“I’m just an old surfer knucklehead, and I do apologize for using the words that I used,” Robert Lewis told CBS News.
Footage of Lewis recently went viral after being shared online. The footage caught him in an outburst of road rage directed at a bicycle rider on the road.
Lewis made threats and used profanity while yelling at a bicyclist he felt was hogging the road. “You come through on your bike… like you own this land,” he spat to the bicyclist while the cyclist filmed the tirade. “You come on my land… you’re a dead man,” he continued.
It turns out, Lewis was mistaken– the bicyclist had the right to occupy the lane. The cyclist was riding in a “share lane,” to which bicyclists are entitled. The cyclist claims that Lewis’s car brushed against his elbow and that Lewis tried to make a citizen’s arrest. Newport authorities are further investigating the incident.
This conflict between the bicyclist and the driver– wherein the driver becomes angry due to a misunderstanding of road signage and traffic laws– is one motorcyclists know well. This incident hearkens to lane-splitting controversies. With the unanimous final passing of AB-51 by the California State Assembly, however, lane-splitting soon will no longer be a grey-area issue. Motorcyclists will be able to split lanes and drivers would do well to ditch violent anger and acknowledge fellow commuters on the road.
The footage of Lewis circulating around the internet calls attention to the hubris of many drivers. Though cars remain the most popular mode of transportation in many places, drivers should be aware of alternate forms of getting around.
As far as Lewis goes, “I’m very embarrassed,” he said. “I screwed up.”