On Wednesday, I received the following message left as a comment to a previous story.
In it, an attorney describes how an allegedly reckless driver took out three cyclists on a popular Ventura County riding route. And how a carefully worded email helped bring the driver to justice.
I think it’s worth sharing with you. Both for the story he tells — and a case that deserves watching — and for the example he shares of how to get justice in a case like this.
I hope this finds the right ears.
I am an attorney, a bike racer and a follower of your blog and email newsletter.
Last month a vehicle recklessly attempted to pass a group of cyclist along Santa Ana Road in Ventura County. This is a road popular with cyclists up in Ventura.
The driver screamed past another car and tried to pass that car and a group of 30 -35 cyclists (riding 2 by 2). Along a downhill curve. The car lost control and took out three riders. One of whom suffered serious catastrophic injuries.
I would have been on that ride, if it wasn’t for my kids soccer games that Saturday.
I drafted a letter to be sent to the DA office and had all the local cyclists sign and send it in.
Today I was happy (although I would be happier if these events did not happen) to report that the motorist Anthony Lee Noble will be prosecuted for Reckless Driving Causing Serious Injuries. While only a misdemeanor I think that just getting the DA to do anything where someone did not flee the scene or kill someone is difficult.
His arraignment is on January 18, 2013 in Ventura Superior Court Dept 10 at 9:00 am., Case Number 2012038989.
Below is a copy of the letter that was sent in by our community, It can be easily modified to cover other cycling related car collisions. And I would be happy to draft additional more specific letters if asked.
I hope you find this information helpful.
Ventura Count District Attorneys Office Gregg D. Totten. Community Prosecutions Program General Felony & Misdemeanor Unit. 800 South Victoria Ave, Ventura California, 93009
RE: Traffic Collision: Saturday September 29, 2012 Vehicle vs. Multiple Cyclists
Dear District Attorney.
This letter is being submitted by the undersigned on behalf of the three cyclists, struck and seriously injured on Saturday September 29 on Santa Ana Road. And on behalf of the thousands of lawful cyclists, pedestrians, motorists and their families who lawfully use the streets and highways within Ventura County.
REQUESTED ACTION We are collectively asking that Anthony Bell Noble be investigated and prosecuted (where appropriate) for his violations of Vehicle Code 23103 (reckless driving) and Penal Code 245 (assault with dangerous weapon). And any other applicable laws, statutes or regulations.
FACTUAL STATEMENT On Saturday September 29, 2012 a group of cyclists were riding south along Santa Ana Road, heading towards Ventura. The group was riding two by two. A vehicle pulled behind the group and was waiting for a safe location to pass. The cyclists began to organize into a single file line to allow for the vehicle to pass safely. As this was occurring a second vehicle, driven by Anthony Bell Noble aggressively drove up to the rear bumper of the first vehicle, and without waiting, sped into opposing lanes of traffic, in a reckless attempt to pass the vehicle and the group of cyclists. Santa Ana Road is a narrow and winding road, with only one lane in each direction and a soft dirt shoulder. The location where Mr. Noble attempted to pass was unsafe and the manner in which he attempted to pass was reckless. As Mr. Noble attempted to pass, he lost control of his vehicle and struck three cyclists causing them serious injuries.
RECKLESS ACTION WAS IN CONSCIOUS DISREGARD OF THE SAFETY OF THE CYCLISTS. Mr. Noble acted reckless and in conscious disregard for the safety of others. This was no simple accident. Moments prior to the collision, a solo cyclists witnessed Mr. Noble driving erratic and aggressive as a he passed. He was seen aggressively speeding towards the vehicle directly behind the group and then accelerating in fast and dangerous manner in his attempt to pass the group. As he did, Mr. Noble never slowed and instead continued to try to speed past the group, losing control of his vehicle and colliding into the cyclists. Following the collision, Mr. Noble showed no remorse for his actions, and instead continued to “blame” the cyclists for being on the road, and that he was pissed off at having to always “slow down” for them. This was no mistake, accident or negligence. His actions that day were reckless and done so with conscious disregard for the safety of the public. His actions are tantamount to “Road Rage” and clearly in violation of laws designed to protect the public from reckless and dangerous drivers. This was not Mr. Noble’s first violations. A review of the Ventura County Superior Court web site reveals that Mr. Noble has been cited in the past for VC 22350 Speeding and for VC 21650 Driving on the wrong side of the road.
CONCLUSION: PUBLIC SAFETY THROUGH PROSECUTION We are simply asking that Mr. Noble be investigated for the crimes he committed that day. Hopefully with prosecution will come public awareness that motorists have to share the road with cyclists, and that patience on our roads (instead of rage) is needed to save the lives of our community. Without the prosecution of people such as Mr. Noble, all of us remain unsafe whether walking, cycling or driving.
Thank you for you consideration.
Just because you’re the current Tour de France champ doesn’t mean you can’t get run down by a car — or that the bike haters won’t come out of the woodwork. The driver who hit him is unlikely to be charged if she takes a driver awareness course. The BBC asks if cycling is getting more dangerous, while Sky News offers tips on riding to survive. On the other hand, a writer astutely asks in response why it’s always the cyclists’ responsibility to be seen, rather than drivers’ responsibility to see them. Why, indeed.
The LACBC urges you to attend the sentencing of the driver who killed cyclist Alan Deane last year. And the Bike Coalition invites you to ride Lankershim Blvd for a people friendly North Hollywood on December 8th, as well as ride the San Gabriel foothills with the LACBC and Where to Bike Los Angeles. Los Angeles releases its vision plan for York Blvd in Highland Park. A bikelash against the new Motor Ave bike lanes fizzles when no one shows up except cyclists supporting them (scroll down). Bike racks and two pilot bike routes come up for discussion in Beverly Hills next Tuesday; I wouldn’t hold your breath. Rick Risemberg notes that bikes are becoming essential for marketing virtually everything. A 16-year old Altadena cyclist survives a 150 foot drop off Angeles Crest Highway with just minor injuries. Long Beach could soon have it’s own CicLAvia.
A suspect has been arrested in the San Diego shooting of bike rider Juan Carlos Martinez. San Diego elects a bike friendly mayor. New San Diego bike advocacy group BikeSD sets their goals for the first year. Cyclelicious remembers Palo Alto holocaust survivor, former council member and bike advocate Ellen Fletcher. An off-duty Fresno cop is shot while riding his bike; investigators have arrested two suspects and don’t think he was targeted because he’s a cop — which probably means he was shot because he’s a cyclist, which seems worse, somehow. The San Francisco Chronicle says there’s hidden dangers lurking under the pavement for cyclists. San Francisco students line up to high-five passing cyclists; thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.
If you attended Tour de Fat this year, you helped raise $500,000 for bike non-profits, including C.I.C.L.E., the LACBC and the Bicycle Kitchen. How to avoid beginner mistakes. Discarded campaign signs make great bike accessories. Bike Portland looks at the local bike book boom fueled by bike writer Elly Blue. The Black Hawk bike ban reaches the Colorado Supreme Court. Moots sticks with titanium in a carbon fiber bike world. A Dallas cyclist is stabbed by a road raging Corvette driver. Bikeyface offers an entertaining look at how not to lock your bike. Now you can have your very own, surprisingly affordable DIY traffic counter; if it can count bikes, we should all pitch in and get a few thousand or so. A DC driver is on trial after intentionally running down a rider — and getting caught on video. The upcoming presidential inauguration offers an opportunity to improve the Pennsylvania Ave bikeway, though perhaps not as much as cyclists would like. Maybe you’re in the market for a futuristic folding e-bike. A chain of Florida bike shops will donate 1,000 bikes to needy children over the holidays.
For once, a BMW clips a cyclist in Vancouver, and the cyclist wins. UK cab drivers report seeing a ghost bike, in the most literal sense. A Manchester cyclist is the victim of a brick thrown from a passing car. A Brit cyclist barely avoids becoming road kill when an 80-year old driver hits the gas instead of the brakes. If you needed any proof that cyclists can be total schmucks, too, British authorities are looking for the bike rider who threw a tiny kitten into a river; fortunately, the cat survived in good condition. A Norwegian study suggests mandatory helmet laws disproportionately discourage the safest cyclists from riding. Polar explorer Eric Larsen plans to bike to the South Pole.