Last year, Streetsblog brought you the story of Anthony Ryan, a middle-aged art instructor who teaches at several San Francisco colleges. He was on his way home one evening from a job at San Francisco State, around 9 p.m. this time last year, when he suddenly found himself in mortal danger at the hands of a motorist who was determined to harm him. You can review the details here.
The end of the attack was caught on video and detectives tracked down the assailant by the license plate. The man driving the car was eventually convicted of assault. But the incident still troubles Ryan. Streetsblog has covered several stories about cyclists who have been harmed or threatened, either intentionally or because of irresponsible behavior. But it’s important to remember that the physical and psychological pain and disruption from these incidents, even when there aren’t serious injuries, lingers. All the more reason that the core causes are so important to address, both with law enforcement and better infrastructure.
That’s why Streetsblog sat down with Ryan to reflect on the incident and the trial and prosecution, one year later.
Streetsblog: How often do you ride your bike?
Anthony Ryan: Every day, basically. Even when I take the bus and BART to Diablo Valley College, where I teach in Pleasant Hill, I bring my bike for the last half-mile and to get around campus.
SB: I understand the road rage incident in 2015 wasn’t your first life-and-death experience on a bike?
AR: Yes, I had a crash in 2011. I was in a crosswalk at Victoria and Ocean and someone ran the red and hit the front of my bike. And I was launched and landed on my face.
SB: You ended up in the hospital and had your jaw wired, is that right?
AR: Yes. I was cited for unsafe movement.
SB: What! Did you challenge that?
(Shook his head)
SB: Why not?
AR: I was talking with a lawyer for a while. I had minimal liability from the driver and then I was battling with my insurance company. I had a $100,000 bill from SF General and spent close to two years fighting Anthem Blue Cross, getting them to pay. Pretty typical.
SB: What did the lawyer do?
AR: She actually really helped with the insurance company and didn’t get any money for herself out of that.
SB: But you didn’t go after the driver? I guess that’s hard if the police cited you. Did you talk with your Supervisor about the police?
AR: I was in touch with the Bicycle Coalition. They said to file a complaint with the Office of Citizen’s Complaints. I didn’t pursue that. Read more…