I do not ride my bike for one moment when I don’t think about the sexual predator. That he is out there. That he is known to chase women on bikes. That he frequents routes which are the best, easiest ways to get places where I and many others need to go. And so I guess it should not have been a surprise when I was returning to the hip, fashionable, family-and-bike-friendly Krog Street Market just seconds from the Atlanta Beltline’s popular and packed Eastside Trail (after helping in a bike class for Habitat for Humanity homeowners) that I would suddenly cross paths with him.
He was on the other side of the street, coming up a hill, muttering out loud and acting agitated. He locked eyes with me and crossed the street mid-block, steering straight at me. I quickly scanned over my shoulder for traffic, zipped across the street and flung my bike onto the sidewalk to ride in the opposite direction as far away as possible from this man. He watched me but didn’t follow. I made it out.
But he is out there. And he is threatening women on bikes in public spaces by his aggressive behavior. And if something more were to happen to me, I would be blamed. For being a woman alone in a public space, in a neighborhood where I can’t afford to live, in broad daylight in the United States of America. And there is not a damn thing I can do about it (no matter how much I refuse to accept that blame) except tell you this story.
(If interested, there are more stories on this topic in my book.)