Of all the social networking “challenges” that could spread like wildfire over Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, let’s hope this one fails spectacularly.
Recently published, a video shows a youth, reportedly from the United Kingdom, pushing a cyclist into a ditch from a moving car. At seven seconds in duration, the video’s events involve a the passenger leaning out the left side of the moving vehicle, both hands outstretched, and pushing a moving cyclist off his or her bike. As the rider topples at speed into a ditch by the side of the road, other occupants in the vehicle can be heard laughing as they speed away.
Since it was shared on Saturday evening by a user named Eoin Maughan, the video — at last count — has been viewed 650,000 times, drawing 5,000 likes and 7,000 shares. Despite those metrics, though, the post’s purported author has denied being responsible for it, possibly in response to the backlash the video has already received.
“Do people not realize how dangerous this is?” one social media user asked. “If the cyclist is going even at a slow pace it can cause serious bodily harm. People ned to cop on.”
Another said, “The only way this would have been funny is if [the person who pushed the cyclist] missed and fell out of the car.”
What’s particularly alarming are the words said in the video, inviting others to partake in the “challenge” as some ill-principled call to action, like a grim take on the “ice bucket challenge” from last year. With the number of views that the video has had, it’s arguable that such a call has an audience. But it’s even more disturbing when other videos are taken into account, too, including one published in June by the Daily Mirror (see below) that shows another drive-by attack.
Nonetheless, hopefully the appearance of repeat videos showing the same act doesn’t mark the rise of such a trend. If nothing else, judging by the response of some social media users, the broad reach of such videos is balanced by a sense of well-merited revulsion.
“What would they do if that person had heart problems and had a heart attack from fright?” one such user asked. “Or [if] they had special needs and it severely upset them?”