Bicyclist Road Rage in Mill Valley (CA Penal Code 245(a)(1))

Most of us have heard about the phenomenon of “road rage” many times.  Usually, someone becomes angry or violent while driving a vehicle.  But, have you ever heard of road rage occurring on a bicycle?  For one Marin County tech executive, this is the new reality.  40-year-old Kentfield resident (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) was cycling near the intersection of East Blithedale Avenue and Camino Alto (Mill Valley) when a 55-year-old truck driver somehow angered him.  The cyclist then proceeded to assault the man, beating him until he was unconscious.  He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon (ADW).

Yet, how can a man on a bicycle be accused of assaulting someone with a deadly weapon when he had no weapon with him?  That’s because in the state of California, assault with a deadly weapon is not only a “wobbler” (it may be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or as a felony), but you needn’t used an actual weapon in order to fit the criteria for the crime.  According to (CA Penal Code 245(a)(1)), assaulting someone with a force that is “likely to cause great bodily injury” counts as using a “deadly weapon” and the same penalties apply.

If he is convicted of a misdemeanor charge pursuant to the above section of the Penal Code, he may face a $10,000 fine, up to 1 year in county jail, community service, anger management classes, and payment of restitution to the victim.  On the other hand, if he is convicted of a felony charge of the same, he will face up to 4 years in state prison, the same  fines, and (likely) a strike on his record according to California’s “three strikes” law.