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Road rage drivers are a danger to all on the road and especially bicyclists. Recent road rage incidents involving Wisconsin drivers include a trucker stabbed to death after pulling over to fight another trucker, and a 68 year old man blocking in a 21 year old’s car and punching the young driver in the face multiple times after allegedly getting cut off by the driver. I have experience representing bicyclists who were injured by drivers suffering from Road Rage. Road Rage cases may involve additional damages and are unique in that the Road Rage driver's insurance company will likely deny any coverage for the injuries sustained by the bicyclist.
What Causes Road Rage? Psychological conditions of the driver lead to aggressive and impaired driving. With more cars on the road, violent and aggressive driving is on the rise. What is the Best Way to Deal with a Road Rage Driver? If you are on a bicycle, it is best to get far off the road as soon as possible, call 911 immediately and get away from the driver who may exit his car to come after you.
What is Bike Rage? Similar to road rage, bike rage is aggressive and out of the ordinary behavior taken by bicyclists or drivers based on interactions with vehicles or other pedestrians. It may be a sudden reaction to a near death experience or could be the result of years of pent up anger from near misses by cars. According to Dr. Leon James, both bicyclists and drivers experience tension, anxiety, and anger, when driving or riding in Urban Areas. Examples include a bicyclist stabbing a driver with a screwdriver, bicyclist shooting a driver, and a bicyclist attacking another biker after one suggested the other should get a bike light. Bike rage or negative interactions between drivers and cyclists may also be caused by a misunderstanding of the laws. If a driver or bicyclist misunderstands the law, he or she may get upset with the other for an alleged violation. This can lead to arguments over who is right/wrong, and increases the tension between the two. Some also believe that the anger between drivers and bicyclists is caused by the recent increase of bikes on the road. Since cars and drivers have gotten used to having the roads to themselves, the recent shift and increase in bikes on the roads makes drivers uncomfortable and they don’t want to change their behavior.
What laws may be invovled in a Wisconsin Bicycle Accident Road Rage case? In any case involving intentional harmful conduct by a driver or bicyclist, there is always a possibility for criminal charges. These might include battery, property damage, homicide, and reckless injury. In addition, a person injured by a road rage driver may have additional civil legal options including punitive damages. Punitive damages are generally an award of damages in addition to all other damages and their purpose is to punish the defendant by forcing him or her to pay. In Wisconsin, punitive damages may be awarded if evidence is submitted showing that the defendant acted maliciously toward the plaintiff or in an intentional disregard of the rights of the plaintiff. If injured by a road rage driver while bicycling, contact bicycle injury lawyer Clayton Griessmeyer.