Driver who posted Rolling Coal video of cyclists in Texas faces backlash

  • A truck driver in Texas posted a video on social media of himself rolling coal over a nearby cyclist.
  • Once he was found, cyclists in the community reacted negatively to the unsafe practice and began posting negative reviews about the company where the driver works.
  • Rolling coal is the term used when a vehicle blows a bunch of black smoke from its exhaust at those nearby, who are often cyclists.

    The practice of rolling charcoal — deliberately blowing a stream of black smoke from a truck at a bicyclist or group of bicyclists — is incredibly dangerous, not environmentally friendly at all, and illegal in some states.

    So why do some drivers continue to practice and why do they post online to brag about it? A Texas auto shop owner recently discovered that sharing a video of coal rolling over a cyclist online isn’t just going to incite the ire of local cyclists, it could also be miscommunication for businesses.

    This most recent incident took place in McKinney, Texas. the Fort Worth Star Telegram alleged driver Kevin Soucie, the owner of Turn 5 Fabrication, posted video of himself driving, spotting a cyclist, then rolling coal over the cyclist – zooming in on the video for better effect. And yes, he clearly sees the cyclist, just before zooming in he says, “Oh my god, a cyclist.” (You can view a version of the video on the Star-Telegram.)

    Because it’s Earth Day, let’s also mention the implications of converting a truck to be able to run coal in the first place. You can’t just blow black smoke from the chimneys on any old truck. A truck with a diesel engine needs to be customized by removing a filter and adding large exhausts and chimneys in addition to a switch that allows the truck to vent the heavy sooty smoke at just the right time. This is not only seen as an affront to cyclists, it creates air pollution.

    That, along with the danger it poses to cyclists, is the reason it’s illegal in a dozen states and provinces, as well as many cities and counties. Although Texas does not have a statewide law against coal rolling, many counties in the state do, including Collin County where this incident occurred – and there is a way to report modified trucks.

    The rolling coal part is bad enough, but consider the distracted driving that was happening in the process as the driver also filmed the incident. The danger associated with rolling coal is high enough without worrying about autofocus on a camera: Last year, a teenager mowed down a group of six cyclists in Houston, Texas, while rolling coal over it. Four of the six had to be hospitalized, two had to be airlifted off the scene.

    Even without contact, rolling coal can cause serious harm to cyclists: black smoke can obscure vision and cause accidents, and if a cyclist is breathing heavily, smoke inhalation can also lead to breathing difficulties and potential accidents.

    Soucie then posted her video on social media. He was greeted with a few anti-cycling jokes, but was also spotted by members of the local cycling community. Quickly, as the video circulated, negative reviews and comments on his company’s Google page and social accounts began pouring in.

    Finally, the Star-Telegram reports see an apology video made by Soucie, where he says he did something “stupid”. He went on to say, “People can hate me all they want, they can dislike me all they want, they can badmouth me all they want, but when you start badmouthing a company, which doesn’t reflect what I do in my personal life, that’s where I draw the line. The newspaper also reported that the video is now inaccessible to people who are not his Facebook friends or has been taken down.

    He also noted, “It’s not like I hit the guy or swerved towards the guy.”

    We must tip our hats to for their stunning headline when covering the incident: “Texas Ford Truck Driver Rolling Coal On Bicyclist Blows Himself Up.” Excellent.

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