Paul Andrews

A second look at L.A. physician ‘bike rage’ case

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Commuting, Bicycling, Obama Bikes on November 7, 2009 at 1:12 am

Bike Radar has a detailed report on the “landmark case” of the LA physician recently convicted for doorstopping cyclists. We see the conviction as significant but not breakthrough, since intent is already (and has been for some time) a judicial threshold for culpability in cycling collisions.

A real landmark will come when conviction does not require intent. As it stands, drivers can injure, maim and kill cyclists and pedestrians without even getting a traffic citation. Typically a traffic ticket is the most that can be issued, under the thinking that “accidents happen” and the cyclist/pedestrian may have contributed to the accident (even if it’s just by being “invisible”).

As we’ve written repeatedly, real justice for cyclists is possible only when the system appropriately confronts, deals with and metes out penalties for driver fault in cycling accidents. For a fuller understanding, see our report on Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club’s efforts and its recent Traffic Justice Summit.

All the above said, it looks like Dr. Thompson will get his due. The judge denied bail on grounds the unrepentant and contentious Thompson remains a threat to cyclists.

As if to punctuate the issue, BikePortland.org notes results of recent study finding that you’re safer in a bike lane.

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