View Full Version : What constitutes assault?

04-06-2011, 09:17 PM
Can anyone explain whether it's assault when a motorist uses a vehicle to threaten cyclists or pedestrians?

04-07-2011, 04:46 AM
Can anyone explain whether it's assault when a motorist uses a vehicle to threaten cyclists or pedestrians?

Without more specifics the answer is "quite possibly". If a cop didn't see it however you have to go before a magistrate to press charges, and it's up to them what they'll charge with.

04-07-2011, 09:48 AM
Assault does not have to involve physical striking. If there is a threat and a show of force that is enough to constitute assault in many jurisdictions (pulling back the slide on a gun while making threats, for example).

(I am not a lawyer but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night)

04-07-2011, 12:02 PM
I don't have an answer, but I do have a contribution.

I have all the local jurisdictions' police departments on my mobile phone and I use them. I report every time a driver gets aggressive with me. I love and respect all mankind, but I also am realistic that some people don't respect me or themselves enough to behave properly. I don't get angry like I used to. I calmly and rationally do the one thing that can make our experience better.

Do the police act? Sometimes they do. DC has been helpful when I had incidents and there were officers within 100 meters. Arlington has had an officer return my calls to discuss what happened. Fairfax has been awesome. They have sent out a squad car to talk to me and the offending driver on more than one occasion.

There are a few things that you can do that really help. 1) Keep your cool. If you behave irresponsibly, it is hard to get the police on your side to respond. 2) Get the license plate number and, if possible the make/model of car and a description of the driver. The more information you have, the easier it is to report the incident.

If the vehicle that was aggressive with you was a work vehicle, get the number and name on the truck/car. Give that info to the police and also call the number. Many employers are interested to hear that their employees are threatening bodily harm on cyclists with their work vehicles.

Arguably the best win/win situation I've had with police, aggressive drivers and an employer happened when I reported a guy that repeatedly buzzed me in his work truck. I reported him to the police and his boss and included photos of the truck, license plate and the guy at the wheel (taken through the passenger window at the next stop light). The police were talking with his employer when he got back to the shop. I got a phone call from the guy later apologizing to me. He kept his job, but now gives me a friendly honk and wave every time he passes me.

Most of these people are not Satan incarnate. They're normal people who react poorly to their environment. The environment around here creates people like that by the thousands!!! I work hard to not become one of them while doing what I can to stand up for what is right.

Rock on!


04-07-2011, 12:52 PM
I whole-heartedly second what Pete said.
I've seen people on this forum argue against notifying the police, but it really is the single most responsible thing you can do, if you do it correctly.
If nothing else, it creates a record that you yourself may be able to rely on if you are hit by someone and you (or your attorney) think to contact local PD's to see if the offending driver has had complaints lodged against them.

04-07-2011, 10:20 PM
Great advice, and thanks, Pete, for some much-needed perspective.

04-08-2011, 09:11 AM
Thanks y'all. Even I need positive feedback at times to keep myself a happy cyclist. I don't want to go back to feeling like a road rage cyclists.

I love win/win situations when for YEARS I could only see lose/lose situations.

04-08-2011, 10:12 AM
Perfectly stated Pete!