Police Reports Illustrated: Cyclist Gives Road Etiquette Lesson to Driver, Gets Raged on In Return


Does the artist know for certain the cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet? Because if so, the irony of them attempting to chastise a driver (who for all we know may have been making a perfectly legal right-turn) for acting in an unsafe manner is not lost on me.
Roads aren't for sharing.

A car is required to have many safety features to protect its occupant: air bags, safety belts, unibody constructure, impact bumpers, ...

A bicycle has none of these and hence does not belong on the road.

This is why I ride only on the sidewalk, or pedestrian trails, or segregated paths, unless forced to go into the street.
Let me get this straight, you get to use your car as a weapon - potentially killing them- and throw coffee in their face – potentially scalding them - because they are not wearing a helmet? Are you purposefully ignoring the two panels that depict the two separate assaults?
Is this not like blaming a women for wearing proactive clothes after she is assaulted? Man, the idiocy that surrounds the conversion on road safety is truly amusing, however deadly.
One of the best things about getting out of a car and onto a bike is that you can get places safely and calmly without ever giving in to road rage. The bicyclist in this story is 100% in the right, morally and legally, but once that driver proved that she was a dangerous idiot, the bicyclist's best move would have been to get out of the way and let the moment pass. Bikes are still far better, but the series of recent stories about aggressive bicyclists make me wonder what's happening to bike culture that's bringing these dumbasses out of the garage.
@2 Put another way, cars are so dangerous they need a litany of legally-required safety features yet car 'accidents' are still the leading cause of death for young people in this country. Hence, cars don't belong in an urban environment.

Bikes don't have or need any of these safety features.

Not disagreeing with your decision to take the sidewalk however; I am happy to take the sidewalk when crawling up a hill and even happier to take a separate, protected bike lane if one is available.
Of course, everyone believes the bicyclist's version of the story since he's the one filing the report.

We have no idea of what truly transpired between these two. There's no mention of the police interviewing the car driver for her side of the tale.

We do know even though the bicyclist alleges he was swerved into and hit neither he nor his bike sustained any damage.

Sounds like a two way road rage to me. Both are probably guilty of some misbehavior.
@5, sure, bikes don't need any of those safety features, which is why bicyclists follow the laws about riding as far to the right as is safe instead of bickering about road debris and possibly being doored and a right to take the whole lane.
Oh my goodness, the false equivalencies keep coming…”aggressive bicyclists” are the problem, because 30,000 traffic deaths a year are the fault of…oh never mind. Remember America, when your rights are violated – even though you actually do have a right to the road even if you are not in an automobile – just cower at home, or in this case the garage, and whatever you do, do not defend and/or stand up for yourself. It will be ok…just ask any marginalized people how we lavish praise and apology upon them.
@1 - if the driver cut off a cyclist, then the driver wasn't "making a perfectly legal right-turn."
@7 - ride as far to the right as possible... and still get cut off by a car making a right hand turn in front of them. This cyclist would have been better off taking the lane.
I like to imagine that the cyclist is Dominic Holden.
@4, Interesting to note that stories about aggressive bicyclists are a recent phenomenon in Seattle. In San Francisco those stories are etched in stone tablets. Road rage is not optional for cyclists here.

That wasn't really my point. It appears the Police Report which forms the basis for the cartoon only captures one side of the story, which I presume prompted the cartoonist to use of the term "allegedly" in the first panel. Since none of us (including the officer who took the report) were witnesses, we cannot say for absolute certain events transpired exactly as they're described - we have only the cyclist's word for that. And it wasn't my intention to suggest the alleged assault took place specifically because the rider wasn't wearing a helmet; only to point out that, if the physical representation IS true and the cyclist wasn't wearing one then there is a sense of irony given that they would be so concerned about someone else not having any regard for their personal safety, when they show such small regard for it themselves.

As to any actual assault that may have occurred; well, yes, assault is what it is, but on the other hand it's not in the least bit analogous to blaming a woman for wearing "provocative" clothing after an assault, since for one thing, wearing a bike helmet is required by law, for quite obvious reasons, whereas wearing unprovocative (or whatever) clothing is not.
If you want to "teach a lesson" to someone, whether there are cars, bikes, peds, shopping carts, or anything else involved, and they didn't come to you for instruction, you risk getting coffee thrown at you. No sympathy for the bicyclist, and duh, the driver was in the wrong, regardless of whether the cyclist had a helmet on or not. If the cyclist actually had that expression from the "roads are for sharing" panel, I'd throw coffee on him if I was just walking by.
Hey @8 -
I'm a devoted cyclist. My bike is pretty much my only means of transportation and I bike everywhere - taking my kids to school, grocery shopping for my family - the whole ball of wax. I know cyclists get a raw deal and have a right to advocate for themselves, but I still feel entitled to call a spade a fucking spade. I'm not making any sorts of equivalencies, false or otherwise. When I hear stories of cyclists getting in punch-ups with drivers or pulling knives on pedestrians, then something is going horribly wrong with bike culture. You disagree?
Again, more of the false equivalency…because the cyclist is not wearing a helmet are we to call that as reckless as a driver making a right turn without checking her mirrors, or worse, simply not caring? Do you not understand the actual real danger this poses to any road user? And if this were not bad enough, we have a claim of the driver actually swerving at the cyclist with deliberation…this would be murder if the cyclist was killed. But, of course, “…we have only the cyclist's word for that…” And I thought I was dipping too deep into hyperbole when I made the “provocative” clothing analogy.
Wow, didn't take long for the commenters to start blaming/hating on the person on the bicycle. Not too surprising I guess.

Again, you're making a lot of assumptions, based on your apparent presumption that the cyclist's "testimony" in this incident is 100% accurate and therefore unimpeachable, which, given my own personal experience with bike riders I would tend to take with a rather large grain of salt. Unless you were actually riding shotgun with the driver - and staring directly at her while doing so - you have no way of knowing whether she checked her mirrors or not; no way of knowing whether she had right-of-way to make the right-turn; no way of knowing that the driver in fact did any of the things the cyclists claims she did, including, presumably, throwing coffee and deliberately swerving in an attempt to hit them. Maybe she did ALL these things, maybe she didn't do ANY of them, or maybe she did one or two of them, and perhaps the cyclist embellished the story in a bid to gain sympathy from the officer. There is ALWAYS another side to the story; that's why incidents such as this require a certain level of corroboration, another eye-witness, physical evidence, etc., etc., none of which are provided here.

Sure, one can give the cyclist the benefit of the doubt, but again, IF it is true they weren't wearing a helmet as depicted in the cartoon, then we DO know one thing for absolute certain: they exhibit a tendency to ignore the law and show little regard for their own personal safety. If this depiction is accurate, that would not be "false equivalency" that would be FACT.
@7 the RCW about riding as far right as is safe, is saying that bicyclists are allowed to take the full lane if required for their safety. "Share the Road" campaigns were intended to educate drivers that bicyclists have a right to the road and drivers need to pass at a safe distance (another RCW) when safe to do so.

@11 I blame Dominic Holden too.
Seattle roads were actually built for cyclists and streetcar use (90%). Cars came later.

And the coffee makes it assault.
@14 so it seems that telling someone they're doing something wrong is grounds for coffee being thrown at them? Disagreement happens all day everyday. I would never expect a customer to throw coffee at a salesperson if they thought a price was wrong.

So I guess it's ok to throw coffee on another person when it's a cyclist telling a driver they did something unsafe. Got it.
what a cunt

" Put another way, cars are so dangerous they need a litany of legally-required safety features yet car 'accidents' are still the leading cause of death for young people in this country. Hence, cars don't belong in an urban environment."

That's another perspective.

But are you willing to say that cars should not have safety devices? That I should be able to ride around in an open jalopy with not even a safety belt? I think not.

You might also argue about banning cars, but until that happens, also, logically, bikes should not be on those roads as well.

My argument is still valid.

Bikes should not be on streets adjacent to car traffic, both by law, and by reason.


"Seattle roads were actually built for cyclists and streetcar use (90%). Cars came later"

This is my argument for why all Walk Lights should be instantaneous.

For the same historic Right of Way reason that someone in a yacht can command the floating bridges to rise, and tie up hundreds of motorists, a pedestrian should be able to hit the Walk button and instantly stop traffic.
Vehicular Assault? She'd be easy to find...I'd own her mirror.
Don't pass on the right. Problem solved.
maybe she didnt understand him and/or was threatened by him and panicked out of fear. his behavior was a bit stalker-lite.
I have a couple of thoughts regarding this incident. First, just for the record I am both a cyclist and a driver, so all sides can hate me. When you are in a car and you are trying to turn right you have to look about 270 degrees all at once, including into the largest blind spot in any car/truck, the right rear quarter. It's easy not to see a bicycle especially if you've slowed down and he or she is passing you on the right. Also about me, I'm old and I remember the whole PSA campaign in the 60's & early 70's to be defensive drivers and to "look out for the other guy". I don't know whatever happened to that notion. Whatever your thoughts are about the moral right of bicycles vs. cars and who get the street, there is just no way to get around the fact it is way easier for a cyclist to see/hear a car than it is for a driver to see the cyclist. When I'm on my bike there are three things I watch for, cars blowing through uncontrolled intersections, doors flying open and cars turning right. A couple of other points, I sometimes don't wear a helmet and I think everyone should ride like they're not wearing one. Lastly, I would never come up to the window of a car to lecture a driver, way too many nuts in this world.
One other thing I forgot to mention, Police Reports Illustrated has become my favorite thing on the Slog.

Yeah, if you stop a stranger, hold up a finger, and lecture them, expect coffee or worse. Your salesperson analogy doesn't work at all, sorry.
Traffic code says that right-turning vehicles must occupy the right-hand lane while making their turn, the idea being to "protect your pocket", to keep vehicles from trying to pass on your right while you are turning. But unfortunately too many bike lanes are designed to do exactly that -- encourage bicycles to pass turning vehicles.

Someday, somebody is going get hurt and sue the City for this inherently unsafe roadway design.
This sort of incident one reason why I will "take the lane" when on a bike instead of staying on the right, especially at intersections. In addition, I leave room for a driver on my right who wishes to turn right at a red light. Courtesy, people, is the Seattle way. Rudeness toward others and utter disregard of the law is not.
Fuck this bullshit about helmets. Fuck this bullshit about cowering to the right as far as possible. On the other hand, I will never ride my bike in this town except on dedicated bike paths. Too fucking scary.
@31 jeez what an awful world u live in! If that happened to me I would just ignore them and move on with my day (as most people would), not assault them. It's called self control. If someone SAYS something u don't like the normal expected response is not throwing coffee. Maybe u have had coffee thrown on u a lot. Or maybe u have thrown coffee on other people a lot. Or both. U certainly sound like it. I haven't, but then again, I behave in a normal, reasonable manner. Stop trying to defend someone throwing a baby fit & coffee on another human being for WORDS that came out of their mouth.
I'm glad that a driver was able to be pro-active against a bicyclist. Instead of a bicyclist trying to do damage to a car with a U-Lock or chain.
Most bicyclist know the rules of the road and follow them. The rest end up under the car. They scrap up the mess and someone paints a bike white and leaves it there. Then no one cares and we all keep on living. Well except for the idiot that tried to fight a car with a bike.
@31 yeah, you're a shithesd.

Stop trying to make it out that the cyclist didn't throw a fit, go up to a car, and start lecturing a stranger. That's not just saying something in conversation, or even a "hey, learn how to drive!" yelled at the driver as she turned in front of him. Even a semi-sympathetic cartoon shows a self-righteous male lecturing a female stranger who has no idea who he is, or what he's about. He's lucky it was just coffee - not that more would be justified, but it's stupid of him to not be aware of potential consequences.

I do enjoy that the "y" and "o" on your keyboard appear to be broken.
@18 - You're calling someone out for taking the actual words of an actual person making an actual police report at face value (a valid stance to take considering those words are the only representation we have of this encounter), while at the same time creating a narrative about the motivations of the bicyclist based on a cartoonist's rendering of an incident he did not witness based on a written report. Gotcha.

I'm not saying that the bicyclist's version of events is completely accurate, but I'd give it far more credence than the artist's rendering of his physical appearance. Chances are stellar that whether or not he was wearing a helmet wouldn't even be noted in the police report since that detail is 100% irrelevant to the interaction between the biker and the driver. He could have been on his way home from a puppy kicking party and it would have no bearing on this incident, because no matter how reckless or horrible a person he happens to be, assault is assault.

...What? You'll jump to the defense of someone who physically assaulted a guy based on a (MAYBE) perceived threat, but not to the defense of someone who (MAYBE) raised his voice to the person who just nearly made him road kill. Right. Makes total sense. My apologies for thinking that the person who merely responded verbally to a near-death incident responded more appropriately to the situation than a person who threw coffee at someone they almost ran over.

We all live in the same world, one where, for example, innocent kids are gunned down with impunity for no reason whatsoever; a world rife with people who don't exercise good judgement, or who have issues with self-control. In a situation like the one described in this comic, it would seem imprudent to expect a "normal response", particularly if you believe the person in question just did something dangerous, stupid, illegal, or some combination of all three. Rather, I would think the better default would be to expect them to do something irrational, based on their behavior, and to make the decision to engage them (or not) accordingly. If events played out as the cyclist described, this would seem to be a perfect case in point, as the driver's irrational behavior appears to have been pretty consistent throughout.


Which was why I asked the question about whether the depiction was accurate in the first place (cit ref @1). And actually, I would think whether or not the cyclist was wearing a helmet would be a salient detail in the report, since again, failure to wear one is a citeable infraction in King County.
Here's hoping the cyclist got the license plate number! The SPD can pay her a lovely visit to issue the vehicular assault and reckless endangerment citation(s). And then send a little thank you card with ticket copies to her car insurance company:) That would be a start.

As a 48 yo native I've not actually run into this level of douchebaggery much. From my perspective this is an imported attitude towards cyclists in general that demonstrates a most classist and disgusting level of entitlement. Please SPD & AG, throw the book at her. Hard! No verbal tongue-lashing from any cyclist - even if whiney (omg, boo-hoo) - justifies assault!
@19, no, I'm pretty sure this is the RCW and it's written for a situation where a bicyclist is slower than traffic. It also says you can use the leftmost through lane on one way streets too.

RCW 46.61.770
Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.

(1) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe except as may be appropriate while preparing to make or while making turning movements, or while overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
I see Mr. Berry has learned how to ensure a healthy dose of comments on his SLOG posts. Any time he needs to validate his position, just draw a bike vs. car cartoon. It's red meat for SLOGgers!
@41: the whole thing is maybe's: maybe it happened one way, maybe it happened a different way, maybe what was described has no relation to reality whatsoever, who knows? Maybe the driver was at fault, or maybe the cyclist was inattentive and positioned where he shouldn't have been in the first place. It certainly wouldn't be the first time someone mis-characterized a situation like this, either inadvertently or deliberately, so you might forgive those of us who exhibit a healthy dose of skepticism. In any case, we can debate the hypotheticals until we're all blue in the face or our fingers are worn down to bloody nubs, but in the end the best any of us can do is to try not to act like either of the persons involved in this incident.
And all of you assholes are why I don't drive *or* ride my bike in this town.

Oh, and I've seen enough gopro footage of aggro cyclists being treated like shit by aggro drivers to know that everybody sucks in most of these scenarios.
@35: Lecturing a stranger is, in most cases, rude and annoying. Throwing a hot cup of coffee in someones face is (in all non self-defense cases) felony assault. The former doesn't justify the latter; if it did, we'd live in a far more violent world than we do.
make that @39

Which is one of the reasons I'm skeptical things went down the way they're described. If the cyclist had had a cup of hot coffee thrown on them, why didn't they IMMEDIATELY report the assault? Why did they wait until they had another confrontation with the same driver, wherein they allegedly made a second attempt at assault? Something smells fishy here, and it ain't the fish.
Re: Helmet. It would only be relevant to a report regarding a helmet infraction/citation. Since it would be a completely separate infraction made by a separate person, it has no reason to be in the same report as the assault. Far more believable that the artist just didn't want or think to draw a helmet.

But, the problem in both cases is that, in addition to your "healthy dose of skepticism," you're actively taking sides in an event that you yourself claim we can have no knowledge of, for or against the narrative. (Apologies for the incredibly awkward wording.)

You're not only dismissing the claims of the bicyclist, but you're adding in justification for the other party, whose side we haven't even had the privilege of hearing. It's one thing to say, "I have no reason to believe this is accurate," and another to say, "...but, somehow it's probably the biker's fault." That's not just being skeptical of the biker's claims. That's inventing an entirely new story out of thin air. Hell, maybe he summoned his pet raptors to attack her, not because she nearly hit him, but because she had an anti-raptor bumper sticker, and she didn't throw the coffee at all - one of the raptors swiped it out of her hand. I mean, since we can't believe anything we read, that's JUST as likely a scenario, right?
Call later lindy west! This woman is obviously a victim of misogyny and fat shaming.
Oops, "later" wasn't supposed to be there.

If I'm showing any bias, and I don't necessarily deny that to be the case, it's based on my own personal experiences with entitled douchebags on bikes. But I try not to generalize, since I realize that isn't how all cyclists behave. But, given the tone of this story, the "victim" here sounds a lot like ones I've encountered, and thus I'm not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

As I said in a previous comment, without corroborating evidence or a second set of eyes, it's all just "he said", and I've seen enough examples of mendacious speech in my life to not take anyone's story at face-value.

Felony assault? Give me a break. She threw her coffee cup at him, the cup hit him in the face, and some coffee got on him. He was unharmed, by his own account.

@All those claiming a near-death situation:

They were BOTH turning right according to the cyclist, and he was mad that she "swerved around him" during her turn. The second time, when she "swerved" into him, he was stopped, she was trying to turn right again, and she drove off. And, by his own account, neither he nor his bike were damaged.
@43: Unless there's some corroborating video or other evidence nobody's throwing the book at anyone. You think the cops are investigating every bicycle/car shouting match?
@54 But the 'tone' of the story is a cartoon meant for entertainment. I can guarantee you the original police report had no such tone. The comic is ultimately an expression of the artist, with only the pertinent details taken from the report, so any tone it takes has more to do with the author and with your own experiences with bikes than it does with the actual biker it's depicting.

I'm not going to deny that some bikers are jerks. But some drivers are jerks, too, and regardless of who is or isn't a jerk in this situation, it seems clear that the person who ended up throwing beverages and swerving their thousands of pounds of rolling metal at others is the one who ultimately crossed the line from jerk to criminal. You can argue all day about whether or not he 'deserved' it, but that doesn't make her alleged actions any less illegal.
You don't have to be physically harmed for something to be a near-death incident. It merely requires there to have been a real possibility of moral harm.
@55 again, just pointing out u are defending throwing coffee on others. I bet if u had coffee thrown on you you'd be complaining about how it's felony assault. I guess since nobody got hurt even if a crime was committed then it's jolly al-right.
@57 thank you

I think if every driver walked (pedaled) a mile in a bicyclist's shoes they'd understand a little more why cyclists get upset when cars don't pay attention/put lives in danger
@5 - I agree that cars don't belong in an urban environment ... if we define urban environment as one with such comprehensive and easily accessible transit that driving is no longer necessary.

So ... When do we get that?l

There does not appear to be anything more than the possibility of "moral" harm here, agreed.
@59, It goes both ways.
@62 it's different when u are the more vulnerable one
I am stunned by the odd responses to this. Some bicyclists are stupid in acting like they are in a car, and most Seattleite drivers are morons. You all meed to learn to behave like normal humans.

Get over the vulnerability Olympics. Participate in the street like you want to live. Yell at other participants if you want to pick a fight. Don't pick fights. Bring up deficiencies in this system with the city council and Seattle DOT, not other street users.

And seriously, type out "you" like you are a fucking adult.
Because we all approach cars who have wronged us, tap on the window, and politely explain what the driver did wrong. Yeah, that seems totally legit.

Sounds like the driver was in the wrong and also I would like the cyclist's contact information so I can throw some coffee at him.
@60: kapow! head shot! :highfive:

Thank you! What we have here is a fucking clueless driver with some leftover coffee (HOT SCALDING COFFEE THAT LEFT THE CYCLIST BLIND - FELONY!!!!) and a hissy-fitting cyclist (HOW DARE BICYCLES THINK THAT THEY CAN TAKE MY PRECIOUS LANES!!!). Two everyday Seattle stereotypes clash, and it's apparently a story.
"um excuse me ma'am but could you roll down your window? I don't know if you noticed back there but your maneuver was somewhat inconsid–– HOLY FUCK WHY ARE YOU MACING ME I WAS JUST TRYING TO HELP YOU BE A BETTER DRIVER JESUS GOD I VOTED FOR THE TUNNEL AND EVERYTHING"

-- the story from the biker's point of view

Are you sure it was just mace mixed in with the trace coffee left in the cup she no longer cared about? I'm pretty sure that CAR DRIVERS BRINGING ABOUT THE APOCALYPSE all have access to ricin. Thanks for your totally reasonable and accurate description of how Sacrificial Lamb Cyclist was nearly killed.
An inconvenient typo on my part since it set up your dismissal so nicely, but if you seriously think a giant metal box is not potentially life threatening to a squishy human should two come into contact, I don't think I can help you.
Jesus fucking christ, you're all a bunch of whiny, entitled little shits.
@15- The pedestrian who got knifed started beati g on a cyclist after jaywalking i to hos path and causing an accident. If the cyclist had been driving the pedestrian might be dead. If the cyclist had a gun the pedestrian ,oght be dead. In both cases the law would have been on the cyclist's side.
Good lord typing on this little touch screen is hard.
@13 - Current bicycle helmets provide very little (or possibly no) protective benefit. The studies that show helmets to be beneficial (such as the one King County Board of Health cites to support the King Co. helemt law) have been discredited due to faulty methodologies.

There is research that suggests that automobile drivers would get a substantial benefit from wearing helmets (similar to those worn by auto racers). So perhaps it is drivers that care very little for their safety?
@63, no it's not.
@77 I GUARANTEE U would act differently in a situation where u were completely exposed to a multi-ton object pushing into u, as opposed to being in a car as well and the result is a dent and some annoying insurance issues.
These comics are now my favorite part of Slog.
YOU. Y O U. Why is that so fucking difficult?
I know I'm late to this party, but everyone who's up in arms about the cyclist not wearing a helmet: are we getting that just from the pictures, or is there another source? Because if the pictures are supposed to be the proof, then the driver of the car should be easy to identify because she has no nose.