Abuse, racial slurs becoming normal for an Edmonton cyclist

Bashir Mohamed was cycling home when a truck behind him started to honk. He says a man got out of the car, upset Mohamed was on the road, and yelled a racial slur at him.

'This happens often, I have people yell and scream at me when I bike ... sometimes they resort to my race'

Bashir Mohamed films the man who he says called him a racial slur. (CBC)

Bashir Mohamed says he was cycling home when it happened. 

He was near the construction of the new arena downtown when a Ford truck behind him began to honk. Startled, Mohamed  stopped and the light in front of him went red. 

That's when the whole situation started, he said.

"The woman behind me rolled down her window and yelled 'Get off the f--king road,' Mohamad recalled. 

Mohamed says he yelled back, saying it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk.

"Then the scary part happens," said Mohamed. "That's when he said 'Get off the road you f--king  n----r.'

"It shocked me, I didn't believe I've heard those words, but he said them. So I started recording."

Warning explicit language: 
The man went back into the truck while Mohamed, standing in the middle of the road, loudly began questioning the man about what he just said. The man got out and walked towards Mohamed.
'They boil me down into whatever they want to see me as ... it's very dehumanizing.'- Bashir Mohamed

Mohamed asked him to apologize which the man quietly did when he came out the second time. But then he grabbed Mohamed's bike to move to the side. The man got back into the vehicle as a woman got out.

"Would calling you a piece of s--t work better," she yelled at him before taking a swipe at his camera.

Mohamed says events like this happen frequently.

"This happens often, I have people yell and scream at me when I bike and that's just because there are no bike lanes up here and I have to ride on the road," he said.

"Sometimes they resort to my race."

'It's dehumanizing'

While cycling, Mohamed said people have gotten out and tried to intimidate him, curse at him, throw things at him and spit on him. On occasion, people have used the n-word.

"It's dehumanizing. I'm the guy who has done everything right. I've studied, I finished high school, I got to university, I did four years of that, I'm now a public servant, I volunteer, I don't do drugs, I don't do any of that." 

"They boil me down into whatever they want to see me as, which by using that word they don't see me in a very positive way, it's very dehumanizing and I don't know where that comes from." 

Bashir Mohamed was cycling home when a man in a truck yelled a racial slur at him. (Facebook/Thomas Lam)

Mohamed said people usually don't believe him when he tells them these things happen so he decided to buy a camera and record his rides.

"It's very frustrating, there is no recourse. I feel that every person of colour should wear a body camera so that something is done about this." 

After Friday's situation, Mohamed brought his concerns to the police who told him that there was nothing they could do. 

"They told me that they couldn't do anything, it's not considered a hate crime because it wasn't violent. It's considered a hate incident, whatever that means."

Mohamed said police also told him that if they were going to charge the driver with any traffic violation they would have to charge him as well. 

Edmonton police have not replied to a request for comment.

Two CBC employees saw the incident and are co-operating with police


Mack Lamoureux is a reporter with CBC Edmonton. He's a lover of strange and odd stories. He counts writing about himself in the third person among his least favourite things to do. mack.lamoureux@cbc.ca, @macklamoureux