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MA cyclists have a recourse for dangerous drivers!!!!(15 posts)

MA cyclists have a recourse for dangerous drivers!!!!BDBike
Jan 29, 2002 9:49 AM
Although I am not sure What they will do, but I read in the Ride Magazine about this, all you need in the License Plate Number:

From the Massachusetts Department of motor vehicles (DMV):

Driving Complaint Form
This form is used to file a complaint with the RMV pertaining to the improper operation of a motor vehicle.

Complete the form, including all pertinent information. You may attach extra sheets as needed to complete the description of improper operation.

The form must be signed in order to initiate an investigation. You may be required to attend any administrative hearing conducted by the RMV.

Mail the completed form to the address on the form or hand deliver it to any RMV branch office.

This form can be downloaded from their site (
under the misc. section
Driving Complaint Form

I would like to know any experiences with this, and what people think....

At least its something...
re: MA cyclists have a recourse for dangerous drivers!!!!aka Cartman
Jan 29, 2002 12:31 PM
As a MA resident and Police Officer in MA, I think that the forms you describe will have little or no effect unless the driving is VERY BAD! I would assume that for the RMV to even open up a hearing, you would have to describe multiple motor vehicle violations, and if there was a hearing, be prepared to go to Boston. You could have the same or better effect to calmly go to your local PD, describe the incident, and offer to the officer to attend any court proceedings as a witness. The hardest thing in cases like this is identifying the driver - just because the car is registered to John Smith, it doesn't mean that he was driving. Even as a police officer, I have found the system does not work in your favor. I was at an intersection, and a driver exchanged words with me and I gave it back to him. He purposley tried to hit me with his car. I reported it, the driver was identified, and nothing was done. Now, it may have been a different story if I was actually hit, but with no harm done, don't hold your breath.
Concealed weapons permit is the recourse for dangerous drivers.mixinbeatz
Jan 29, 2002 12:48 PM
I have reported dangerous drivers before with no luck.
Now, I just carry a 9mm in my messenger bag to protect myself. Yes, I know that this is not the solution for everyone, but it makes me feel better. Maybe if more drivers knew that some cyclists are pistol packin looney tunes, they would give us a little more room. But please, check your local laws before lock and loading on your next ride.
Pistol Packin' Looniescyclaholic
Jan 29, 2002 1:25 PM
That pretty much says it all.

I cannot see how any logical person can see carrying a pistol as a reasonable way of dealing with the problems caused by the inevitable conflict between car and bike.

Some states may allow you to carry concealed, even on a bike, but that by no means gives you the right to use deadly force. In fact, any threat you make with said pistol is unlawful as well. Citizens may only use deadly force when they are confronted with a very direct threat on their lives. A threatening motorist must, at some point, make a very clear attempt to seriously harm or kill you. If they yell or gesture or threaten to throw something, whatever, that is likely NOT to reach the necessary legal requirement for a justifiable homicide.

I think that if you ever do get into a ugly conflict with a motorist, any good prosecutor would make the case to a jury that only a person itching for a fight would carry along a pistol while riding a bicycle. And even if the criminal case can't stick, an attorney arguing a wrongful death suit would definitely drive home the same point.
Ride to thrill.... Shoot to kill!!!!!!!!!mixinbeatz
Jan 29, 2002 2:44 PM
Actually in the last post I was kind of joking..... I have gotten into altercations with drivers before, kids throwing bottles ect... But I have decided to now take the peaceful route. The last time I approached a driver for being aggressive, he pulled a crow bar on me. I guess I should have taken notice of his various US Marines semper fi stickers on his car. His last words were, "If you are looking for trouble son, you found it." I gracefully talked my way out of the situation and I realized if I was carrying a gun, I could have gotten into a full out Hollywood shoot out. Better to avoid the situation, thus avoiding civil suits and an encounter with "Johnny law".
Pistol Packin' Looniesczardonic
Jan 29, 2002 5:16 PM
I do not condone shooting an agressive driver, or even carrying a gun in public.

However, I am pretty sure that a car is considered a "deadly weapon" when used to menace another person. Any bicyclist who has a reasonable (according to a judge) cause to beleive that a driver was trying to harm would be within their rights to respond with deadly force.
Pistol Packin' Looniescyclaholic
Jan 29, 2002 10:16 PM
First, let me thank Mixinbeatz for having a good and healthy attitude. There's nothing wrong - it fact, it's probably necessary - to show some level of aggression while out on the roads. Sometimes, you have to show others that you are taking your full share of space and of right of way.

I'm just having a difficult time knowing exactly when a direct threat to the life of a cyclist could be ascertained and then met with a pistol pulled out of a jersey pocket.

Verbal threats and gestures, while unlawful, do not give you legal standing to use deadly force. We can agree on that. Automobiles driven by properly licenced operators have a right to be on the road. A driver, while exercising this right, may come too close to comfort for you, presenting a threat to your life. But that lack of malice, or will to harm you, takes away your right to use deadly force.

Here's the real grey area:

Say you get in a conflict with a driver - who has a passenger as a witness - who is exhibiting threatening behavior (yelling, cursing, threatening) and makes a couple of feints _AS THOUGH_ he may hit you. Can you pull a pistol out and shoot to kill?

There's probably no judge or lawyer in the country who could give a definitive answer to this because, in such a case, you have to get into the minds of the players. A ruling in either civil or criminal court could literally come down to a word or two. Again, I would think that a good lawyer would pound home the point that any cyclist, carrying around a gun, is looking to use it.
Pistol Packin' LooniesRay Sachs
Jan 30, 2002 7:33 AM
I'm about as anti-gun as anyone, but if I carried one and somebody got at all serious about hitting me or forcing me off the road, I suspect I'd seriously consider shooting out a tire or two and then getting out of there fast. This could be a problem if they had a gun also and thought you were shooting at them, but otherwise could be pretty effective.

Legal fees up the wazzoo...kenyee
Jan 30, 2002 12:54 PM
Even if you did use one, you'd have to think long and hard about the legal fees. A criminal trial will run $100K in legal fees easily...even more if you have an aggressive anti-self-defense D.A. like you'd find in MA or CA or NY. Then there is the matter of trying to keep your job while all your time gets sucked up in the trial and trying to keep from getting fired because you're a "criminal". Your face will be plastered in the papers as a "gun toting wacko" because that's a better title for selling papers than "guy defends self from road rager". And you're assuming you'll be pronounced innocent. If not, you're doing jail time.

This goes for any altercation...even one w/ fists. Some of you probably heard about the hockey parent rager that killed some guy by accident. 6-10 yrs for Manslaughter. Even if he didn't get it, he was out at least a year's worth of legal fees. If you smash a driver's window and drag him out and beat him, it's still assault and battery (felony) and you're stuck w/ legal fees.

No one seems to mention this much...
Is there an option for "Drives Like A A$SHOLE"jrm
Jan 29, 2002 3:56 PM
No thats what i call retribution. i still think bad drivers should be strapped, taped, or stapled to a bike with no brakes. Then pushed either down a huge descent or through a busy intersection...
Jan 29, 2002 4:27 PM
You've got to be kidding......

I grew up in MA and there is no way in hell that the RMV is going to actually do anything, given that the cops don't even do anything about all the violations that occur right in front of them. You'd have to be awful niave to think that this would actually do anything. Given that enforcement is sloppy to non-existent and that nepotism and cronnism runs rampant you aren't about to change an entire culture of crappy driving. Filling the form out isn't worth the ink nor even the paper it's written on. Remember - you're dealing with Massholes.
Where some of the cops make their own ruleskenyee
Jan 30, 2002 12:41 PM
I've seen enough of them take lefts at no left turn intersections, blow through stop signs, blow through red lights by turning on their lights just through the intersection and then turn them off...

As usual, the bad apples make everyone look bad. Too bad we have so many bad apples in MA...

The RMV is more interested in booting cars so they can ticket them and get more revenue...
Sent an A.H. to tropical Deer Island, the system does work.The Phantom
Jan 29, 2002 7:07 PM
Years ago I was in an insident where a driver pulled out within full eye contact distance. ( wait till the last possible millisecond then stomp on it, squealing tires and all. I flipped him a bird in do respect after an evasive move.. He promptly did a 180 turnaround in traffic and came back after a group of six riders and ran the group down to push me off the road. The contact to the car damaged the paint with a nice swirling pedal scratch. I reported the incident to the Weston police who had the crime of the month and the time on the hands to go out an arrest the culprit in the middle of the night. He had to wait till Monday in the central holding black hole at Boston's answer to Alcatraz, "tropical" Deer Island. A judge grant bail to the hit and run driver, cost:$10,000. He lost his liscence for 180 days after a contested trial. Bike pedal, exhibit 'A', torn shirt, 'B'... A week later, he was arrested again for drunk driving on a suspended liscence, third offense. Automatic 3 months back in the slammer. Justice was served.
Sent an A.H. to tropical Deer Island, the system does work.Eric16
Jan 30, 2002 5:17 PM
I ride out of a college town in Illinois and every once in a while we get some idiots who think it's funny to throw stuff out of their cars at us (usually empty bottles and things) although this has never injured anyone, it could someday and we shouldn't have to put up with it anyway. Thankfully we have a defense against that moronic behavior. We just get the licence plate number, call the police, and tell them what happened. They'll call whoever the vehicle is registered to (which is ussually some idiot frat boy's parents) and tell them that their son could be charged with assult for throwing objects from his car at bikers. The parents freak out, yell at the kid, he gets scared and is ussually very apologetic...problem solved!
Too bad they closed Deer Island.grzy
Jan 30, 2002 5:53 PM
Though I don't see much wrong with storing them in the sewage treatment tanks that occupy the island now.

You gotta admitt the cops in smaller towns get a little bored! One must remember that they also tend to keep little black books with info on the local trouble makers. I know, my brothers and I made their list for a short while in our town. It's also nice that you had solid witnesses and evidence. I kinda doubt you'd get the same results via filling out a form and sending it in to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (a.k.a. Hell on Earth). It's also unfortunate that we're only treating the symptoms - one by one. Every year there's a fresh new crop of drivers who haven't learned much from those that came before them and do all the same dumb things.