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Road Rage Trial Begins for LA Doctor

Posted by Bruce Hildenbrand on Oct 21, 2009 12:15:47 PM
The long-awaited trial of the former ER doctor who crashed two cyclists in Los Angeles is underway and it makes for good reading/viewing. From a process point of view, it is very interesting to see how the doctor's defense attorney paints a picture of the cyclists to the jury. Clearly, he is trying to win the case for his client, but we can learn much about what the attorney perceives as the correct way to portray a cyclist to a jury.

Just to refresh your memory, in 2008, two cyclists were descending Mandeville Canyon Road in Los Angeles when a car pulled up alongside the riders and a heated discussion ensued. Following the discussion, the car passed the riders, pulled in front of them and the driver slammed on the brakes. One cyclist impacted the back of the car and hit the pavement suffering a separated shoulder. The other cyclist went through the rear window of the car almost severing his nose and requiring 90 stitches to re-attach it.

After this incident, it came out that there had been several other incidents, on the same road, between cyclists and this particular driver.

What is interesting to me about this case, besides the outcome, is how the defense attorney is portraying the cyclists to the jury. This could give a good indication on how we cyclists are perceived by the car-driving public.  This could be of great benefit to us cyclists and our relationship with car drivers.

The executive summary is that the defense attorney has tried to portray cyclists as not very skilled and who could fall over and crash without any outside influence. I haven't yet seen the attorney try to portray cyclists as rogue warriors who disrespect laws and authority which may mean that this type of behavior is not pertinent to this particular case, but I was fully expecting it.

The trial is not over yet, check out:

http://www.velonews.com/article/99398/la-road-rage-trial-begins-prosecutors-play-a-911-recording

http://www.velonews.com/article/99475/defense-attorney-cross-examines-cyclists-in-la-road-rage

for more info as the trial progresses.

Bruce
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