On May 31, 2014, Bryan Larsen was bicycling on a crowded stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in south Orange County. He began to notice a pattern of harassment by the occupants of a large white 4×4 Ram Truck, with
Texas Virginia license plate “TX 65-500.” When passing cyclists, the truck would spew thick black coal-rolling exhaust.
Larsen got out his phone and began to record video. He then captured this road rage incident. The truck swerved out of the car lane toward Larsen, who was riding in the bike lane. The truck slowed and its passenger threw a bottle full of Gatorade at the cyclist. When Larsen held his phone up and shouted that he had captured the incident on video, the truck blasted more exhaust and drove away.
In a television interview, Larsen describes the incident:
I was in a lot of fear. They came into the bike lane. The tires were as big as I was and I thought they were going to run me over.
Larsen posted the video online and reported the incident, submitting the evidence to the Orange County Sheriffs Department.
OCSD responded that they were investigating, but stated that there really was nothing law enforcement could do, since even though it was caught on video, no sheriff had actually been present to eye-witness to the incident.
Meanwhile, the video went viral. The incident was reported in local media. Larsen approached Arizona-based advocacy organization Look! Save A Life which produced an annotated version of the video, slowing down and clarifying what occurred. Just over a month passed with no response from OCSD.
On July 7, Look! Save A Life published this Open Letter to the Orange County Sheriffs Department. The letter was also shared widely.
The next day, the OC Sheriffs finally responded.
But not quite in the way cyclists expected.
OCSD stated that they will not be charging the truck’s driver. They may charge the passenger with assault and battery for throwing the bottle.
And the kicker: OCSD plans to charge cyclist Bryan Larsen for shouting obscenities. On the video, Larsen can be heard stating “do that f—ing on video right now!”