This Is What Passes for Traffic “Justice” in America

The "mob" was actually a group of people on bikes trying to flag down a motorist who had hit one of their friends and driven off, dragging his bike. Image: <a href="http://www.10news.com/news/driver-bicyclists-tussle-in-normal-heights" target="_blank">KGTV San Diego</a>
The “mob” was actually a group of people on bikes trying to flag down a motorist who had hit one of their friends and driven off, dragging his bike. Image: KGTV San Diego

Here’s a great example of how American law enforcement tends to produce perverse results when it comes to traffic collisions.

A cyclist in San Diego was hit by a driver and managed to avoid more serious injury by jumping off his bike. Prior to the incident, the motorist had been honking repeatedly at the group the victim was riding with, according to this report from KGTV San Diego.

Although she struck a person, dragged his bike for blocks, and only stopped when confronted by the victims’ friends, the driver will receive no ticket and face no criminal charges. In fact, one of the friends who chased the driver down may be charged with a misdemeanor for banging on her window and breaking it. In KGTV’s telling, that makes the cyclists a “mob” and the whole incident “a tussle” between them and the driver.

That’s how it goes on American streets: Harming a person with your car carries no penalty but harming someone’s car most definitely does.

Hat tip Shane Phillips

  • So some potential pervert invades some guys privacy with a low flying drone over his home. The guy shoots it down with a shotgun. Do they arrest the drone owner? No they arrest the victim.

  • jd_x

    I’ve been saying this for a while, and I’ll keep saying it: we need a national or local bicycle advocacy group to develop a legal arm and sue the sh*t out of these police departments. This is *clearly* discrimination in all its traditional ugliness and thus seems like an easy win. I feel like the bicycle advocacy organizations have not used the legal arm at all and this is a missed opportunity. Just look at what the environmental movement has been able to accomplish through lawsuits …

  • AcapulcoTacoPie

    Yeah why not? Worked for these folks.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/1/15/7551873/jaywalking-history

  • gneiss

    It is obvious that, in spite of clear prima facie evidence that she left the scene of a collision with a bicycle wedged under her car and an injured victim, in addition to all of the witness testimony of the people who tried to stop her, the police are believing her narrative of the events over that given by the victims friends. She probably threw in a “feared for my life” statement in explaining why she didn’t stop after hitting the cyclist. Regardless, at the very least she should be charged for misdemeanor hit and run under California state law.

    Hopefully the local prosecutors will sort out this mess and actually provide appropriate charges rather than what this very biases police department did. But really, the News Team that reported on this incident should be ashamed for framing it as a ‘motorist vs. biker’ meme and using the inflammatory ‘mob’ statement. I mean really, if there were 10 people in three cars would they have called it a mob who surrounded another motorist?

  • Paul Green

    Would be interested in hearing her side of the story.

  • murphstahoe

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/hit-and-run-victim-seriously-injured-soma-crowd-stops-driver-from-fleeing/

    “Crystal Fuenza and A.J. Rodriguez, both electricians who saw some of
    the incident, wondered why the driver hadn’t been arrested for trying to
    get away.

    “The guy tried to leave the scene,” said Rodriguez, who said he was
    crossing 6th Street when the accident happened. One of his colleagues
    threw his coffee on the car as the crowd started banging on the vehicle.”

    AJ should be wondering why HE wasn’t arrested for throwing coffee on the guys porsche!

  • gneiss

    Read the article:

    “A woman frantically called 911 at about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday in the area of 33rd Street and Adams Avenue after she claimed a group of bicyclists were chasing her. She said one of them had punched her car window and broke it.

    All parties remained at the scene when San Diego police arrived.”

  • It would only reveal which rationalization she clings to for her behavior.

    “They were riding in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!”

    “The road is for CARS!”

    “Bicycles belong on the sidewalk!”

    “They were in my way!”

    Whatever she says, it will be an attempt to blame them for her honking, tailgating, and passing to close and hitting one of them and running away.

  • Probably should not have broken the window, but I suspect this will never get to trial. Stupidly, the motorist was not charged with hit and run. Now I know why one of my former graduate students fled San Diego for a less goofy part of the world.

  • Paul Green

    Certainly seems like she was establishing her dominance of car over bikes. Nothing worse than being honked at for no apparent reason when riding. I can accept when people don’t see you but when they try to alarm and intimidate–that sucks

  • User_1

    I’m betting the rider DID knock on the window, I guess fairly gently, but the driver was determined to own the road. This was already demonstrated the previous blocks, yes? So he knocked a little harder to get her to stop. It ended up that she did stop AFTER she got her window broken.

    10-12 riders a mob? I’m guessing 10> waiting in line for a movie is a mob too? :-/

    So what’s the sharrows for again?

  • Azunyan

    You think the police cares if they get sued? All the money comes from taxpayers anyway.

  • Being hit by a car is definitely worse than getting honked at.

  • davistrain

    Many drivers see their vehicles as integral parts of themselves, like a cowboy and his horse. Striking one of these person’s car is, to people with this mindset, equivalent to smacking them in the face. Bicycles don’t count–they are only used by health nuts (bicyclists are probably vegans), poor immigrants, kids and Mormon missionaries. “Real Americans” drive motor vehicles, the heaviest or fastest units they can afford. (End of semi-sarcastic comment)

  • davistrain

    Many cities have ordinances against discharging firearms within city limits, with exceptions for law officers and self defense. Back in the 1930s, when my future mom and dad moved into the house where my brother and I would grow up in Monrovia CA, the front lawn was plagued with gophers. Mama would sit on the front porch with a .22 caliber Winchester single shot rifle and pick off the pesky varmints when they stuck their heads above ground. No big deal then–if somebody tried that now, the cops would deploy a SWAT team and there would be three or four news helicopters overhead. (loudspeaker voice: “Put that weapon down slowly. Step back with your hands up.”)

  • Paul Green

    True, but if they never saw you and were not wasted it’s forgivable. Honking at bikers and getting too close is a class A dick move.

  • Kevin

    San Diego 101: Cars and drivers rule the road; cyclists are seen as an annoyance, particularly if anything they do impedes vehicular traffic flow. The bias is deeply ingrained into the city’s culture and in how the local news media reports events like these.

    The use of the word “mob” by KGTV to describe a group of cyclists is discouraging, but wholly unsurprising. It’s as though the city’s news directors have never been to any other big city.

  • Yep; and a lot of people insist that they are being impeded even if the only thing that a bicyclist causes them to do is change lanes to pass, which takes zero time if you do it well before you reach the bicyclist.

    For them it’s about territory; not time.

  • I considered that. But supposedly the right to self defense is factored into the equation. I would call this an issue of self-defense. Also shotguns have a much more limited ability to injure or kill. Ask Dick Cheney’s victim.

  • ktappe

    You consider the person who illegally destroyed another person’s property “the victim”??

  • I would consider it legal destruction by the victim of invasion of privacy. The drone operator was trespassing on private property. It is such a delicious property versus property conundrum.

  • WryGuyHi

    Property rights don’t extend upwards to infinity.You would need to look at the airspace ordinance to make the claim the drone was trespassing. I’m not even sure property rights extend into air at all.

    Drone operator may still be guilty of some other offence concerning use of air space.

    Not sure its an appropriate response either. Did they arrest the shooter for destruction of personal property or for dangerously discharging a firearm, or some such offence?

  • Faa still working on rules. Probably 400 feet or so. Not sure of actual charges

    Still wrong to arrest “victim”. Probably should have left it for civil court suits.

  • Steven Elia

    “That’s how it goes on American streets: Harming a person with your car carries no penalty but harming someone’s car most definitely does.” As a personal injury attorney, I can tell you there are other ways around this twisted tale. I can venture a guess that this story is not yet over.

  • neroden

    The DAs and police who refuse to arrest the motorist (who is guilty of harassment and assault and aggravated assault at *least*), while arresting the witnesses and the good Samaritans, are guilty of criminal conspiracy to commit harassment and assault.

    The trouble is, who will prosecute the DAs and police?

  • neroden

    It’s a good idea. I’d go further, though: these police departments are engaged in a criminal conspiracy to protect motorists who commit assault and manslaughter. There should be a serious effort to run prosecutions against them. Either by electing a new DA, or by running private prosecutions, which are still legal in most of the country as long as they aren’t funded by the victim.

  • neroden

    Property rights do extend into the air. I forget how high, though. Low-flying drones on other people’s property are not OK — higher-flying ones are probably OK, but I’m not sure what the key height is; definitely above-the-treetops. Whether shooting low-flying drones down is OK depends on the local laws on discharging a firearm. In rural areas it’s usually legal to discharge a firearm.

  • C Monroe

    Hey, Dick Cheney was the victim, his friend apologized to Dick for Dick shooting him.

  • Jason Grant

    And leave it to liberals to run away hiding once the video surfaces that the bicyclists were the ones that were wrong as they provoked the incident by dangerously going AGAINST the flow of traffic

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/09/04/critical-mass-cyclist-attack-san-francisco-marina-district-caught-on-video/

  • That is a completely different incident. San Francisco is not San Diego.

    In this case, the San Diego incident, the driver was behind the riders. If they were going the wrong way, then she would have had to have been going the wrong way as well.

    Leave to a mindless wingnut to not be able to tell the difference.

  • PJM

    We wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of some good old-fashioned bigotry, would we? 🙂

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