have to agree, whilst violence shouldn’t be a first choice, we don’t have to be hapless victims either.

Good on you man, you have my utter respect, my happiness you and your wife are okay and my jealously over that pizza, damn! it looks good…

Glad that everything turned out okay.

We went to Hawaii on our honeymoon and I would love to go back and ride sometime.

So that’s what happened to your pedal. It’s either stuck in his door or his nuts!

I totally know that spot.  It does get a little narrow, but it’s a 25mph zone if I remember right and lasts for all of a couple hundred meters.  What an A-hole.

Why wouldn’t the police go for aggravated assault? You had corroborating witnesses and obvious physical injuries from the incident.

@andyhorn

The pizza and they had Deschutes on tap ... also stopped in to talk to the Bros a Maui Cyclery while there.

@ronatBWN

It’s a great place to ride with Kona having the best roads. Maui is the better place for us for the beaches and family time. Just for riding though, it’s Kona.

@riko yes! could’ve used my pedal as a throwing star!

@andrew_f_martin doesn’t matter what road, right, but we learned motorists use that now as a fast bypass and no one was going 25.

@neil I guess priorities?

Jesus. I’m glad you’re OK.

@keith

So are we and from my perspective, my wife.

Glad to hear no one was hurt. Glad to hear you get some reward for the road rash. I can’t even comprehend hearing stories like this, referring to the drivers point of view.

@amarquart He wanted to tell us off, just like anyone that’s angry were on the road, and I think what happens when we don’t respond submissively is they rage. Some more than others. When a drivers tells you to get off the road, they expect you to do just that, cause you’re not supposed to be there in the first place. As I said in the post and were I absolutely disagree with many advocates, is we must ride offensively, protecting ourselves cause we’re at such a disadvantage. Val Kleitz describe riding in traffic as like a Whitewater slalomist. Pick a safe line, obstacles, dangers, stay steady, etc and why cyclists like him refuse to ride in the gutter.

I’m really glad you are OK. I’m tired of hearing about these incidents. I’m really mad that the police allow this. If this had been an assault in a bar the police would have arrested the person reported the bar to the liquor license authority. Here the idiot gets away and HI gets a laugh.

What D.L. did was correct. Always defend yourself. The law says you have to be defending yourself and you cannot use force greater than the force being used against you.  However here, D.L. was already on the ground and a truck is a deadly weapon.

Don’t be timid. Knees are vulnerable, and bikes make a great shield. Put your bike between you and your attacker. Kick has hard as you can, sideways into the opponents knees!  Kick through his knee, not just against it. It is better to spend hours in jail than a life underground.

If you have a helmet on use it. If a punch comes, put your helmet between you and the punch.  It is pretty hard after connecting with a helmet to use your hand effectively in a fight.

I’ve written some about this myself to make sure you don’t do jail time and push the issue at http://rec-law.us/ABcPrQ (How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?) However the end result is always a factor of whether or not the cops are going to do anything about it.

After this, I think that PR is the best offense and defense. If the tourism bureau of HI and Maui believe that the police are reason people are not coming to HI, things might change for the next person.

Glad you are OK!!!

I got mad about this and wrote an article about it. More importantly I looked up the Maui and HI visitors bureaus and posted their contact info as well as the police and the prosecutors information. If you want to do something contact these people and ask them why they did not prosecute this idiot and if Maui is going to remain a dangerous place to drive.  See Tell Maui and HI that you’re not coming until they prove the place is safe. http://rec-law.us/xSOlKI

I live on Oahu and I take out my road bike most weekends. I have never ridden on Maui. Despite the law assuring bicyclists are entitled to a full lane, some drivers are unaware or flat out deny bicyclists. Most of the time, especially if I am riding about as fast as the traffic, I can stick out my arm indicating I’m merging, pedal my a$$ off and get back over ASAP. After that I always give the SHAKA and a big smile for their courtesy. But your encounter with a belligerent moke, possibly high on meth, possibly in a stolen vehicle, means there will be no aloha. I’ve had someone like this ride so fast up behind me that I thought I was dead. Then they go flying away while I stick up my salute finger. Makes me feel good, but, the a$$hole laughs you off. On behalf of Hawaii, I apologize. I’m just one cyclist trying to get drivers to practice more aloha with bicyclists, but I always know I have to protect myself from scary or stupid drivers. I hope you’re feeling better!

@paula we’ve never had any issues until now and just previous to this incident, had 4 different cars with drunks yell at us, but all harmless.

Don’t know what as going one exactly in Maui that week, but the vibe was certainly different and we saw more cyclists than before.

I think possibly because the economy had improved more people were there. I shake lots of stuff off, but obviously not this. The Police did say, “truck could be stolen and drugs are a real problem.” While I’m disappointed with the follow-up, the offices are the scene were courteous and professional.

Maui has no vehicular assault laws?  That’s what would apply, since it went well beyond road rage and you were injured as a result.  Lean on the Prosecutor’s Office on this.

Glad you’re okay Byron. Sounded pretty hairy. I’m going to ride next to you during the Mobile Social next Interbike, in case something happens. Way to take care or things!

@paul I’m not a lawyer, but I think they would.

Aloha Byron,

On behalf of the Maui bicycling commnuity, we are saddened and angered that you and Pam had to experience this while on vacation here.

I am glad that you were able to fend off this attack and that it had not turned out worse.

Your Maui blog entry was just featured in an update we sent out to the Maui bicycling commnunity just before this happened. 

We would like to offer any assistance we can so please contact me. at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Feel free to google me to find out more about me and the Maui Bicycle Alliance.

Time to get a CCWB. Conceal, Carry, Weapon, and Bike. I hope the guys family roasts in a self induced fire.

I’m glad you kicked his a$s.  I don’t get these drivers whatsoever.

What happened to Byron in Maui was terrible and I’m glad that he was able to handle it without any worse injury than he got. And the driver should definitely be prosecuted.

But what I wonder is, why don’t some of the outspoken bicyclists have anything to say about the many careless bicyclists who are endangering and injuring pedestrians. The situation is bad and getting worse. Jim Talkington is advocating for bicyclists to carry concealed weapons. I have had several friends injured by aggressive bicyclists and a friend’s friend’s friend killed by a bicyclist. The idea that these rude and dangerous people need concealed weapons as well gives me the shivers.

A pedestrian was struck by a cyclist last year in Seattle and died, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. I know long distance cyclists that carry guns and that’s their call. I say it again, there is no defensive cycling in the States. Cyclist should use any means to protect themselves.

The behavior of cyclists is a topic for another post.

as a long time Maui resident and cyclist, I’m saddened, but not surprised by your incident. We make a point of only riding early morning to steer clear of these people - things definitely get progressively worse in the course of the day…  nonetheless I really hope you can share your perp’s vehicle type, color and license plate with us so we can keep an eye out for them - Walter at Maui Bicycle Alliance has been doing a great job circulating this information for other similar incidents - if nothing else, it helps us be more aware of who we might be dealing with - just because the vehicle might be stolen, doesn’t mean it’s not still on the road…

thanks and

aloha

I’m confused: which is the picture of the knee and which is the pizza?  ONLY j/k. 

Seriously though, I have seen individuals prosecuted under the term “terroristic threatening”; generally when someone makes a death threat.  Since you may have witnesses to that event, that may be the infraction with the most “teeth” to it…

Good luck to us all that there is a prosecution - I am sure public outcry is what would determine that!

Byron I have lived here now 11 years and cycled most of the island repeatedly and Hanson road a lot over the years.  It sorely needs re-paving and has the whole time I’ve lived here but that does not excuse the behavior of the driver of the truck.  A lot of people use this road as a short cut to the Hana Hwy and a Kahului by-pass.  Minus the possibility of drugs that might have been his flash point as travel , even by car, is slow on most roads here.

I second the motion to send Walter the plate and truck type so we can keep an eye out for them as well.

For anyone else riding Maui, the biggest issue I have is people consistently making right hand turns , looking left only assuming they are in the furthest right point when in fact a cyclist might be in the shoulder lane. This happens mostly to me in Kahului, ( most anywhere but the mostly on Puunene Road headed south) or in Kihei on South Kihei road. 

Trucks and cars in the shoulder lane a lot on Honopiilani Hwy , especially on the Pali.

Yes by law we can take the lane but doing so will occasionally anger a motorist.

Wish it was possible to file a civil action against this person as well, but that is expensive from a distance.

Sorry that this happened to you guys. Sounds like a very surreal experience and luckily you were both able to ride away.  Usually when bikes and vehicles clash it is the cyclist who loses. I have had a very good friend killed in Maui by a drunk driver. From your description, it sounds like this guy was on Meth. I lived and cycled in Maui for 10 years.  I would like to make a comment which I think is important.—From my experience as a cyclist it is better to be “defensive” than “offensive”.  Getting aggressive on the bike in most cases only leads to aggressive responses from motorists. I think this is more true in Maui (for some reasons that are beyond the scope of this comment) than on the mainland.

Hope you have a great New Year filled with some great rides, hopefully on the less freaky side.

PS I now live in France and ride with my three sons, luckily road rage against cyclists isn’t really an issue here. I think it is a cultural thing or perhaps it is that cyclists and motorists have been sharing the roads for longer.

Bill
www.fathersontour.com

Maui residences both current and former,

Thanks for joining us and commenting. I’m working with Walter now. I don’t know that the license plate is valid, so I’m not going to post it until it’s confirmed, and if the MPD makes an arrest and prosecutes.

@william cyclists are not victims and should not cower on the sound of the road. I don’t mean ride aggressively, I mean, be alert, aware and ready to defend yourself. Also sorry to hear about your loss. We had too many here on the mainland in Seattle last year.

Glad you are OK.  I was hit by a hit and run driver on 28 Aug 2011.  Still recovering from a shattered Patella,shattered wrist etc..  I can assure you that riding in Maui is a magical experience.  I ride over 10,000 miles here every year and almost every ride has been without incident.  But it only takes one bad incident to change your life.  I found it amazing that cyclists have asked me “What could you have done differently” to avoid the accident.  And I answer with I guess I could have been driving a car. 

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