Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Critical Massin', police arrestin'

So, let me get this straight.

Some driver floors it through a mob of critical mass corkers and the corkers get arrested? The driver is somehow let free? Do the police know about this law?:

RCW 46.61.522

Vehicular assault — Penalty.

(1) A person is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she operates or drives any vehicle:

(a) In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

(b) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by RCW 46.61.502, and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or

(c) With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.

(2) Vehicular assault is a class B felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

(3) As used in this section, "substantial bodily harm" has the same meaning as in RCW 9A.04.110.

All I'm saying is that the cyclists were acting in self defense and the driver, using a very heavy, blunt object, sent some people to the hospital. Too bad he never made his reservation.

I'm actually a fan of critical mass, though I rarely make it because of work and family obligations. The roads are public spaces that we all use and the notion that everyone will somehow use them unimpeded is just a silly notion fomented by car commercials.

As for the police, I've made some police reports over the years when motorists have thrown things at me (twice), accelerated toward me in a dangerous manner so as to intimidate (more than twice), pull in front of me and then slam on their brakes, once causing me to crash (three times), and pull into my lane so as to pressure me off the road (numerous times, but four times that were brazen). Each time, I report these assaults, I am met with nonplussed boredom. They act as if I wasn't supposed to be on the road in the first place, or that because some magical cyclist that only drivers see has somehow discounted my report by riding through every red light they could find so as to disgrace me.

So when a driver says they floored it into a group of pedestrians or cyclists because they felt "panic", just remember that police also believed in "gay panic".

Critical mass exists because of the legal double standard that cyclists receive while using public spaces and public throughways. I say, keep it up.

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