Last week I received the following e-mail:
Hope things are going well. I am a Bike Fed member and we have chatted and corresponded a few times. I am looking for your help in how to address a scary incident I had this afternoon.
At about 12:20 pm today, Saturday the 15th of September, my wife and I were headed south on Boundary Road in Milwaukee, just south of County Line Road, headed to Dretzka Park. We were doing a ride with the Cream City Cycle Club. A semi had been going east on either Donges Bay Road or County Line Road, and then turned right (south) behind us, where the road is called Wausaukee Road. Just around where there are a couple sets of railroad tracks, south of County Line Road, he went past us. Not only did he see us before he made his turn, all lines of sight were clear on that section of road. No curves, no meaningful hills. He knew we were there. (I will have to go back and scout distances. I only know now that he was behind us for a while, and that he saw us before he made his turn).
When he passed me, I could not believe how close he was. His cab may have been a foot to my left, but his trailer was nowhere near that far away. I asked my wife how much space she thought the driver had given me. She said, “The same as he gave me – about six inches.” This is where we stopped for a light at Brown Deer Road, where we went straight be the semi had already turned left (east) on Brown Deer Road.
This section of road is rough, and there is not much of a shoulder. I managed to hold my line, as did my wife. There was not much traffic headed toward us north on the road, so the driver could have easily moved several feet to his left. I have zero doubt this was intentional. I’d say six inches is a generous guess as to how much room the truck gave us.
I think I have his license plate number, though he passed at a high rate of speed, and I was a little shaken. I tried to repeat it to myself often enough and write it down when we finished in Dretzka Park.
My thoughts are to contact the Milwaukee police for that area as well as the business who owns the truck. I’d like to get your advice before proceeding.
Here’s my response:
I’m very sorry to hear about this scary incident. Yes, please call the police as soon as possible and file a report (you may need to go to the station). Going to the police is the best first option.
Let me know how it goes.
A few days later I received this e-mail:
I thought I would update you on the situation.
It took me a while to figure out who to call, because I was on the border of two jurisdictions. Based on the side of the road (west), it was Menomonee Falls (vs. Milwaukee). I talked to the Menomonee Falls PD, and also called the business owner. The police told me they could not match the plate number, but a couple of days later a manager from the truck’s owner left a message saying the company was taking disciplinary action against the driver.
I just spoke to the manager, and he was very apologetic and said the company takes such incidents seriously. He was reacting to a call from the police, not from me. This manager was able to identify the individual driver based on the trailer number I gave the police. He combined the number with the time of day and street location and was able to definitely narrow it down to an individual. He said people should always call, because whether it’s one of their employees or a contractor, they don’t want anyone associated with them driving like that.
The police officer did emphasize calling quickly. Now that I have done so once, I know a little more about what I am doing. Hopefully I won’t have to do so again.
When it’s a truck, I guess you have to differentiate between a trailer license number and a vehicle license number. You’d think the police would know that, but that was part of the mixup.
Here’s to better and continued riding.
Yes, here’s to better and continued riding! Thank to this member for sharing his story. If you are ever in an incident like this remember to capture as much information as possible about the vehicle and always contact the police immediately.