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  1. #1
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    Conflict between bicyclists, motorists boils over in Brentwood

    Los Angeles Times, today


    Conflict between bicyclists, motorists boils over in Brentwood [California]
    Two experienced riders are hurt on Mandeville Canyon Road in what police describe as a 'road-rage incident.' L.A. councilman calls for a meeting on the issue.
    By Martha Groves and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
    July 9, 2008
    Discuss Article (190 Comments)

    Bicyclists who crave a steady uphill climb flock to Mandeville Canyon Road and its 5-mile, straight-shot ascent with no traffic lights.

    But the route's rising popularity has turned the narrow road into a zone of conflict for Brentwood residents and the hundreds of cyclists who, every weekend, brave its twists, turns and tree-root bumps.



    *
    LAist: "Road Rage Motorist vs. Cyclists on Mandeville Canyon Road"

    The frustration boiled over on the Fourth of July. In what police describe as a "road-rage incident," two experienced racers on a holiday outing that attracted about 300 cyclists were riding down Mandeville Canyon when a motorist in an Infiniti sedan slammed on his brakes in front of them. Police said the resulting impact propelled one rider through the car's rear window and sent the other to the pavement.

    Police arrested the driver, Christopher T. Thompson, 58, on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon -- his automobile. Thompson, who lives on Mandeville Canyon Road and is an owner of a medical documentation company in Woodland Hills, was released on $30,000 bail.

    Capt. Bill Eaton of the Los Angeles Police Department said the case could go to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office as early as today.

    Peter Swarth, Thompson's attorney, denied that his client had done anything wrong and said the cyclists' account was inaccurate. "This isn't an incident of road rage," Swarth said. "It is a very unfortunate accident. Dr. Thompson hopes for the injured cyclists' recovery."

    Cyclist Ron Peterson, 40, whose head crashed through the car window, suffered broken teeth and serious cuts on his face, including one that left his broken nose dangling.

    The other cyclist, Christian Stoehr, 29, said he suffered a shoulder separation that would require surgery.

    Photos showing a car's shattered window and what appears to be a blood-covered trunk and a cut-up Peterson on a gurney and in a UCLA Medical Center bed were quickly posted on Internet blogs, prompting outraged e-mails among members of Westside riding clubs.

    Peterson and Stoehr said they were starting their descent toward Sunset Boulevard when a fellow cyclist crashed into another rider's bike and was injured. The two remained behind to help.

    After paramedics arrived and loaded the cyclist into an ambulance, Peterson and Stoehr said they continued to descend, riding side by side at about 30 mph.

    Peterson said he pulled in front of Stoehr after a driver behind them honked. The car passed them, missing their handlebars by less than a foot, Peterson said.

    The driver "yelled out some profanity and 'Ride single file,' " said Peterson, who works as a cycling coach. Peterson, riding a $5,500 Specialized racing bike, screamed an expletive at the driver. At that point, the driver veered directly in front of the riders and "slammed on his brakes as hard as he could," Peterson said.

    Peterson's head slammed through the window. Stoehr, meanwhile, said he tried to steer around the car but clipped it with his bag or a foot. "I ended up being catapulted over my own bike and landed in front of the car," he said.

    According to Peterson, the driver emerged from the car and said he was a doctor. But "from that point on, he never offered any help," Peterson said.

    Thompson's biography on the website of his company, Touch Medix, says he spent 29 years as an emergency department doctor. He earned his medical degree at the University of Oklahoma and has for years consulted on issues relating to medical documentation.

    Wendy-Sue Rosen, president of the Upper Mandeville Canyon Assn., described Thompson as "a great guy who has been active in the community." His wife, Lynne, is on the association's board.

    "People here are very, very angry at bicyclists and their disregard for the laws of the road," Rosen said, adding that residents had reported being spat upon by cyclists.

    Charles Mostov, a lawyer who lives on Mandeville Canyon Road and is an avid cyclist, said the incident had prompted some much-needed conversation.

    Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the area, said he had called for a meeting within the next two weeks of residents, cyclists, traffic engineers and police to discuss the issues and to reinforce the fact that "cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear."

    Cyclists urged members of their community not to use the incident as an excuse to act aggressively toward motorists.

    "As more people take to the road because of gas prices and the economy," Mostov said, "maybe this is an opportunity for some outreach and for dialogue so that we can get along."




    http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-bi...tory?track=rss

  2. #2
    jur
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    Similar thing happened in Sydney, only this idiot did it in front of a whole peleton, causing about 50 riders to crash. He got scared and raced off but was arrested later.

    Only thing, over here the cops are namby-pamby and won't press charges like assault with dealy weapon. More like reckless driving which gets a much lighter sentence if any at all. The cyclists are suing him for damage to bikes as well but they are not holding their breath as this hoon has very little income.

  3. #3
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    Like many cyclists I have suffered from motorists opening passenger doors in front of me, parking in bike lanes with impunity.

    I also 'fess up to doing things like advancing a bit into a junction while a light is red to get a quick getaway. But. But.

    There are rules of the road, and if they need to be changed, then they should be negotiated publicly. And one, I recall is that you should be able to stop if the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly, for whatever reason.

    I think a peloton in front of a race is different to a cycling on a pubilc way and thinking everyone should get out of the way, and that cyclists have some kind of privilege. Cyclists kill people like this.

    Now one option here would be for there to be dedicated hours for hill climbing on this stretch (and I'm guessing, btw, that some of those climbers drive to the spot to make the climb) eg very early in the morning. And shouting expletives, whatever the rights and wrongs is a dangerous thing to do.
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Its rare that I have personally expereinced road rage that was not first initiated by a crazed motorist. But, I do remember one popular hill climb. So popular club riders would go in mass. That area in northern San Diego county, locals started a police monitor of the cyling clubs . This time a hot dogger race club was in the wrong. The riders would not ride single file on these narrow roads. It was frustrating for local residents. In this instance, I did not blame them. / This popular LA climb. Might the cyclists have behaved in the same manner? / In San Diego, with a little police intervention, the cyclists eventually learned some manners. / One of the few times in my cycling life, I came down critical of my fellow cyclists.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living






    ^ Since January 1, 2012

  5. #5
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
    Its rare that I have personally expereinced road rage that was not first initiated by a crazed motorist. But, I do remember one popular hill climb. So popular club riders would go in mass. That area in northern San Diego county, locals started a police monitor of the cyling clubs . This time a hot dogger race club was in the wrong. The riders would not ride single file on these narrow roads. It was frustrating for local residents. In this instance, I did not blame them. / This popular LA climb. Might the cyclists have behaved in the same manner? / In San Diego, with a little police intervention, the cyclists eventually learned some manners. / One of the few times in my cycling life, I came down critical of my fellow cyclists.
    As both a driver and cyclist which many of us are on this sub-forum, what you say above makes perfect common sense. I have come across arrogant cyclists riding double file on narrow rural roads and not moving in who have an FU attittude.

    I don't know the full details of the case above and whether they were ridng 'two abreast' on a narrow road. However the comment from Wendy-Sue Rosen would appear to justify that road-rage and dangerous use of a car is OK when provoked. This doctor was an educated man who lost all rational behaviour in his cloud of anger and also broke very principle of his Hippocratic oath as a medical doctor. He might even have had reason to be upset but what he did after that has no justification at all.

    Even when I'm cycling in London some aggressive motorists get wound up that they have to sit behind me even when I'm hugging the kerb to shift lane or overtake. Or they come out of junctions and ignore me and most of all do not give way on roundabouts to cyclists. Having said that my worst hazard is London by far is pedestrians!

    There are irresponsible motorists, cyclists and pedestrians out there. I'm delighted to see the police in the case above are using the 'assault with a deadly weapon' angle. I've long believed that truly reckless drivers, road-ragers in vehicles and teenage joyriders who kill or main people should be prosecuted under this where the law allows. Or the law should be passed to cater for it.
    Last edited by mulleady; 07-10-08 at 03:58 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    ^. Even if the cyclists were in the wrong, that does not justify assault with a deadly weapon. The fact it was a popular hill climb struck my memory of what I have experienced in popular other 'hill climbs.' Heck. Two abreast. I have seen cyclists on what they thought a country road, four abreast. Rare, but still too common. Lets hope that council session will act to resolve some issues between the two sides./ Maybe more motorists hear about the possibility of being charged with use of a deadly weapon, they might cool their jets.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living






    ^ Since January 1, 2012

  7. #7
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    I think these are all fair points. A car is a deadly weapon, and using it in anger is bad. But, you know, maybe we all as cyclists need to recognize no matter how steep the climb, how much momentum we might lose, that on a public highway, we could at any time have to jam on our brakes, and come to a stop, and that is a correct and proper thing to do, and we should cycle in anticipation of that, just as we should drive our cars likewise.


    Coincidentally, Naomi Alderson in today's (UK) Guardian wrote :".....anyone who drives regularly in London can confirm that cyclists can often be dangerous. Because it's hard to regain lost momentum on a bike, they are often tempted to jump red lights, or swerve on to the pavement unexpectedly to avoid traffic. I've generally ascribed this to the aura of self-righteous smugness that surrounds the regular cyclist: they seem to feel that what they're doing is so good for their bodies and the environment that the normal rules of the road can't possibly apply to them. They are not causing pollution, therefore nothing that they do can be harmful...."

    Now, those who drive regularly in London kill more people than cyclists. But for our own pr, never might doing no harm, we need to be careful about our behavior.
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  8. #8
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
    Peterson, riding a $5,500 Specialized racing bike, screamed an expletive at the driver. At that point, the driver veered directly in front of the riders and "slammed on his brakes as hard as he could," Peterson said.
    This might not have happened if the cyclist had kept his mouth shut.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  9. #9
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
    This might not have happened if the cyclist had kept his mouth shut.
    Maybe not but it doesn't justify what happened after that does it?

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    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    It doesn't justify what happened afterwards, very true. But cars have brake lights, and even slamming on brakes as fast as one can takes a distance. Supposing a kid ran out into the street, in front of the car, or the cyclist ? Not saying thats what happened here, but we all need to be able to stop rapidly, in car or on bike, right?

    Seems to me, unless there is something we don't know about the case, there must be regrets all round, and that this is a very sad case. Its a lesson for me, whether riding or driving to keep my anger under control - a moments red mist, as mulleady has said, and a lifetime's regret - for more than one person.
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  11. #11
    Member mplee's Avatar
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    GG, i think you're way off base here. assuming the cyclists' account is accurate, and in my experience as both rider and driver it has the ring of truth, then the driver intended to harm the cyclists by braking sharply. if that's the case then it is not a traffic condition that an experienced cyclist could anticipate and therefore your argument of being able to keep the bike under control doesn't hold water.

    also, at least in my local jurisdiction, riding two abreast is legal and at any rate, according to the cyclists account, they moved to single file when they heard the approaching auto honk. clearly more patience and discretion on both sides would have averted the horrible end but it is just as clear to me that the driver was at far greater fault than the cyclists.

    ** mp **

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    I also posted this on the Road Cycling board.

    Conflict between bicyclists, motorists boils over in Brentwood

  13. #13
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    mplee, maybe you're right that the guy intended harm. Probably, even; then the courts will give him what he gets (but see below). But maybe he just intended to make them have to jam on their brakes, and stop on their climb, which might piss them off royally, but is a different category of crime. Maybe it is a UK thing, but if you rearend someone here it is automatically your fault, because you should be able to do an emergency stop. An experienced cyclist must anticipate an emergency stop at any time, surely. That is a traffic condition that prevails all the time except perhaps in formally organized race. And for me I can't understand how the speed was great enough to cause this damage yet still allowed profanities to be exchanged.

    Now, I would reiterate, drivers kill more than cyclists. And I may be a devils advocate here, and in the wrong - I have been influenced, for sure, by a case yesterday where a guy on an MTB killed a girl my daughters age shouting words to the effect "get out of my way cos I 'm not stopping". He was fined 2000. No jail time, no assault with a deadly weapon for him. Maybe I am visiting my anger at him on the California guys.
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

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    The Metropolis, UK
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    Now, I would reiterate, drivers kill more than cyclists. And I may be a devils advocate here, and in the wrong - I have been influenced, for sure, by a case yesterday where a guy on an MTB killed a girl my daughters age shouting words to the effect "get out of my way cos I 'm not stopping". He was fined 2000. No jail time, no assault with a deadly weapon for him. Maybe I am visiting my anger at him on the California guys.
    Absolutely agree that cyclist should be done on the same pretext as the driver in America. He's guilty of intentional manslaughter and had made it clear beforehand that he was not going to slow down or avoid the people in question including the poor girl who was killed. Typical of the UK justice system to let him off with a simple fine.

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    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulleady View Post
    Maybe not but it doesn't justify what happened after that does it?
    Of course not.

    I think its better to avoid a problem than to get into one that is ultimately someone else's fault.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

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    More updates on this on the Road Cycling board:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...64#post7044364

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    It pretty much boils down to arrogance and the belief that your rights trump all others, on both sides.

    There's a similar route in the Oakland hills where the spandex racer wanna-be's frequently ride two and three abreast. Every time someone gets splattered it's automatically blamed on the car driver. I had a conversation with someone who frequented the place and asked him that if I encountered a group of cyclists on a blind curve with an on-coming car at the same time, if I should have a head on collision to avoid the bikers. He just looked at me like the answer was obvious. Seemed pretty upset by my answer.

    This behavior isn't relegated to the roads either. My wife and I do a 25-30 mile ride on the local bike trail once or twice a week. There's a couple of gaggles that come through two abreast regularly. One woman actually tried to push me aside. I've contemplated bringing a bit of broom handle to place smartly through the spokes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    It pretty much boils down to arrogance and the belief that your rights trump all others, on both sides.

    There's a similar route in the Oakland hills where the spandex racer wanna-be's frequently ride two and three abreast. Every time someone gets splattered it's automatically blamed on the car driver. I had a conversation with someone who frequented the place and asked him that if I encountered a group of cyclists on a blind curve with an on-coming car at the same time, if I should have a head on collision to avoid the bikers. He just looked at me like the answer was obvious. Seemed pretty upset by my answer.
    If you round a blind curve, find a slow-moving vehicle in your lane, and can't avoid it without swerving into the oncoming lane, then you took the curve way too fast. If you've seen cyclists climbing the hill before in that lane, and you plan to keep taking the curves at speed in the future...
    Can you blame the guy for thinking less of you?

    (By the way, I agree that if there's room to share the lane, then the cyclists should go single-file on a climb and let other traffic pass. But you could just as easily encounter a single cyclist who is taking the lane for any of a variety of reasons. Hopefully he/she will be able to pull right and let you pass soon, but in the meantime, it's still your responsibility not to overdrive your sight line on a curve, no matter what the speed limit is.)

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