Local Bike Advocate Gets Justice!

Written by Boston Biker on May 03

David Watson the executive director of MassBike finally got justice. Several months ago a crazy person hit him while he was stopped at a red light… after many months in court here is what happened.

Last September, I reported that a motorist had intentionally hit me while I was riding to work. Fortunately I was not hurt, but my bike was totaled. As the victim, I wish it had never happened, but as an advocate I decided to learn from the experience how the legal system works and whether it would protect me and hold the driver accountable. It took awhile (seven months) for the case to move through the legal process, from the initial report, to the investigation, to the filing of charges, to a hearing, and finally to a resolution.

I think the system worked in my case, though not in the way I originally expected. I had initially hoped to see the driver convicted in court, but after weighing the options carefully I chose to attempt mediation offered by the Boston Municipal Court. The case was finally settled this week. I know this result will not satisfy everyone, but I feel that it served my purpose. My primary goal was for the motorist to publicly take responsibility for what he had done, and he did. As part of the settlement, the motorist, David Monahan of Roslindale, MA, made the following statement:

On September 13, 2011, I intentionally struck a bicyclist, David Watson, with my car while he was stopped at a red light in Boston. I purposely pushed Mr. Watson’s bicycle with the bumper, pushing it completely out of the road as the light turned green. I cannot undo what I did, but I can and do accept full responsibility. In addition, I extend my sincere apology to Mr. Watson. This incident has served as a real wakeup call for me to be a more responsible, law-abiding, vigilant and aware driver. This is especially necessary in Boston where motorists like me must learn to share the roadways with a growing number of bicyclists.

Having talked face-to-face with the driver, I believe his statement is sincere – that he made a very bad choice and regrets it. I also believe he genuinely wants other motorists to learn from his mistake and do more to protect bicyclists. And I think for a motorist to say these things sends a powerful message that violence against bicyclists is wrong and will not be tolerated.

I hope other bicyclists will share their experiences dealing with the legal system. From my perspective, the system can protect us and hold drivers accountable, but the process is not quick or simple. The legal system has many hurdles built into it that must be cleared by any victim, bicyclists included, but patience and perseverance can lead to a fair result.


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Posted in advocacy, news | 5 Comments »


5 Responses to “Local Bike Advocate Gets Justice!”

  1. By William Furr on May 3, 2012 | Reply

    That’s great news. I’m glad to hear that the justice system can actually work for some cyclists who aren’t dead or put in the hospital.

    Too bad there will probably be very little media coverage. Then again, even if this did make the Boston Globe, the comments section would be full of rage-filled statements from other cagers calling for David’s death.

  2. By Phil Lindsay on May 3, 2012 | Reply

    The wheels of justice are slow for sure. I hope you got some cash for a new bike too! Thanks for all your work.

  3. By Mike McCabe on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    I hope he was pleading guilty to assault and battery with a deadly weapon along with his admission. A deranged loon like this should never again be allowed behind they wheel of a car. Contrition or not this guy is dangerous and should be treated thus. He just decided to run you over rather than wait 5 seconds for you to move. I’m sickened by the entire story. He should be happy I wasn’t the judge in his case.

  4. By DKB on May 4, 2012 | Reply

    Tell us more. Was he charged with driving violations, criminal violations? (What were they?) Did you have your own civil action against him for damages? I wouldn’t expect that there would be mediation for a driving or criminal charge, since it’s the state vs the driver. I’m glad it worked out. People don’t have a clue about the danger a car poses, that’s why the rules concerning them are so extreme.

  5. By matt on May 5, 2012 | Reply

    the ironic thing is that the street this guy lives on intersects a major bike lane on Centre St.

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