Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hearing update.

Hi guys,

Sorry for the super whiney post yesterday. I'm feeling much better today. I don't know what my problem was. Sometimes I just need to get over myself, ha.

For those of you that don't follow me on twitter (and I don't blame you, I tweet an absurd number of times a day), the sentencing hearing for this morning was continued until October 14th. I was all set to go, the USAO was all set to go, the judge was all set to go....but the defendant wasn't. Apparently he had some issues with his plea, so he opted to review it again with his attorney.

Which is *fine*. I'd rather this be done the right way, beyond a reasonable doubt, than for someone to feel rushed into doing something they are not comfortable with. Worst case scenario: he spends another month in jail. Well, actually worst case scenario is that he disavows his plea and we go to trial anyway. Not that it would matter in the end. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I really want to thank WABA, and especially executive director Shane Farthing who showed up in person. It really meant a lot. I know this was posted last minute, so I really wasn't expecting a huge or even a small showing. It didn't help that the docket wasn't showing up on the court website & that the room got changed at the last minute. But it really was a big help. I guess I didn't really understand how it would feel to be on the "victim" side of things, since I'm used to being on the police officer side of things. I've testified in court bunches and bunches of times. I'm used to it. But I won't lie and tell you that my stomach was in knots and I desperately wanted to see a familiar face. It was a big relief to know that I wasn't alone (and I know many of you were thinking of me, since my phone kept buzzing in a most reassuring manner).

Also, I really want to thank the cyclist that showed up and said hello to me after the hearing. I really wish I had a chance to get your name and thank you. Again, it meant a lot.

I do want to draw your attention to WABA's attempt to get a bicycle anti-harassment law passed. If you click on that link, it will also take you to a link for a video in which a DC cyclist is clearly harassed and then purposely struck by a motorist. It's unfortunate that incidents like this are far too common. This is why this anti-harassment legislation is needed.

On a more reassuring note, I want those of you that either already are or especially those that are considering cycling in DC: it really is safe. It has come to my attention recently that many folks out there feel that cycling is a dangerous activity. It really isn't. It is unfortunate when incidents like mine and the cyclist's in the video happens, but it doesn't mean it will happen to you.

I ride a bicycle *every day*.  For many days, I ride a bicycle between 4-6 hours a day in various parts of the city. I would say that 98.9% of the time, it is without incident. Since I have taken up cycling, my stress levels during my commute (and at work) have dropped significantly. You know who are stressed? Motorists! Drivers are disgruntled. From the impolite gestures to the impatient honking, I wonder how some of them simply don't collapse from heart attacks. Luckily they tend to aim their frustrations at each other. The best cure for a bad mood is a good, long bike ride. There have been plenty of times I've woken up & dreaded going to work--but by the time I arrived I felt a million times better. I've never, ever heard a motorist make the same claim. I can't imagine that being stuck in the morning rush hour is a mood-booster. Sure, I encounter the annoying/aggressive motorist or fellow cyclist (and even pedestrian).  But they are the minority. Most of the people I encounter while I'm riding simply fall off my radar because they aren't doing anything to draw attention to themselves. Most people know how to behave. It's when people misbehave that you notice them, and it only takes one arsehole to ruin your day. The best remedy for that is to simply get back on your bike and ride.

In fact, if you really want a good idea of what it is like to ride a bicycle every day, I strongly urge you to read Tales from the Sharrows. This blog is a true, detailed account of his every day commutes to & from work in an urban environment. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out how easy & pleasant it can be.

My point is that riding a bicycle is a safe & fun activity. Sometimes we forget that, and focus way too much on potential dangers.

Hopefully, I will see you out there!

1 comment:

  1. For those of us who have been unable to come to your hearings, let me say that we greatly appreciate what you did and what you are doing with this case. I ride my bike to work in DC about 150 times per year and the thought of being assaulted is pretty damned chilling. Good on you!

    Don't worry too much about not getting the cyclists name. I was the guy with the folding bike who stood next to you and Betty at the start of last year's 50 States ride and I didn't introduce myself. Bad on me!

    Despite vowing to retire from the 50 States ride after doing it 3 times, I will be back (with some other 50 States veterans) this year. If I see you (actually Betty) I'll introduce myself.