A “game” has started in Orange County where people pretend to shoot cyclists with their hand positioned like a gun while yelling “Butt Dart.” It was introduced on the latest video published by Chad Stewart Towersey (aka ocinstanews) to his 7,000+ Instagram followers. While making a joke and an underlying point about his frustration with cyclists, it poses serious consequences.
A Game with Dangerous Consequences
Case in point: A local City Councilman and Chair of the Bicycle Safety Committee was riding his bike home from work in Newport Beach last night. He was headed westbound on the Coast Highway through Mariner’s Mile and says, “I was moving as practicable to the right as I could. I was traveling in excess of 20 mph.” Then, he was startled by a Toyota pick-up swerving from the lane towards him as a group of people yelled, “Butt dart! Butt dart!” out of the window. He was able to avoid a collision and an accident on this occasion but who knows if the next person will be so lucky.
Cycling Accidents in the OC are Already Problem
This joke of sorts poses a real danger to cyclists out on the road. The fun and games very quickly turn into people getting hurt out there. In the OC, a dozen people died in cycling accidents last year, many of them being in or around Newport Beach, where Chad Stewart Towersaey is from. Despite thousands of dollars being invested in our area to improve safety and raise awareness about sharing the road, we still had an average of one death per month. As of May this year, we have had three deaths so far.
The City Councilman above says, “I receive monthly reports of the accidents and fatalities of auto/bicycle accidents. It is sad and alarming the number of preventable accidents that occur every day,” and adds, “When a public (or quasi-public) figure promotes poor behavior and dangerous activities that person must be stopped and the danger remedied.”
It Needs to Stop Before Someone Gets Hurt
Unfortunately, this Butt Dart “game” is a step backward. For those with influence on others in the county, in this case, Mr. Towersey, promoting an environment of permissible intolerance needs to stop. Instead, a concentrated effort is needed to promote mutual respect for both parties. Sure, there may be real issues and cyclists may be at fault in some cases, but we need to instead look for constructive solutions or more lives are going to be put at risk.
Councilman points out that his episode was on Towersey and says, “You can change that. You can send a call out to your mates that road rage is not a game.” So we now join the effort in asking Mr. Towersey, please denounce this VERY DANGEROUS GAME. As cyclists, we are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, family and friends of all sorts. If you do not renounce it, the consequence not only can be dire to the cyclist who is the target, but for you in terms of liability. We hope you make the right choice.