No cyclist wants to be put into the position needing to report a crime.
Being verbally or physically threatened is already a stressful experience to deal with on its own.
Reporting the incident might not seem like a priority at the moment, but taking action, even if you have little information, can make an impact. Here is one such example where reporting a crime made a difference.
On Valentine’s Day in 2015, a group of riders from Serious Cycling in Agoura Hills were riding north on the Mulholland portion of Highway 23.
In this section, the terrain is somewhat rolling, but in that direction cyclists face a lot of uphill. The group was spread apart as they were climbing, but all could hear a vehicle approaching at a very fast speed around the many twists and turns.
Sensing danger, many of the riders moved to the right side of the road, but the driver had more on his agenda than just passing. Not only was this person honking and yelling at the group, but he also tried running the cyclists off the road by driving close to them and moving closer. The driver came so close that his vehicle’s mirror struck a rider’s hand as it went by.
Although the group could only give the vehicle description, they still called 911 to report the incident.
Group ride with the Serious Cycling Club (photo: David Fair Jr.)
A little further up the road, another cyclist who was not connected to the group ride also reported being honked at and driven off the road, and this cyclist was able to report the vehicle’s license plate.
Thanks to the power of Facebook, the two parties were able to match up information, which was then forwarded to the California Highway Patrol leading to an arrest. The suspect was then then taken to a lineup where witnesses were able to make a positive identification.
In the end, the assailant plead out to Assault with a Deadly Weapon leaving a permanent felony count on his record on top of 500 hours of community service.
Officer Martin Geller investigated this case and encourages all cyclists to report any transgressions they see on the road. Even if you only have scarce details, if enough people add information, it increases the possibility for an arrest, which may even happen much later.
Dr. Thompson was convicted for intentionally injuring bicyclists on Mandeville Canyon Road because prior cyclists had reported the same behavior and it became clear that there was pattern to that behavior..
Another piece of advice Officer Geller gives is to avoid any further conflict if confronted. Odds are you can only escalate matters, so please refrain and call 911.
Riding a bike is fun experience, but it helps to be prepared to handle situations like these if they ever arise.