South Philly resident Kate Mundie does almost all of her commuting by bike, be it for work or to drop off her two young sons at any activities they may have. So she’s heard just about everything, from typical “get off the road” comments to a death threat last year that convinced her to start wearing a GoPro while biking.
That came in handy this week. On Wednesday, she recorded with her GoPro an incident in which a driver called her a “cunt” in front of her children, and it’s gone viral in the biking community.
In the video, a man in a red SUV pulls up aside Mundie and said she was going to get her “kids killed” and then: “Go fuck yourself. Yeah, go fuck yourself with your GoPro, you cunt.” He accused her of pulling into the lane too closely in front of him. The video shows she was about 25-30 yards ahead, sufficient room for a cyclist to switch lanes.
Mundie says another vehicle had parked in the bike lane in front of her — on 11th Street between Wharton and Federal. She studied the tape when she got home and determined the man’s SUV had been five houses back.
“I’m a very cautious cyclist because I do bike with the kids,” Mundie says. “I’ll wait if I don’t have enough time or enough space. I had enough to room to move and beat the truck.”
She didn’t respond with any comments to the man until he had already started driving away.
“I learned never argue,” she says. “They have their beliefs. They have no idea what the laws are regarding bikes. And they don’t care. They’re angry at whatever and you’re in the way, and they want to just spill it on you.”
Mundie, who rides a Dutch Cargo bike that is about eight feet long and two feet wide and ideal for carrying multiple passengers, says she started using a GoPro in about February 2014. Until the last month or so, she’d noticed a significant dropoff in people yelling at her while she biked, down from almost twice a week to hardly at all.
“You would see people check the camera,” she says. “They’d ask are you filming and they would behave and give you space in the road.”
That changed recently, though, Mundie says.
“In the last month, it’s been weird. I don’t know what’s been going on.”
Mundie reported the incident to the police, providing a transcript of what the man said and his license plate number. She says she offered to show the video but the police declined to watch. She says they told her they didn’t expect anything to happen.
Mundie has continued to bike around the city as usual since the incident. The video has gotten 38,000 views and counting. She isn’t sure how she’d like the incident to be resolved.
“I would just like him to be nicer,” Mundie says. “I don’t care whether he pays a fine or whether anything like that happens. If I ran into him I would say, ‘want to come ride a bike with me?’ I would invite him to do that.
“But mostly I would just like him to be nice.”