From Megan Hottman – “TheCyclist-Lawyer.com”
I am sure most of you have read the comments posted to cycling websites and news sites following a motorist-bicycle accident. When cyclists perceive that the motorist was behaving irresponsibly, it seems many of the comments posted allude to the fact that the driver should have been charged with “attempted assault” or “attempted murder.” In this emotionally charged environment, the reality of the operation and function of the legal system commonly is distorted or completely misunderstood.
I thought it might be helpful to explain the charges and the elements that must be proven to support those charges so that we cyclists can all get on the same page when it comes to the criminal charges (and traffic citations) frequently issued in these cases. Please note- this article does not discuss the civil actions that can be filed against the motorist (e.g., a personal injury lawsuit).
Let’s begin with a basic description of the criminal process. Cases involving criminal charges are prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office on behalf of the State of Colorado. The injured cyclist is not a named party to the action but as the victim, is actively involved in the process.