Driver to be charged after cyclist films unprovoked Road Rage
A driver in Ross, California, is scheduled to appear before Marin Superior Court in early April after cyclist hands over video to the police
Cyclists and the police now have a new and powerful deterrant against agressive, bullying and downright dangerous intollerant and inconsiderate motorists on the roads of a growing number of countries including the USA, UK and Canada.
A driver who was caught on camera threatening a cyclist in Ross, California has now been charged with reckless driving.
Matthew Marshall Engle, 55, will appear on April 4th in Marin Superior Court after he was caught on camera in February backing his car up near cyclist Jan Weissenberger, blaring his horn and shouting “I’ll get a shotgun and shoot your head off!”
Engle declined to comment on the incident, which took place on February 16 of this year, and could face a prison sentence of five to 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000.
The Marin Independent Journal reported cyclist Weissenberger saying of the incident: “He was really angry and he tried to run me over and it was really scary.
“Yelling at us, no problem, but trying to run bicyclists off the road, that’s going a bit far.”
41-year-old Weissenberger doesn’t appear to provoke the driver in any way in the video recorded on his rear view camera.
He quickly reported the incident to the police, who tracked down Engle and referred the case to the Marin County District Attorney’s Office without making an arrest.
Engle was later charged with a reckless driving charge.
Weissenberger added that he reported the incident to the police for the sake of other cyclists in the area.
“If he’s that angry at me for doing nothing, what’s going to happen to the next bicyclist?” he said.
Cycliq leading the way
Gran Fondo Guide reported earlier this year on the growing popularity of the Cycliq range of HD camera's and front and rear lights.
A growing number of cyclists are now fitting these and using them as deterrant. More and more cases in the US, Canada and UK, were refferred to the police and Cycliq are currently asking cyclists to design an anti-social cycling kit range to deter car drivers from passing too close or using their car to threaten and inimidate cyclists or using threatening behaviour.
Cyclists can simply download video and present it to the police, with details of the car and driver for automatic prosecutions to be started.
In fact, some countries and regions, government bodies allow you to upload footage directly to their websites which will be examined and prosecutions started automatically.
Car drivers - this type of behaviour will no longer be tolerated! You have been warned!
Don't heed the advice and you could wind up with the police on your doorstep, or an automatic court summons!
With no evidence or witnesses for your defence, more than likely you'll be fined, have your driving licence revoked or in serious cases, receive a jail sentence.
Try explaining that to your employer, friends and family?
Countries with passing clearance laws
A number of passing laws have been approved in several countries. For example more than half the states in the USA have passing laws. Some states in Australia, parts or Europe and Canada. Data from the USA reports the changes in cycling levels for 2005 to 2014 for each state. The average increase for states with passing laws was approximately 56%, whereas for states without passing laws 22%.
From this it appears that passing clearance laws results in a less intimidating road conditions for cycling.
The UK has failed to introduce minimum safe passing laws despite some police forces introducing driver re-education and on the spot fines trials. The UK's highway code says that drivers should give the same distance they would over taking a car (around 3-4 feet). However the vast percentage of accidents are happening on rural roads (where cyclists tend to ride) where car drivers are overtaking on narrow lanes without adequate clearence.
Some USA states without state wide passing laws may have local laws, for example Texas.
Vulnerable road user ordinances with language stipulating a safe passing distance have been passed in 23 Texas Cities, including Alamo, Alton, Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Denton, Edinburg, El Paso, Fort Worth, Harlingen, Helotes, Houston, McAllen, Mission, New Braunfels, Palmhurst, Pharr, Plano, San Antonio, San Juan, San Marcos, and Weslaco.