If THIS incident does not “rise to reckless” what does?
CHP Investigation Report, Recommendations: none.
Cited for unsafe passing, CVC 21750(a). He will receive one point on his driver’s license.
In our 11/11/17 post, Father and Daughter Cycling – Hit and Run in Castro Valley, on 10/8/17 one of our members was cycling with his daughter after refereeing a soccer match in Castro Valley. At a 4 way stop he extended his left arm to signal a left turn when from behind an Acura TSX swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid him, hit his extended hand and quickly accelerated away.
CHP “presented” the case, including our video deconstruction of the incident, to the Alameda District Attorney on 11/29/17. CHP recommended reckless driving charges. The DA decided that the incident did not “rise to the level of reckless.”
In the investigation report the driver states that he saw the cyclists before the incident so he “drove to the left of P-2 to pass his location.” He saw the cyclists enough to risk crossing the yellow line and endangering oncoming traffic, a clearly dangerous move, but said he had no idea that our member cyclist had his hand outstretched to turn left, and had no idea he hit his hand. He heard our cyclist yell when he was hit but just drove away. Here is his statement from the police report:
“P-1 stated he saw P-2 and a female riding with P-2, within the roadway, near the center of the roadway on Somerset Avenue. P-1 related P-2 was stopped within the lane with other approaching vehicles driving eastbound on Somerset Avenue. He had no idea P-2 was preparing to turn left onto San Miguel Avenue, and drove to the left of P-2 to pass his location. P-1 heard P-2 yelling at him as he drove past P-2’s location and continued driving home. P-1 further stated he was unaware V-1’s windshield had hit P-2’s hand, and thought P-2 was yelling at him because he had passed P-2.”
Our deconstruction of the cyclist’s video evidence clearly documents that our member only yelled in pain when he was hit. The driver states he heard our member yell “as he drove past P-2,” therefore he heard it when he was right next to our cyclist but he claims he had no idea he hit our cyclist and just accelerated away.
Part of our incident analysis is to determine where our legal system fails to provide cyclists equal protection under the law. In our other recent Castro Valley incident, Breaking News: Woman Cyclist Assaulted and Battered in Castro Valley by at least three people driving at 50 miles per hour. the same CHP office handed the case over to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) who quickly investigated the incident, also using our video deconstruction, and within 9 days officially “submitted” assault charges for all three occupants of the vehicle to the exact same Alameda County DA’s Office. CHP, on the other hand, “presented” this case for reckless driving to the DA and asked what they should charge? The difference is that ACSO definitively decided and officially submitted their recommended charges to the DA after their investigation report. Then it’s up to the DA to agree with the charges or change them but the ACSO is on the record as officially submitting assault charges.
CHP asked the DA what they should charge instead of officially submitting their recommended reckless driving charges and then leaving it to the DA to agree or disagree. If CHP officially submitted their recommended reckless driving charges then cyclists would know CHP believes cyclists deserve equal protection under the law and that it was the DA’s conclusion to not charge anything. Sadly this is not the first case of Castro Valley CHP not charging a driver for an egregious incident. Our “On View” precedent had the same outcome.
Our 10/4/17 research article documents “the number one reason why people do not ride a bicycle is because they are afraid to be on the road with motor vehicles.” Jurisdictional uncertainty regarding equal protection under the law for cyclists further justifies this fear.
We propose rating communities by Jurisdictional Risk. If a cyclist, following all the rules of the road, is hit by a driver who admits swerving into traffic to avoid the cyclist and no charges of reckless driving, assault and battery or hit and run are filed then the jurisdiction might not be safe for cyclists. If a cyclist in the same community is intentionally threatened with a 5,000 Dodge Ram pickup truck then we might conclude there is high jurisdictional risk for cyclists in that community.
Please add your thoughts on this topic by adding comments below this post.
One thing is certain: if he did not ride with a camera absolutely nothing would be done to the assailant.
Always ride with a camera and submit all of your egregious near miss incident reports to our free Incident Management System
Please be sure to ride with a camera and submit all of your egregious near miss incident reports to our free Incident Management System so you can track, analyze, update, and map your incidents. Once your incidents are entered all cyclists will be able to search for those specific license plates to identify repeat offenders, hopefully before collisions occur!
We work with our members, law enforcement and government to establish legal precedents ensuring law enforcement accepts cyclist video evidence, without a collision, to cite and prosecute egregious near miss incidents such as this case and the Glendale, California assault case on our home page.
Even if law enforcement refuses to enforce the many California Vehicles Codes and Assault and Battery in this case, our Incident Management System will always have highly detailed information on this incident in the event this driver repeat offends. It’s much more difficult for law enforcement to refuse to enforce the laws when you can supply a pattern of behavior.
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Wishing you safe cycling!
Why does someone have to get seriously injured or killed to change dangerous driving behavior? We know there is a problem with dangerous driving behavior so why not address it before someone dies? Is it too logical? This lack of concern for public safety has developed a culture of dangerous behavior and risk taking among drivers since they can get away with it. Please lets change this “wild west” atmosphere by prosecuting behaviors that kill and maim. People respond to consequences.
Time and time again our justice system works against our most vulnerable road users, cyclists and pedestrians. Our justice system offers the least protection to those most likely to get injured in a collision. Point a gun and you are in jail, but kill a person while driving and you are free. It is outrageous and disgusting! Listen to this Freakonomics pod cast for the Perfect Crime–killing someone with a car without consequences–http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-perfect-crime-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/.
I am particularly disappointed in the CHP since we have been working with them for years. They still seem to lack a spine when it comes to the most vulnerable road users. They took a month to investigate without a strong recommendation to the DA. It is a tactical error to ask the DA for recommendation rather than give them one. By contrast, the Sheriff took 9 days to investigate and make a strong recommendation to the DA. Please let us discourage dangerous driving behavior by prosecuting it. The DA should be ashamed of themselves. We need to change our DA.