Update: Dec. 3 — Sentencing for Christopher Thompson was delayed until Jan. 8, 2010.
The scales of justice tipped in favor of bicyclists in a Los Angeles County courtroom on Monday.
A jury convicted an LA-area emergency room doctor with a handful of felony counts for slamming on his brakes in front of a pair of cyclists on a hilly road in 2008. His actions sent one bicyclist into the rear window of the doctor's car and another one sprawling to an adjacent sidewalk. Both suffered serious injuries.
The judge ordered Dr. Christopher Thompson held without bail until sentencing, VeloNews reports.
The doctor was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving causing specified bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury and mayhem. Some of the charges dealt with the July 4, 2008, crash, while others stemmed from a previous incident that didn't cause injuries.
The doctor maintained during the trial that it was all just an accident, but here's what he told LAPD traffic investigator Robert Rodriguez at the scene:
“I just live up the road. I was driving to go to work. The bikers were in front of me, three across. I honked my horn and yelled ‘ride single file.’ The bicyclists flipped me off and yelled back. I passed them up and stopped in front to teach them a lesson. I’m tired of them. I’ve lived here for years and they always ride like this.”
Dr. Thompson could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
It's a good thing that the doctor will be off the road for a while if serves a prison term. What is even better is that motorists in LA have been put on notice to treat bicycle riders as humans with rights, not objects that might be in their way.