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I have started trying to memorize the license plates of cars while I ride, just in case I ever have to do it in the heat of battle.

I've never really had any trouble with my commute out here in the burbs, but reading stories like this makes me think it might be prudent to get a helmet cam.

I hate to say it, but even with a full license plate and description of the driver, I'm not sure MPD would issue criminal charges. I know this type of situation has happened before, but I've never heard of an outcome in which the driver was actually held responsible.

I hope the driver is found and that he is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Isn't intentionally hitting someone with a car considered "assault with a deadly weapon" or even "attempted homocide"? Stuff like this makes me sick.

More likely the charge would be something similar to 'vehicular assault', but in my experience MPD usually tries to just treat it as a standard hit-and-run/property damage unless the victim is seriously injured or killed.

Until the laws change, it's best to get into single file or even pull over to let insane people like them pass you and get on with their miserable lives.

Contact your city councilman to enlist an ally in motivating MPD to seriously sanction a dangerous person.

Yes. Contact your city councilman so that you can get a canned response in six weeks on a completely unrelated topic ("sorry about the pigeon problem on your street!")

Isn't this what Tony Kornheiser suggested people do. ‘Just tap them with your car and see what happens’. Ideas have consequences. Thank God the cyclist didn’t pay for it with his life or a long term injury.

I think connecting the incident back to Tony Kornheiser's comments would be very productive from a public awareness perspective.

Finding a prosecutor willing to charge this as what it is, attempted homicide, would be wonderful but highly unlikely.

Unfortunately, people have a dangerous tendency to behave like they are in a middle school cafeteria when they get behind the wheel of a car, and culturally we seem willing to accept and forgive this tendency. It also tends to be true everywhere that private automobiles are the dominant mode of transportation. I don't know that there is much chance this will change appreciably without a major shift in the way people think about both travel and communities. Which, for now, seems unlikely; deeply frustrating as that may be.

I wonder what would be different if the driver had behaved this way to someone driving a car? I think everyone's insurance companies would have a field day with the situation.

Lucky for the person that he/ she is still alive!

Wouldn't it be great if sceptics who think that police departments don't really care about the well-being of the citizens they are charged to protect would be proven wrong? I am up for it!

Greater Greater Washington tweeted about it and so did I, sending it to Kornheiser's show and ESPN.

Note also that this a residential street, the sort of street that you should expect adults and kids to be riding on, or doing other activities. When you hear complaints about cyclists blocking traffic on major roads, point them to intentional assault on residential streets and ask WHERE we are supposed to ride.

My suggestions, as a lawyer
1. Document everything, including photos, and get witness statements ASAP.
2. Go to a doctor immediately and document your injuries
3. Call a bike lawyer like Bob Mionske (link on this page) who can help or get you in touch with the relevant people who can help.

Getting everything together and presenting it to the police will show that you are serious and might make them more active, especially since if they are not, you can send it to the Chief, the Mayor, City Council, and the media.

were you crossing against the light?

Oooooh, that is some excellent trolling, beatbox!

Don't forget about the tort system.

Hello all, I am the cyclist who was hit yesterday evening on 1st street NW. Thank you all for the well wishes, and at this point I am more angry than injured but am quite sore today.

Some have commented that I should have moved over and let him go around. That would have been impossible as I was approaching the stop sign at R Street with cars on both sides.

One commenter asked if I was crossing against the light. I was not. I was in the street approaching the stop sign. The driver slammed on his horn and accelerated into me. Its as straight forward as that.

What is really important here is as a bike community we try to identify this reckless driver. So if you see a black 2000ish VW Jetta with a roof rack with Maryland tags beginning with 9FF please call 911 and reference case number 045-591.

And thanks again for all the kind words!


Isn't this what Tony Kornheiser suggested people do. ‘Just tap them with your car and see what happens’. Ideas have consequences. Thank God the cyclist didn’t pay for it with his life or a long term injury.

Posted by: D | April 08, 2010 at 01:19 PM"

Do you have any understanding of the difference between correlation and causation?

What kind of roof rack was on the car?

Scary this happened and so close to home! I bike up and down Rhode Island Ave all year round and have had incidents with cars, I always think: its a 3 lane road can't people just share??!!! I'll keep my eyes out for that vehicle while I still live up here

Now all what called Tony Kornheiser begins to happen.
This cyclist should sue Tony Kornheiser for $1M, because all was happened in connection to that stupid show.

A similar situation happened to me with an SUV riding right behind me (eventho I was going with the speed of traffic) laying on the horn. When I turned, she was screaming obscenities, etc. I called 311 with her license plate number -- and they told me they could do nothing. Said it's best to call 911.

Would it be possible for WashCycle to follow what happens with this case? I'd like to pressure the city to prosecute something. I mean, they have enough info to find out who it was.

It's an unfortunate incident. However, once bikers actually obey the traffic laws instead of blowing through stop signs and red lights, etc., you will have a leg to stand on. DC drivers are jerks but the bikers aren't any better in this town.

So, JS, when someone assaults and nearly kills you, I expect you will STFU and accept it until we've made sure that there isn't somebody, somewhere, that didn't deserve a beating. Truly some impressive morality, there.


O2 wrote:
Do you have any understanding of the difference between correlation and causation?

The entire business model of radio is based upon the idea that there is causation between what people hear on the radio and how they act. Otherwise there would be no value to the advertising. For radio personalities to claim that their words don't really affect what people do is preposterous.

There have been numerous studies that have show that cyclist break no more traffic laws than drivers. (when was the last time you drove 55 on the beltway??) Cyclist and drivers "bend" different laws depending on what is perceived as safe by each party. So to your point. Yes, DC drivers are jerks, but the cyclist arent any worse either,

Can somebody tell me what "blow through" means? It sounds pretty aggressive to me - as in, no slowing down, no looking both ways, just riding through without a care. Maybe I'm wrong, though, and I understand that the law is the law, but I know that plenty of motorists slow down and don't completely stop at stop signs - and, frankly, I don't know a lot of cyclists who approach stop lights and signs without some level of caution. I know I do when I "blow through" stop lights.

So if you see a black 2000ish VW Jetta with a roof rack with Maryland tags beginning with 9FF please call 911 and reference case number 045-591.

Please tell me this was a bike rack... Too awesome...

@Todd, do you have a physical description of the driver?

This morning, some jackass in a BMW SUV tried to gun it around me in the intersection. I was biking my kindergartner to school on a trailer-bike.

So, he was stopped behind us, floored it from a stop, gunned the engine and squealing the tires, came up beside us, and then had to slam on the brakes or crash into us or a parked car - all within the distance of the intersection. Scared the bejeezus out of my daughter.

It was as JS would say, nearly an unfortunate incident.

@KillerV So glad you & your daughter are okay. I thought it was scary enough drivers pull that shit around us "reckless" adults, but a kid?

Killer V: do you know the difference between a BMW and a porcupine?

Thanks. Unfortunately, my daughter's virgin ears took a hit, but OTOH her vocabulary got a bit more expansive...

My favorite is when I get cutoff by an SUV with a "child on board" sign in the back. Nice!

WashCycle, make sure you note JS's IP address. He might be the perp.

I commute this way often and a similar thing happened to me on that very same block, but it didn't go that far. drivers get so angry on this block because there is usually not enough room to pass during rush hour because of oncoming traffic. Little do they know that unless they go 80 up the street, they're not going to get to rhode island on time to catch the green light.

If bicyclists are going to use the roads together with motorists, the cyclists should be licensed drivers, insured and liable for the same laws of the road. Doing less than speed limit which impedes the flow of traffic is selfish and rude.

This is a residential street, not a thoroughfare. Why are drivers surprised that it is congested? I understand that they might be trying to avoid traffic on the main roads, but that is no excuse.

Doing less than speed limit which impedes the flow of traffic is selfish and rude.
And the appropriate response to perceived selfish and rud behavior is assault? Come on.

Keyser Sose,
I use the road with motorists and as long as I do, I'm liable to follow the same laws of the road. I'm not really sure additional benefits licensing would give the public at large outside of another DDoT income stream. As for insurance, I'm not sure what public benefit that offers either. I understand the necessity for vehicular collision insurance when ton-plus cages of metal can do serious damages. I don't think bikes are quite on the same scale. Oh, and just to cut off your expected reply, bicyclists already pay for the road we ride on through income and property taxes. We don't have to pay gas taxes to do our part.

"Doing less than speed limit which impedes the flow of traffic is selfish and rude." Right - any cyclist who cannot maintain 25-35 mph should not be on the street! I guess only pro cyclists should be allowed to ride. Other cyclists - like the amateur cyclist for Bahati Foundation who was killed by a driver yesterday <http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/04/news/charges-likely-in-bahati-riders-death-driver-was-street-racing-official-says_111130> are fair game for drivers. Silly me - I thought I was decreasing the traffic problem by commuting to work by bike. I now know that I contribute to it by not maintaining 25 mph.

Keyser Sose: that number on the signs is an UPPER limit, not a lower limit, nor a suggested average speed. Besides that
1. Attacks occur on cyclists doing at about the speed limit, or even exceeding it.
2. It's a residential street with a 25mph limit. Y'know, kids, cats, dogs, old folks walking around, parked cars. Do a Google Maps drive: the few blocks leading up to the place in question has a "deaf child" sign, numerous cross walks, closely packed houses, driveways, and on-street parking.

If you think 25 is too slow, stick to a freeway or move to Texas

Washcycle: has anyone raised this situation with Gabe Klein?

So does that mean I should be allowed to engage in violent behavior at all those pesky cars in my way going 5 mph on the congested streets of downtown DC? They are, after all, in my way...

@ ontarioroader: I unfortunately was on the ground in disbelief when he got out of the car yelled at me. I heard his voice more than I saw his face.

@ Keyser Sose: In this case we were about 10 feet from a stop sign, therefore there was no way my bike was impeding the flow of traffic. Unless he was planning on running through the stop sign.

Todd: a number of the witnesses are coming forward on other blogs. For example http://bloomingdaleneighborhood.blogspot.com/2010/04/bicyclist-struck-by-car-near-big-bear.html#comments

says that there have been many similar incidents in that area, and a witness gives her email address.

Seeing this story makes me glad every day as a cyclist I relocated away from the East Coast to the wilds of Wisconsin six years ago where I'm more likely to hit a deer or bear. But good luck Todd. Hope the perpetrator is found. And if you ever get sick of that area the cycling here is awesome and so are the cyclists and 99.9 percent of the few drivers you'll encounter on our quiet back roads.

Last month I got threatened with a billy club while riding my bike. I told the guy that he almost hit me by running a red light. His response was to get out his billy club

Riding is getting dangerous. I fear that a driver will kill a biker this summer.

Thank you for posting your story. I also use 1st NW to commute to and from work and I will be much more cautious in the future. For the folks that don't use this road: The lanes on 1st are fairly wide. There is enough space for driving cars, parked cars, and me - so long as we all 'share' the road. I have had a number of bad experiences, but nothing as bad as Todd. I've been yelled at, sworn at, someone reached out the window (passenger side) and grabbed my handlebars and pushed me sideways, and I've been touched as well. (And I really don't like having my butt patted by a stranger).

Todd, please keep us up to date on the status of your case. I will keep an eye out for the Jetta. I will also speak to my ANC, maybe we can get a bike lane marked?

I was just INTENTIONALLY hit on my bike last weekend at the same intersection (Florida and R - I live on Florida and Quincy)! The car threatened me at Rhode Island and Fl and then hit me when he caught up on R and Florida.

I'm lucky I didn't fly off my bike.

I filed a police report but didn't get the plate.

Is there anything else I (or we) can do?

The only thing I can think of is to follow up on the case. Did you get a plate #?

I would think with a partial plate they'd be able to find this guy, but was that not the case?

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