Don't like bicycles on the road? Take a lesson from an L.A. doctor and don't let rage get out of hand. The consequences might be jail.
The Portland, Oregonian reports of a former emergency room doctor who was said to have deliberately put on the brakes so that two bicyclists were rammed into his car. This caused serious injuries and brought a sentence of five years in state prison to Christopher Thompson, 60, a former emergency room doctor. The Oregonian was just one of a number of news sources reporting on the problem of road rage, citing this case recently, as even National Public Radio reviewed.
Thompson admitted fault in the accident as he was sentenced just two days ago. He said, "The physical and mental scars are my fault." He also declared he has recurring nightmares about what he did when he hit his brakes, causing the bicyclists to hit the back of his Infiniti sedan July 4, 2008, according to testimonyies provided by the prosecutors at Thompson's trial.
One of the victims, Ron Peterson, declared how the accident has impacted his life including both physical and emotional trauma "because Dr. Thompson didn't like cyclists riding on his road."
In Portland, Oregon bicycling is part of the culture, and tour guides recommend seeing the city as residents do--on bikes.. Bikes have a special place on the trains that take passengers across the city. The city has enough respect for bicyclists and for going green that there are special lanes traversing most public roads throughout the town. Still it doesn't prevent the occasional driver from swerving a bit or making a remark in traffic here and there. as Digital Journal observed on Cornell Avenue during regular trips to a shopping center several miles along the road. Still Portland's bicyclists feel safe enough to be out in the rain to get to work, to school, to shopping and to social occasions.
Road rage against pedestrians, bicyclists and other cars is said to be a problem on the nation's highways, according to news reports in various cities. There is a tendency to take one's daily frustration out on folks in traffic, especially when there are inordinate traffic delays. The Thompson case is just one example of the consequences that occur from people taking out their frustrations on others, causing injury and death.