Motorist-Cyclist Trial a Rallying Call for Respect and Rights

The ongoing trial of a California driver who allegedly injured two cyclists on purpose has become a rallying point for cyclists around the country, who are hoping the verdict elicits greater respect to cyclists from motorists.
November 3, 2009, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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The man reportedly passed cyclists on a windy Southern California road and slammed on his brakes July 4, 2008, causing two cyclists to crash into the back of his car. They each suffered serious injuries.

"For the last three weeks, the assault trial of Dr. Christopher Thompson has drawn the attention of cyclists nationwide but has especially galvanized the swelling ranks of Los Angeles' tight-knit cycling community, whose members have long felt like second-class citizens in a city in love with its cars.

The case is being tried at a time when more people are turning to two wheels for commuting and recreation. Cyclists are asserting their rights as never before. In Los Angeles, advocates are pushing for more bike lanes and other road improvements, a cyclists' bill of rights and more protection from police.

As they demand more respect from motorists, many cyclists see Thompson's trial as a test of the justice system's commitment to protecting the rights of bike riders."

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Published on Sunday, November 1, 2009 in Los Angeles Times
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