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I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!(32 posts)

I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!Strong66
Jan 21, 2002 8:15 AM
Hi Last Sunday, I was on a training ride, riding in a bike lane when all of sudden I felt an intense pain in on left glut. It turns out a car with a bunch of teenagers decided to throw and hit with a flashlight at 40 mph. After riding at 30 mph and a little luck with traffic lights I caught with them a mile & half down the road, I had some words, memorized the make of the car and the license plate and description of the kid who likely hit me. After riding home I called the cops and filed a report. The cops traced the license plate to teenage in the area, but were unable to lift fingerprints of the flashlight. The cops would like to charge the thrower with felony reckless endangerment, and my wife would like me to drop the charges.
My wives reasons are the cops would just slap the kid's hands, and maybe anger them to retaliate against another cyclists or myself. My perspective is they did this to me and I do not want them to do it again to anyone else, but what would prevent them from doing it again? I know teenagers do impulsive things, but I also know what they did is dangerous and could fatal consequence if they did it again. What would you do given the current justice system?
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!Elefantino
Jan 21, 2002 8:33 AM
I would encourage you to file charges. This was, as you correctly point out, a potentially fatal "prank." The chance that this might anger them to do it again is a non-argument. If they are irresponsible and just plain bad kids they will do it again whether they are charged or not. If they are just kids playing a prank, it will teach them a lesson.

Also, if they are convicted, they'll likely get off with probation, but if they do it again it means jail time. Let them laugh that one off.

But, more importantly, you are a hammer. Chasing them down at 30 mph. Way to go.
Throw the book at 'emmr_spin
Jan 21, 2002 8:39 AM
Not charging them because you don't want to "anger" them is pathetic. It's the same as giving the school bully your lunch money every day in hopes that he won't beat you up.

You can kill someone by throwing a flashlight at them at 40mph. KILL! Luckily for you, he missed your head. Any punk who has that kind of reckless disregard needs to be taught a serious lesson. Dropping it in the hopes that he won't get mad only puts more people at risk, including non-cyclists.

You have a responsibility to prosecute this guy. Don't listen to your wife.
I think you have to go after themcory
Jan 21, 2002 9:08 AM
I can understand your reluctance, but the other posters are right--if something bad doesn't happen to them, they're likely to keep on doing it.
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!BDBike
Jan 21, 2002 9:14 AM
Press Charges,

Maybe you can recomend to the judge to have them sweep, up the local bike paths for community service to rid them of all the Glass and other things.

As a fellow cyclist if the were to ever retaliate then they would also be on file. and I for one would be upset if you did not press charges

Nail 'em. (nm)speed-chump
Jan 21, 2002 9:16 AM
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!MJ
Jan 21, 2002 9:16 AM
if it hit you in other places it could have resulted in a serious wreck either directly or indirectly - it''s the equivalent to pulling up beside you and hitting you with a baseball bat - it was intentional and the action was designed to cause you harm (after all you don't hit someone to see what they'll do!)

the reason you have to go forward with it (regardless of the outcome) is that next time it will be someone else - the outcome could be worse could be a child - someone who's not strong enough to chase them down and take appropriate action - in one sense you owe it to every other cyclist to press charges as far as is possible - good on the cops for taking your case seriously

sorry that happened to you - best of luck - keep us posted
press charges nmgtx
Jan 21, 2002 9:34 AM
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!LC
Jan 21, 2002 9:50 AM
The only thing you teach them by not pressing chages is that they can get away with stuff like that.
Your duty as a citizen! Just do it!John S.
Jan 21, 2002 9:52 AM
A few months ago I posted about a similar incident I was involved in. Without going into details I can tell you our cases are about identical. My riding partner and I decided to press charges and they were arrested. During questioning one got so stressed he admitted doing it and they all ended up pleading guilty to reckless endangerment. They will be sentenced very soon. Even if they get pissed and take it out on other cyclists or any other person for that matter, it will now be on their record and the next time they interact with law enforcement they will be dealt with differently. I think it is our civic responsibility to step up and report crime. It may be a hastle and you may have some fear about doing it but it is our only hope of trying to keep the street safe for cyclists.

You may also be doing a kid a favor by putting them in a situation in which they have to confront their choice of friends and behavior. How many of us make difficult changes in our lives without a little preasure. I know ther were some lessons that I had to learn the hard way. I'm just greatful that I am teachable.

It is the right thing! Just do it!
They're Undoubtedly CowardsRich Clark
Jan 21, 2002 10:17 AM
Kids who get into anonymous violence while in groups always are.

Of you press charges you should then know who they are and where they live, and who their parents are. This information can be shared amongst your own friends, family, and the local cycling community.

This is empowering knowledge; enough, I'd think, to counter whatever threat you might feel from them regarding possible retaliation.

Kids in cars attack cyclists because they don't understand that we're athletes and extremely strong-willed. They see "bike" and they think "wimp" because they're stupid. It's up to us to demonstrate otherwise.

Last time this happened to me -- an asshole flicked a lit cigarette at my face from the passenger window of a pickup truck -- I did what you did, and chased him down. (Nothing equalling your 1.5-mile sprint, but I felt prtty good about it.) Just having me show up outside their window scared them enough to make them back down and apologize, the driver actually turning on his passenger and whacking him upside the head. I let it go, since I wasn't actually hurt.

Most of the time I let stuff go, because I ride to avoid stress, not create it. But the sort of cowardly action you describe demands a response, IMO. I wish I could help.

re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!LLSmith
Jan 21, 2002 10:19 AM
Your wife is wrong.If you don't go after them they may not think twice about doing it again.They need to learn that what they did was very dangerous and wrong.
Book'em Dano. . .js5280
Jan 21, 2002 10:51 AM
You need to proceed w/ this. This kids could of killed you and if don't do anything, they'll think they can get away w/ this type of behavior. Worse case, they can't be charged, well the cops will probably have them in their database and not let them off next time they get pulled over. The charge may be filed but even if doesn't sticks, it helps. If they get pulled in for questioning, you can be sure they will tell their friends about their experience which will be a deterrent for both them and those that hear their story. That's almost as good as them being charged. Sounds like the cops are on your side, so take advantage of it. The only downside (probably your wife's view) is fear that these teens might be vindictive which is always a risk. Unless they are really bad apples though, I don't think that risk is likely. Most people straighten up after a scare from the law.

How does having your riding partner affect this? Can they not be a witness or are they not impartial because they are a cyclist? Seems like in auto accident, it doesn't matter if a witness is also in a car. Is this the case?
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!xxl
Jan 21, 2002 11:41 AM
Yet another posting in favor of pressing charges; if not for yourself, for the next rider, the next time. Plus, it truly helps the cause to use the system to get police to take this sort of thing seriously. The fact that your local PD did is really a credit to themselves as well; you owe them your cooperation.
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!Ikus
Jan 21, 2002 12:17 PM
You have to press charges. You may not have been their first victom. I had some kid spit on me from a passing car filled with teens. I finally ran into them a few hours later at a red light. I got the plate number and went to the town police. These kids had been causing trouble all day. The officer was more than happy to talk to these kids about the dangers involved with doing crazy things to cyclists. Good luck.
Absolutely !!coonass
Jan 21, 2002 12:29 PM
You could have been killed ! If they had knocked you senseless (or unconscious, you may have swerved into traffic and gotten your @ss ran over, then you could have been maimed for life or dead. If that flashlight had hit you in the eye, you could have been permanently blinded....(those punks would have laughed for years)....File charges, consult an attorney and see if you can sue their @ss the other 'repliers', "If you don't get their names in the police records, they will certainly do it again"....DON'T take "I'M SORRRRRY"...the only thing they will be sorry for, is for getting caught!!!! DON'T LET THOSE B@ST@RDS GET OFF SCOTT-FREE!!!!
Ask your wife if she would like to get hit by any object, at any speed?
(sorry for sounding off, but it gets lonly here in the asylum.)
re: Put 'em in the systemTurtleherder
Jan 21, 2002 1:04 PM
I agree with the other posters and especially John S. As an attorney who occasionally works in the juvenile justice system I can give you a little information as to the likely outcome. First, the police will take your statment and issue a citation or if you have an agressive states attorney, a pick up order. With the pick up order the kid will be arrested and placed, at least overnight, in a secure juvenile facility. He then will be released to his parents care pending trial. If it is a first offense the kid will probably only get probation because there was no injury. But if he already has a record he may be sent to the state juvenile home for long term care (juvenile prison). At the very least, what charging the kid accomplishes is to get a record on him so that if he does something else in the future he will not be given another chance. This kid needs a wake up call before he moves up to causing serious injury to someone.
re: Put 'em in the systemDavid Feldman
Jan 21, 2002 1:45 PM
Agreed, and in many states if the "juvenile" is 18 or close, it could be the first of three "strikes."
Jan 21, 2002 2:19 PM
Someone needs to spank the kidskenyee
Jan 21, 2002 2:51 PM
They obviously have no regard for their fellow human beings and their parents never instilled any in them. As others have said, if you don't spank them, they'll just take it as a license to do it again, and again, until someone gets hurt (but then they'll probably just laugh and get away with it). I hope your wife realizes this; if not, you should try to explain it to her. Some people just need a good spanking...
talk to the local DA!!rusty McNasty
Jan 21, 2002 4:20 PM
the driver, even if he didn't throw the light at you, knows who did. That makes him an accessory to a felony assault. He'll give the name of the goon to the cops in a second. Tell the DA that you want a full prosecution for assault, and will contact the local media if he doesn't charge them with the fullest charge possible. You can always back out later, but don't do it now. Let the @$$hOle $h!t bricks in the hoosegow for a few weeks first!!!
Press the Issuegrzy
Jan 21, 2002 5:16 PM
If nothing else word will get around with their friends that you can get caught and face some problems. Most likely it will prevent other kids from doing the same thing. Sure the kid that gets nabbed is going to be sore, but he's going to look pretty stupid among his peers for retaliating against something wrong that he did. He created the situation and was stupid enough to get caught and now he's mad at you? What if he gets caught again - then he's going to look really stupid. To be sure there are a few rotten kids with nasty attitudes and are headed for a career behind bars, but most are not. At the very least his parents will find out and he will be in the dog house for quite sometime and with any luck he won't be driving around with his buddies for quite a while. He knew it was wrong and he did it anyway - now it's time to pay his dues. The other thing is that the driver can possibly be held responsible as well and will be really pissed at his buddy if he gets in trouble as well. Had a cop seen him there wouldn't even be any discussion. You can bet that the kid is really hoping to get away with it. If he doesn't have a record he'll get off fairly easy, but if he does have a record then this is another data point that he has a problem.

Personally I've had enough stuff thrown and yelled at me that I wouldn't hesitate for a moment. I'm impressed that you didn't go ballistic on him. Use the legal system - people driving and riding in cars have to show consideration for those riding bikes. Be glad that you're getting that kind of support from the legal system - it doesn't always work that way.
If your local authorities are willing then do it.Leisure
Jan 21, 2002 11:44 PM
As far as these kids work it's entertaining to endanger someone's life without consequence. They're much more likely to continue their behavior if you don't press charges.
FILE CHARGES! Scare the little BASTARDS from doing it again(NM)James
Jan 22, 2002 12:27 AM
Press charges!DrD
Jan 22, 2002 4:03 AM
Without question I would press charges - they need to learn a lesson now, before they hurt or even kill someone with their "pranks"

What would have happened if they missed you and the flashlight lodged in your front wheel?
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!morey
Jan 22, 2002 4:39 AM
I have been hit with a Grapefruit and a beer bottle, both knocked me off the bike and caused numerous abrasions. I was also hit by a hit-run driver in 1992. I was hurt this time quite badly. These can be fatal incidents. Burn them if you can! I would have no mercy!
Press Charges: NMvitusdude
Jan 22, 2002 5:51 AM
Press charges for all of US who...biknben
Jan 22, 2002 7:08 AM
Press charges for all of us who have tried to chase down a car in a sprint but couldn't catch up. You been given the opportunity we all wish we could have. Many of us have been in that same situation or worse but were not able to get a plate number or police cooperation.

Do it for US...please!!!
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!SnowBlind
Jan 22, 2002 10:09 AM
Press charges!
Now the tough bit is the wife. I just reminded mine that this is the "worse" part.

I got puched by another cyclist showing off for his girlfreind. Damn cops wrote the report so badly the DA fingered ME not the other guy. Report says I beat myself up. Neat trick.
Turns out DA is some snotty 23 bimbo that can't read a police report, and is too scared she will get fired if she just drops the charges.

$1500 dollars later I am still fighting the DA.
As a bleeding heart liberal and criminal defense atty,morrison
Jan 22, 2002 10:32 AM
I make the following observations:

Most kids are more freightened and terrorized by a law enforcement investigation and interrogation then they are by any subsequent court proceedings. By the time the case winds its way through the system to the point where sentence is imposed, there is very little lesson left to be taught.

That does not mean, however, that you should let this go. I would make the following suggestion: Guage the situation for yourself. Call the cops, and without getting into any particulars, ask if the kids have criminal records, histories of delinquency, etc. If so, press charges (they clearly have not gotten the message) If not, call the kids' parents. Meet with them, explain what happened, explain the dangers their behaviors created, and let them know that you expect for them to do something about it. If the parents are good parents, they will listen attentively (they may be defensive at first, but this usually wears off once they understand the severity of the situation).

I would then take it one step further. Let the parents know that you are inclined to press charges, but might be convinced to back off if they show that they get the message. A previous poster suggested community work service, like sweeping glass, etc., out of the bike lane. I think that's a wonderful idea. If the parents and kids are willing to commit to something like five consecutive weekends of bike lane maintenance, and the kids actually live up to their end of the bargain, I would leave it at that.

Here's why: In most states, the sort of charges that could be brought in this sort of situation are very serious. In California, they could be saddled with 'strike offenses,' and certainly could be charged as adults. That is a very draconian consequence for an otherwise 'good kid.' It can prevent someone from getting into college, going into the military, or finding employment.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one. However, I used to be a delinquent, and if I had been forced into the court system as a teenager, I don't think I would be where I am today. Kids make mistakes, and have horrible lapses of judgment. 20 years ago, those 'mistakes' were handled differently. Now that we have computers and instant access to information, a criminal conviction can literally ruin an otherwise productive and promising life.

I am glad you are o.k.! Let us know what you do.
re: I Need Perspective on Car Vs. Bike!nn23
Jan 22, 2002 5:16 PM
I'd agree with morrison all the way.

Yes we want that the kids realize that what they did was very wrong, and also scare the shit out of them, so they never do it again. Sure pressing charges will also set an example for other kids, but it could ruin the kids career.

Chances are they are not "bad" kids, and what they did was an exception. Talk to the parents first. If they are suitably impressed with the seriousness of the situation and try to make amends (multi week community service etc) let it be. Otherwise go ahead and press-charges.
Follow through....DINOSAUR
Jan 22, 2002 10:38 PM
As a retired law enforcement officer I would absolutely recommend that you follow through with this.

Good kids make bad mistakes, but good kids do stupid things and kill people also.

Chances are nothing will become of this anyway, no independent witnesses (are there?) no physical evidence.
However a good interrogator could get one of the kids to roll over and identify the perpertrator (as in "Lets Make a Deal").

The lesson of dragging them through the judicial system will teach them a valuable lesson, and that is to be accountable for your actions. I've seen so very, very many young life's snuffed out at an early age because someone decided to do something that was absolutely stupid.

Chances are this might not even make it to court. However please let us know what happens. We all ride the same type of roads, this could happen to any of us..

Glad you are O.K.

By the way~ in Ca they can have their juvenile record expunged when they turn 18. The only thing that could hurt them is if they wanted to pursue a career in law enforement (if they are found guilty). Most (if not all) law enforcement agencies make you sign a release in order to obtain your juvenile records (if you have any).

If this was something like they just threw the contents of a iced soft drink at you, I could see dropping it. But a flashlight? There is no justification for doing that, you could have been killed...