But what can we take away from this? I don't think the successful prosecution/vindication of cyclists rights is what we should take away. Cyclists are not really any safer after this incident. People like Dr. Thompson are not thinking logically, they are thinking with their emotions. They don't carefully weigh the consequences of their actions. Don't count on this prosecution as a deterrent and think you are safer on your bike now.
Going into the new year, each of us needs to think about our behavior on the bike. And I am as guilty as anyone. So I am going to try to change. When I get cut off, honked at, yelled at, or otherwise annoyed on the road, I am going to keep my cool, keep my finger to myself, and go merrily on my way. The only thing flipping the bird does is potentially escalate the situation. It certainly does not protect you as a cyclist in any way. And the guy you insult may be the cyclist-hater that runs me down.
Consider the next cyclist this person will encounter and be courteous. That's all it takes. Try real hard to make the change. When you are in these situations, be the one to think with your brain and not your emotions. Assuming you aren't injured physically, courteously ignore the abuse. Also, when on bike/pedestrian pathways, remember you are the big bad car and act responsibly. Those pedestrians probably drive cars too so we want them to like us. Then pat yourself on the back for making roads safer for cyclists.
Not a bad resolution, eh?
Link to January 8, 2010 Sentencing Update