California bicycle accident attorneys and bicyclists around the country and the globe, have been following closely the trial of Dr. Thomas Thompson, the Los Angeles doctor who was involved in a bicycle accident allegedly caused by road rage last year. He has now been sentenced to 5 years in prison.
On July 2008, Thompson was driving a sedan in Brentwood when he came across two bicyclists. Thompson pulled out in front of the two bicyclists, and slammed the brakes, causing the two bicyclists to hit the back of the car. One of the bicyclists Ron Peterson, crashed through the back of the Infiniti. Peterson’s nose was broken, and he suffered several other injuries. The other bicyclist fell to the pavement, and was also injured. Thompson went on trial in a case that was watched around the country. He was found guilty, and last week sentenced to 5 years in prison.
The sentence came after much support from bicyclists around the country. The court received more than 270 messages calling for a tough sentence on the doctor. The two bicyclists had also pleaded on bicycle forums calling on bicyclists to write in to show their support for bicyclists in Los Angeles, who are now involved in increasing confrontations with motorists. Letters of support have poured in from as far as the UK and China.
The judge said that he did not consider the messages of support that called for a stronger sentence, while delivering his decision. But he expressed his belief that Thompson has showed no remorse in his behavior after the accident. During the trial, Thompson had said that he and other residents in Brentwood were angry with bicyclists, because they frequently broke traffic rules. Why he choose to take that anger and misplaced frustration on two innocent bicyclists who were following traffic rules and riding safely, is not clear.
This bicycle accident trial was an extremely important one because it highlights a growing safety issue in California and nationwide. More and more number of bicyclists have taken to the roads, and this has increased confrontations between motorists and bicyclists and in many cases, have lead to hostile situations. Taunting a bicyclist, cutting off a bicyclist, yelling at him, throwing things at him – any of this can throw a bicyclist off his bike and distract him. They can also lead to serious accidents that tend to harm the bicyclist and motorist.
California bicycle accident lawyers know that not every single bicyclist out there out of the hundreds and thousands on the road, will follow every traffic safety in the book. All you need to get started bicycling is a bike, which means that there are several inexperienced bicyclists on our streets who may need education and training so they can ride safely. Under no circumstances should be possible for a motorist to use his vehicle as a weapon against a bicyclist, not even if the bicyclist is disobeying traffic rules. The sentence is well deserved, and hopefully this entire incident will deter other motorists from attempting such dangerous behavior.
The Reeves Law Group is a law firm with offices throughout California dedicated exclusively to the representation of personal injury victims, including victims of bicycle accidents. Please visit our website at robertreeveslaw.com. If you desire a free consultation on a personal injury matter, please call us at (800) 644-8000 or email us.
The Reeves Law Group is not acting as legal counsel for any party in the matters discussed in this posting.