Doctor Jekyll Drives in LA

For those who may have missed this incident (and I just heard about it yesterday), we have this story of a doctor in LA who allegedly used his car as a weapon against two cyclists on July 4. It seems pretty clear that he intentionally tried to cause these cyclists to crash. I won’t even get into the whole doctors-with-god-complexes issue. This wasn’t his first offense, either, and the police not surprisingly did nothing after the first complaint was filed against this guy back in March.

Before I even pose this question, a disclaimer so no one mistakes my meaning: I am in NO WAY excusing what the doctor did. I don’t care what the cyclists were doing, there is no excuse for intentionally using your car to injure someone (ok, maybe if you’re being abducted at gunpoint and you crash your car to get away… but I digress).

So a question: Should bicyclists be riding two abreast like this, on a narrow road with no shoulders? According to Oregon law, you are allowed to ride in the traffic lane if you are moving at the same speed as the traffic. I don’t know what California law is on this issue, but from what I read and heard in the video, it doesn’t seem like these guys were riding at the same speed as traffic. I’ve seen people do this in my area as well, ride side-by-side which is all well and good if they’re in the shoulder and it’s wide enough to accomodate two riders. 

Personally, I am opposed to this riding side-by-side when the road is too narrow, the same way I would be annoyed if someone was driving along at 15 mph lower than the rest of the traffic because they just wanted to take a leisurely drive. Intentionally riding in the traffic lane knowing you are impeding traffic when you could easily move over and let the cars go by is rude, arrogant, and dangerous. Bicycles do not have special rights, they have the same rights as cars. Common courtesy, people, common courtesy.

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About D. D. Syrdal

Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Kobo.com, Smashwords. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.
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10 Responses to Doctor Jekyll Drives in LA

  1. Pingback: Health Bread » Daw Suu receives visits from lawyer anddoctor

  2. You make a good point. I don’t think I would ride two abreast when there is no shoulder. Perhaps early on a Sunday morning, when there are practically no cars. But, if I heard one coming, I would get over quickly.

    That being said, it is unbelievable what that guy did! Just, wow! Like you said, I get a little annoyed when a car is going way below the speed limit and blocking traffic, and I’m sure this guy would too. But, I doubt he would pull in front of a car and slam on his breaks! So why on earth would he do this to cyclists that don’t have a half ton of steel to protect them? Crazy.

    How do you find these articles? I worry that after reading too much of these, I may not think clearly if I were to fall victim to a motorists road rage.

    To raise the mood, this is funny:
    http://failblog.org/2008/08/19/bike-fail-2/

  3. Digital Dame says:

    I was nearly (albeit not quite) speechless when I read what this sorry excuse for a human being did. And his lawyer’s comment about “regretting charges have been filed”… Ya think??? I bet he’s damn sorry about that little point. I don’t know where I find this stuff, I seem to home in on anything to do with bikes these days.

    Loved the sign to “Watch for Bikes” blocking the bike lane. Priceless 🙂

  4. Evo says:

    Should bicyclists be riding two abreast like this, on a narrow road with no shoulders?

    Probably not. But what really pisses me off is that they ride on sidewalks (which is illegal) and then blame you when you almost hit them, coming out of a driveway! You can’t have it both ways.

  5. Digital Dame says:

    Hi Evo,

    You’re absolutely right, and that’s why I am all in favor of some kind of public education campaign for cyclists. Sidenote: there was a great discussion on CommutebyBike.com about the issue of riding on sidewalks, and it is legal in many places. Personally, I don’t think cyclists should ride on sidewalks, and I certainly don’t like to for the very reason you mentioned. I did it once to get around a US Postal Service truck that was blocking the bike lane, and the traffic in the road was too heavy to go out around the truck. I rode the sidewalk just to get past the dang mail truck, and then back on the road in the bike lane for me.

  6. Nick says:

    You should see what happens over here in NL; if two people are riding togehter, they ride side by side – whether they’re on a bike path or a road, and that happens however narrow the road. But nobody seems compelled to knock them over.

  7. Digital Dame says:

    Hi Nick,

    Good to hear from you again, I lost your blog when you moved it!

    I think US drivers are just so accustomed to having the roads strictly for cars. Is the general pace of life slower over there? Everyone here is always in such a rush. Maybe in NL they realize being stuck behind a couple cyclists for a short few minutes isn’t going to bring life as they know it to a screeching halt. And I still think part of this guy’s issue was that he is a doctor. Doctors and lawyers are a special breed of control freak.

  8. Doctors live by the dictum:
    First do no harm … unless you’re in a really big hurry.

    Clearly, bicyclers should not be riding two abreast. On the other hand, though, if there are two of them, most motorists would notice, and not punish them by ramming them with a car.

    Where I live, which is one of the motorcycle hotspots of the world, bikers often ride two abreast. Sometimes three or four abreast, even. Man, the driver’s great temptation is to just floor the gas. But most of us resist.

    So you’re raising a good point, but, despite your disclaimer, it’s in the wrong context. We call that: blaming the victim.

  9. Digital Dame says:

    Heya Ex,

    I suppose I should have treated each aspect separately. One is cycling technique, the other is road rage. I find it interesting that it seems to be only here in the US that bicyclists are fair game in this new blood sport, whereas in other countries ( for instance see Nick’s comment above), and others I have heard from (in Italy, Wales, Canada) cyclists don’t seem to offend anyone. Maybe it’s just a learning curve here in the US, as they get used to more bikes on the road. After reading another blog this morning with some really acidic comments directed towards cyclists, I am less and less inclined to find any fault with cyclists, regardless of how they ride.

  10. Jasmine says:

    It’s totally rediculous that they ride their bikes like that on narrow roads. There’re plenty of roads with bike lanes they could ride on. They do this crap all the time, and they cause accidents, because they’re sitting there going 15 mph blocking the road, and cars pass them, often then hitting other cars. If I were walking slowly down the middle of the road, no one would be shocked if I got hit. I’m rather peeved that everyone is canonizing these two bikers who’re very likey just as much jerks as the driver of the vehicle was.

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