Bicyclists from around the world were awaiting the sentencing of Dr. Christopher Thompson today for the road rage incident that happened in July 2008. After many letters and emails to the judge, he ultimately sentenced Dr. Thompson to 5 years in prison for the assault on the two cyclists, sending a strong message that cars and bicyclist must share the roads in a civilized manner.
The accident occurred on Mandeville Canyon Road in Los Angeles. Scenic roads are famous for bicycle lovers for their good work out as well as shady trees for comfortable riding. Dr. Thompson testified that while driving to work two cyclists had flipped him off and yelled profanities to him only when he suggested that they ride single file on the windy road. After these words were exchanged, Thompson then sped in front of the cyclists and slammed on his brakes. One cyclist was slammed into the rear window of Thompson’s car; breaking his front teeth and causing several facial lacerations. The other rider crashed onto the sidewalk and suffered a separated shoulder.
Thompson had experienced two prior incidences before this accident and had told officers after the crash that he was going to “teach them a lesson”. Recently other canyon residents had complained that cyclists were ignoring stop signs and riding side by side. However, this does not justify the escalation in violence that occurred that day.
Bicyclists are a frequent victim of intentional and negligent actions by drivers. If you want to consult with a personal injury attorney specializing in bicycle accidents call Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie at 1 866 981-5596 or see our web site devoted in bicycle accidents. We can help if you call and the call is always free.
Nationwide there were over 43,000 bicycle injuries with about 715 deaths in 2008. Two-thirds of the deaths are due to traumatic brain injuries, normally caused by the cyclist not wearing a helmet. Since drivers and cyclist must share the roads together, let’s look at some safety guidelines to ensure fewer accidents.
With the increase in bicycle accidents, the California Department of Transportation has compiled a list of safety guideline for any cyclists commuting or riding for pleasure.
· Wear a helmet! 92% of all bicycle injuries involve a motor vehicle · Always ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it · Ride in a straight line · Ride to the right if you are slower than the other traffic · Stop at red lights and stop signs · If you’re riding at night, you must have a white light on the front of your bike that emits 300′ from your bike. In addition, you must have a red reflector that is visible 500′ from the rear of the bike. Lastly, Mount white or yellow reflectors on your pedals for added safety.
· Wear bright colors in the daytime · Keep a safe distance from parked cars · Use proper hand signals when turning or changing lanes · Use extra caution when its raining and allow for extra stopping time · Cross railroad tracks at a right angle · Walk your bike across a crosswalk · Don’t wear headphones while riding · Keep your bike maintained properly · Ride defensively.
James Ballidis is a personal injury attorney specializing in bicycle and auto accidents in Southern California. Call for a free consultation at 1866 981-5596 for your accident needs.