Andrew Danly shined at the Hoodoo 300 cycling race in Utah with his record-setting win. Michael Conti photographed Andrew’s route with hundreds of snapshots, but one image went viral for the most unexpected reason.
As Andrew rode down the highway, a diesel pickup truck passed alongside him and released a giant mass of black exhaust. Michael snapped a photo as it happened and later posted it on Facebook so all the world could see. “All the sudden there’s this big bloom of smoke comes out of the exhaust and covered Andrew in black smoke,” he wrote.
In the photo, the men in the truck appear to be looking back at Andrew, laughing at his expense.
Andrew and Michael teamed up and sent the photos to the Utah Highway Patrol and a local attorney, hoping to identify the driver. “It doesn’t feel good to know someone is trying to cover you in black soot and up there laughing and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Andrew told CBS Local.
Unfortunately, it seems “rolling coal” is a nationwide trend. This happens when pickup truck drivers modify their diesel engines to increase the amount of fuel entering the engine so that they spew a black cloud of thick smoke on cyclists or pedestrians they pass.
One Facebook commenter feels the viral photo is all one big misunderstanding. “The truck slowed down when it approached the cyclist, that’s exactly what he should have done. When it was safe to go around the cyclist, the truck sped up. The amount of exhaust produced by the acceleration is nothing the driver had any control over. He was looking out for the safety of the cyclist and was not intentionally rolling coal on him.”
Another commenter, however, begs to differ. “Actually they do have control over that smoke. People are making adjustments on purpose to ‘roll coal’ and it’s not only obnoxious but it’s dangerous because it cuts out visibility in traffic.”
Andrew and Michael hope the photo serves as a warning for everyone to follow the rules of the road.