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View Poll Results: what's the appropriate response?
try to follow up with the cops 3 8.33%
call your local district attorney's office 2 5.56%
hire yourself a good lawyer 3 8.33%
I hear wonderful things about small claims court 1 2.78%
prank phone calls 0 0%
forget about it 25 69.44%
can't talk here ... 2 5.56%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-12-04, 12:33 PM   #1
jev
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Okay so the girlfriend and I are taking a leisurely ride around the neighborhood this past Saturday afternoon. We're crossing an intersection, walking our bikes, when a driver weirdly jumps past his stop sign, swerves past her (close, but I wouldn't have said dangerously close -- but then again, I wasn't really paying that much attention; I was just crossing the street), and yells some kind of frustrated obscenity (I heard more of a undifferentiated growl, where my girlfriend, who was obviously more engaged with the man at the time, seems to have thought that there were actual bad words spoken). She jumps on her bike and starts after the (eff)er. I only realize what she's doing seconds later, so, since I enjoy this sort of thing as much as the next guy, I raced after her and caught up by the time she got to the intersection the driver had just rolled through to take a right. We caught up with him at the red light he was waiting at, yelling into his cell phone to someone.

My girlfriend went to his passenger side and I rolled to his left. While she was leaning her head level with his open window to give him a hearty "(eff) you," I saw my clear opportunity to spit right on the guy's face (well, it was turned away, but ...). Since I didn't really feel invested in the conflict (not yet), I didn't spit, I just watched to make sure the exchange of profanity went smoothly. Anyway, lights turn green, so I speed ahead into the intersection. I heard the driver's retort to my girlfriend, an even more forceful, more frustrated "(eff) yooouu!!," and I only glanced back for a half second to make sure he wasn't getting out of the car to beat her up.

What I heard next was the guy revving his engine real fast as he sped into the intersection after me. (Really, I feel I must say at this point that in retrospect I feel like I had almost zero presence-of-mind in this situation.) I began to slow down. Before I had totally stopped, the car's front bumper had hit my rear wheel straight-on, taco-ing it beyond repair but leaving the frame and the rider intact. I didn't even fall.

I can't remember if I pulled myself and my bike out of the maniac's way, or if he had to back up, or if he just swerved around, but he was peeling out faster than I knew what was happening. Honestly, I'm so ******** that my only reaction was to raise my bicycle triumphantly as if this were Critical Mass or something. I guess that was my way of communicating to my girlfriend across the street that I wasn't paralyzed.

So anyways, long story short, we've got me, my girlfriend, two witnesses in a car, and a heroic bike delivery guy who managed to both remember the guy's license plate AND heap some more obscene scorn on him as he sped away. Call cops; decline EMS because I'm fine beyond a little muscle strain; and cops come to fill out forms and tell me to call this number, yada yada. This is what a joke 911 is in this town: the cops essentially helped start me along the arduous bureaucratic process that would eventually lead to my discovering the accident report and complaint report numbers, so that I can pursue whatever action, etc., etc. ...

Aren't the police going to pursue any action? No, there's no proof that the registered owner of the vehicle was the driver. (It doesn't help to point out that my girlfriend could make an identification of the driver.) The form the cops hand me says "leaving the scene of an accident." This seems to me a woefully inadequate characterization of the crime committed here. It seemed more like at least an attempted vehicular assault to me. (Ironically, I'm actually a lawyer, and I just looked it up and it seems like most every criminal assault charge in NY requires "substantial injury" to the victim as an element of the crime.)

So, here's my question: what should I do? I got the accident report and I have the guy's name & address, and I was able to find a phone number to go with it on google. Classmates dot com has a guy by his name that puts him at the right age to match my girlfriend's description of him. Anybody have any experience like this? Would trying to pursue legal action make sense? Any lawyer referrals? Anybody (more creative than me) got any other brilliant ideas?

Last edited by jev; 10-12-04 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 10-12-04, 12:42 PM   #2
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be careful posting about events that haven't been heard in court yet. even on a forum, things you say about the accident can be used against you. doubtful that it would happen, but just so you know.
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Old 10-12-04, 12:46 PM   #3
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You deserved what you got.
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Old 10-12-04, 12:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jev
Anybody (more creative than me) got any other brilliant ideas?
Yeah, get control of yourself and quit spitting on peoples windshields. Cyclist or not that was a totally lame thing to do.

Last edited by rykoala; 10-12-04 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 10-12-04, 12:51 PM   #5
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I believe that in this situation the best idea would've been to not chase the driver/spit in his windshield and let HIM be the stressed one yelling obscenities.

He would've just drove by, and be out of your lives, You laugh it off, and you're the wiser. Now you have a broken wheel, and some bureaucracy to take care of. The driver got an outing for his frustration and probably not a scratch on his bumper. Sure it was criminal and stupid of him to do this, and it can't be excused, but it could've all been avoided. Vengence draws vengence!
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Old 10-12-04, 12:51 PM   #6
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1, then 4. Keep cool, don't get involved w\drivers unless you have to.
People drive w\ guns and such, or as in your case, will use a car as the tool for the assault.

Nasty, sorry to hear, glad you and friend are o.k.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Fixer
You deserved what you got.
This must be flamebait. Sure, spitting on a guy's car for being a dick is not the wisest or most thoughtful thing to do in the world. Like I wrote above, I wasn't exercising very good judgment right then. But, come on, the guy intentionally hit a bike with his car! How can a bicyclist possibly defend that?

Last edited by jev; 10-12-04 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:06 PM   #8
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Yeah, get control of yourself and quit spitting on peoples windshields. Cyclist or not that was a totally lame thing to do.
Gosh, people are really much more sensitive about saliva on their windshields around here than I would have ever expected.

Last edited by jev; 10-12-04 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:09 PM   #9
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Yet another example of why it is better to not retaliate.

Instead of having a ruined afternoon, you could have had a nice dinner at a cool restaurant with the girl. But no, you had to hawker at the a-hole, and now you lost a wheel, had to spend an evening at the e-room, most likely seeing a parade of the most horrible excuses for human beings in new york, and now you want to continue your interaction with that creep?

Destroy his contact info, forget about him, and hold your saliva next time.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:19 PM   #10
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You state you are an actual lawyer, yet you are asking for referrals and whether trying to pursue legal action make sense.

In another post about spitting, you state; "I wasn't exercising very good judgment right then. But, come on, the guy absolutely intentionally hit a bike with his car!" The guy had not hit you with his car when you tried to split on him.

Am I missing something here?
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Old 10-12-04, 01:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jev
the guy absolutely intentionally hit a bike with his car! How can a bicyclist possibly defend that?
You also intentionally chased the f'er, and spit in his windshield. Sure they are more harmless then hitting someone with a car, but it was also a mistake. Look @ your own mistakes, even if they are smaller then other ppl's mistakes. Because he has more blame doesn't make you blameless. And DO think about the fact that this could've all been avoided.

Else, you could repeat this, and next time could be worse.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BenyBen
He would've just driven by, and been out of your lives, You laugh it off, and you're the wiser. Now you have a broken wheel, and some bureaucracy to take care of. The driver got an outing for his frustration and probably not a scratch on his bumper. Sure it was criminal and stupid of him to do this, and it can't be excused, but it could've all been avoided. Vengence draws vengence!
I agree with your read on this. The thing is, I really never was especially worked up about this. Certainly not as worked up as the driver. I was only following my girlfriend in a fight of her choosing -- I'm definitely more easy-going about bad drivers than she is. My only point is, if it were anything other than a huge inconvenience to somehow send a message to this fellow that it's a pretty socially unacceptable thing to run people over, then I'd think it were worth it.

I get the feeling that others who've said I deserve what I got are the kind of cyclists who suffer from a kind of Stockholm syndrome: they have come to identify more strongly with the oppressors, the motorists. Well, I for one refuse to internalize the mind-set promoted by the dominant mode of transportation. Just because cars are heavy objects in which their owners invest way too much emotional capital doesn't mean they can't be spat upon. Just because bikes take up less space doesn't mean they can be shat upon.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:34 PM   #13
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Gosh, people are really much more sensitive about saliva on their windshields around here than I would ever had expected.
No, but an attack of any sort on somebody whos already shown a lack of judgement is a lack of judgement in itself. Its like poking a beehive and trying to sue the bees when they sting you. Whatever. Get real.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:41 PM   #14
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I agree with your read on this. The thing is, I really never was especially worked up about this. Certainly not as worked up as the driver.
If you weren't so worked up then why did you spit on the guys windshield? To back up your girlfriend? Thats the lamest excuse I've ever heard.

Quote:
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Just because cars are heavy objects in which their owners invest way too much emotional capital doesn't mean they can't be spat upon. Just because bikes take up less space doesn't mean they can be shat upon.
So you're saying that if you piss me off, I can spit a huge loogy at your bike, and you won't get pissed off enough to do anything about it, because after all, "Just because cars are heavy objects in which their owners invest way too much emotional capital doesn't mean they can't be spat upon" must also mean that I can spit on your bike, too.

Just admit that you were both wrong and move on with your life dude. Next time show some common sense and leave well enough alone.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:43 PM   #15
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I get the feeling that others who've said I deserve what I got are the kind of cyclists who suffer from a kind of Stockholm syndrome: they have come to identify more strongly with the oppressors, the motorists.
In a way, yes.... because I was that motorist, some 30 years ago. I was angry at the world.
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Old 10-12-04, 01:50 PM   #16
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If you weren't so worked up then why did you spit on the guys windshield? To back up your girlfriend? Thats the lamest excuse I've ever heard.

So you're saying that if you piss me off, I can spit a huge loogy at your bike, and you won't get pissed off enough to do anything about it, because after all, "Just because cars are heavy objects in which their owners invest way too much emotional capital doesn't mean they can't be spat upon" must also mean that I can spit on your bike, too.

Just admit that you were both wrong and move on with your life dude. Next time show some common sense and leave well enough alone.
If you look back up at the original post above, you'll see that I've corrected the sequence of events, thereby obviating most of your argument. The story sans spitting is actually the version the cops got, which is just as likely true in the mind of the maniac driver, since he was busy yelling at my girlfriend at the time of the alleged spitting.

And, yeah, if I piss you off, you most certainly are welcome to spit on my bike, so long as it doesn't get on me and I can easily wipe it off, as is the case with the hypothetically spat-upon windshield.

I think you ought to admit that you spend more time pumping gas into your SUV than riding a bike.
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Old 10-12-04, 02:14 PM   #17
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I think you ought to admit that you spend more time pumping gas into your SUV than riding a bike.
Sorry man, I bike commute 5 days a week. I ride more than I drive.

I also think its interesting that you filed the police report and left out the spitting that you did. That speaks for itself, IMO.

EDIT: I think its really neat that you tried to make my arguments look dumb by editing your original post and magically leaving out the fact that you spat on his windshield. TRUE GENIUS at work here.

Last edited by rykoala; 10-12-04 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 10-12-04, 02:19 PM   #18
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gosh, what with the thorough and serious investigation they conducted, i'm just as surprised as you that they never asked
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Old 10-12-04, 02:24 PM   #19
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gosh, what with the thorough and serious investigation they conducted, i'm just as surprised as you that they never asked
That's right, don't divulge all the info, just start litigation and wait for the facts to come out in court.

One thing I do believe, is that you are a true lawyer at heart.
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Old 10-12-04, 02:26 PM   #20
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One thing I do believe, is that you are a true lawyer at heart.
that's quite a zinger, bush voter.
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Old 10-12-04, 02:46 PM   #21
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that's quite a zinger, bush voter.
why are you taking politics in here?

I think this is def blowing out of proportions. Jev. You can't control the actions of your gf. But perhaps you could've followed her to make sure she was allright. If you didn't perform an agressive gesture on an allready agravated driver things would've been fine. Spit on a windshield, who cares right? Well most allready pissed off idiots do.

You seem to want ppl to agree with you that this driver was bad and stupid. I totaly agree with that. You do NOT take a heavy vehicle and ram into someone else just because you're pissed off, I totaly give you that. But I think in the end you need to sit down and think about the fact that because of your gesture, you got in trouble. Yes he's an idiot, but you baited that idiot.
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Old 10-12-04, 02:51 PM   #22
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Why didn't you throw your bike into his windshield after he hit it?

Been there, Done that.
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Old 10-12-04, 02:54 PM   #23
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you made a fatal mistake. if your going to atempt to cover over a original post think it through!

In your very first post that some of us got to read you said you spit on the guys windshield and then said this:
"What I heard next was the guy revving his engine real fast as he sped into the intersection after me. (Really, I feel I must say at this point that in retrospect I feel like I had almost zero presence-of-mind in this situation.)

that made sense!

but then you changed it in a attempt to not look bad. and now it makes no sense

heres why:

1 if you were just sitting there making sure things went smooth then why did he chase you?

2. if you did nothing but sit there then why would you say "you were out of presence of mind"?

oh thats right cause you spit on the guys windshield!

no one should try to hit anyone with their car but Dude you egged it on and I think you should just count yourself lucky he didnt hurt you!



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Old 10-12-04, 03:06 PM   #24
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Should have just left the idiot alone with his misery. You brought everything that followed on yourself. If you hadn't spit you wouldn't have gotten hit.
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Old 10-12-04, 03:22 PM   #25
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why are you taking politics in here?

I think this is def blowing out of proportions. Jev. You can't control the actions of your gf. But perhaps you could've followed her to make sure she was allright. If you didn't perform an agressive gesture on an allready agravated driver things would've been fine. Spit on a windshield, who cares right? Well most allready pissed off idiots do.

You seem to want ppl to agree with you that this driver was bad and stupid. I totaly agree with that. You do NOT take a heavy vehicle and ram into someone else just because you're pissed off, I totaly give you that. But I think in the end you need to sit down and think about the fact that because of your gesture, you got in trouble. Yes he's an idiot, but you baited that idiot.
BenyBen, I think we're basically agreeing here. I definitely would counsel against doing exactly what I did -- it's cost me over a $150 so far, and I didn't get anything out of it except a (mildly) interesting story, and a bone to pick. I completely accept that this could have been avoided, should have been avoided by me. So I'm completely accepting responsibility for my actions.

What I'm having trouble understanding about the knee-jerk it's-your-fault reaction here is that these bicyclists seem to think that it's incompatible to think that you can both take responsibility for your own fault in a situation, yet still justifiably want to hold the other person responsible too. My girlfriend didn't just take after that guy because she didn't like his face, he was driving dangerously and aggressively towards her. Of course, we can agree that the best way to deal with such a person in any given situation is to avoid their path -- I certainly learned my lesson there. But people like that kill bicyclists and pedestrians anyway, regardless of their attitudes. Now, I'm not suggesting that spitballs are the ammo bicyclists need to fight road rage, or that telling bad drivers to eff off is somehow effective anger management. But I am firmly of the opinion that guys who intentionally crash their cars into bikes need to have their drivers licenses taken away.
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