LA Road Rage – Dr. Guilty on All Counts
VeloNews posted an article on the fate of Dr. Thompson, who was involved in an incident this past July 4th, where:
two cyclists hit the rear of Thompson’s car; one slammed through the rear window, the other catapulted over the car into the road. In the earlier incident, the cyclists said they narrowly avoided hitting the rear of Thompson’s car.
found guilty of six felonies and one misdemeanor and could face as much as five years in prison.
This case is a sad example of road rage gone wild. While I’m sure the cyclists did play a role in provoking the good doctor, either through words that were being exchanged or through their actions, I can think of no reason someone should act in a manner which is dangerous towards other people. Perhaps some of the most damning evidence came from LAPD traffic investigator Robert Rodriguez, who recounted on the stand that:
Thompson said, “I just live up the road. I was driving to go to work. The bikers were in front of me, three across. I honked my horn and yelled ‘ride single file.’ The bicyclists flipped me off and yelled back. I passed them up and stopped in front to teach them a lesson. I’m tired of them. I’ve lived here for years and they always ride like this.”
I’m certainly glad to see someone, who committed an assault, be held accountable for his actions. I do fear, however, that few will take away any lesson from this trial. Dr. Thompson’s actions speak to how real road rage is these days, how careful we all must be, and how it’s critical that cyclists remain cognizant of their relationship with other road users. In no way do I condone or defend the actions of Dr. Thompson, but I do believe we, as cyclists, need to be willing to come to the table, ready to listen to the complaints of motorists, and willing to patiently explain our road needs until motorists understand and accept the fact that the road CAN be shared by all users.