Yesterday, on my way home, after running a couple of errands in Old Towne, I had an altercation with a driver. I was riding north on a two lane road (Commonwealth Ave) when a car came speeding up from behind and approached to within 3 feet or so of my wheel. I looked back and singnaled for him to back off. He did, he then proceeded to speed up and get similarly close to my wheel again. This time I looked back, waved at him to stop and yelled to back off, I could see that he was yelling unintelligably and making all kinds of hand gestures. I continued to ride and then noticed the light green fender of his car directly beside my left knee (within approx 1 ft.) as he approached yet again and tried to bump or squeeze me off the road. He was approaching so that he could roll his window down and proceeded to tell me how I "should get off the f@&cking street", "get on the sidewalk", and that he had "built a bike lane for me and that I should use it". I tried to reply that, in the state of Virginia, a bicycle is considered a vehicle with the same rights and responsibilities as a car and that I had a right to be where I was and that use of the bike path is not mandatory. We exchanged words (I invited him to get out of the car--he refused), I told him that I would call the cops on him, then he said "the next time I see you I'll run your @$$ over!". He then turned and raced off. I got his tag and called the police about a block later.
The cops were quick to respond, sending three cars, and I explained that this was a vehicular assault and that I'd like to pursue this to the furthest extent possible. They took my information, went to interview him but were initially unable to locate him. One of the officers later came to my house and informed me that the driver refuted my account of what happened and that, if I wanted to pursue this, I would have to present my account of the facts to a magistrate who would then determine if the facts amount to probable cause, sufficient to issue a warrant. I also found out that a simple assault is punishable by up to a year in jail and $25k in fines.
So, I need to determine if this is worth pursuing. I think it is, if not for me, for all the other cyclists and pedestrians who may encounter this guy (I counted no less than 3 other cyclists immediately after this occured and no less than a dozen later in the evening, plus I'm out there daily and so is my girfriend). Although it may mean a sworn statement and potential court appearance, I'm inclined to do it as I feel I've got an ethical and legal obligation.
The irony is that this occured over about a block, he was within 3 or so blocks of home when this happened. Either he couldn't be inconvenienced by me that it might delay his arrival by about a minute or, as I believe is likely the case, he has a grudge againts cyclists/pedestrians and was out to prove something.
I'm curious to see what others think I should do and to hear from someone who may have done exactly what I'm about to do. Please respond, I'll let everyone know what I decide to do and/or what happens.