Saturday, July 12, 2008

Drama on Mandeville

According to prosecutors, on July 4th, a physician driving on Mandeville intentionally slammed on his brakes in front of 2 bicyclists, causing one rider to smash face first into the back window of his Infiniti and the other to launch over the car onto the pavement. He faces two felony counts each of reckless driving causing injury and battery with serious bodily injury. This is a doctor, who took the hippocratic oath to never harm anyone. And this isn't the first time he's been accused of road rage against bicyclists.

I always hear about road rage between bicyclists and cars, but this story shocked me. After riding for over 5 years on L.A.'s streets, I can honestly say I never experienced a driver threatening my physical safety. The most I experienced was getting honked at while hugging the right side of the lane by a person with less than perfect spatial awareness. Drivers in L.A. are woefully uninformed about the laws governing bicycles on the streets. The Outdoor Urbanite has a great post explaining the laws that drivers and bicyclists must abide by. Some lesser known of these laws include:

Bicyclist Rights (CVC 21200)

Bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of vehicle drivers.

Yes, bicycles have a right to be in the road! Personally, my riding style is to pretend I am invisible and to ride as if no one sees me. Of course, these riders were intentionally targeted so that would not have helped me much in this instance. I hope the riders have a speedy recovery and that the driver is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

L.A. City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl (Council District 11) has called a public meeting, to address residents' and cyclists' concerns about Mandeville Canyon Road and Westside cycling issues in general, on Monday July 14th at 6:30pm at the Felicia Mahood Multipurpose Center at 11338 Santa Monica Blvd.


lisa durow said...

this is disturbing.

Heather said...

very upsetting my love. and to think that we bike there!