The case of a D.C. cyclist intentionally hit by a driver is angering a Washington bicycle group. They don't think the driver's punishment is severe enough. That cyclist talked to News4's Tom Sherwood about what happened and his disappointment over the driver's sentence.
A bicyclist who was cursed at and run off the road in D.C. in August 2011 is disappointed in the sentence the driver received.
Evan Wilder, 34, commutes from Mt. Rainier in Prince George’s County to downtown D.C. along busy Rhode Island Avenue.
“That morning I was just riding to work,” Wilder said. “I was just coming down Rhode Island Avenue.”
The terrifying moment when an angry motorist pulled alongside him and cursed him for riding -- legally -- in a traffic lane was caught on Wilder’s bike camera.
“And I couldn't really understand him from the road noise, so I said, ‘What's that?’” Wilder said. “And then he immediately just took over the lane and knocked me down. His truck hit me; I hit the ground."
Wilder, who suffered shoulder pains, cuts and bruises and damage to his bike, told News4 he's disappointed that the driver, 57-year-old John W. Diehl of Washington, received a negotiated sentence of mandatory anger management classes, a drivers’ safety course and 25 hours of community service -- not an assault charge.
“That was what, you know, keeps me up at night and I think scares the life out of cyclists -- that you can get assaulted," Wilder said.
The influential Washington Area Bicyclist Association also critized the sentence and lack of an assault charge.
"We think drivers who intentially assault cyclists on the road shouldn't be allowed to drive," said Greg Billing, of WABA.
In a statement to News4, the U.S. Attorney's Office for D.C. said that, "We are satisfied that in this case we were able to hold Mr. Diehl accountable for his actions while avoiding protracted litigation." The U.S. attorney also said if the driver misses part of his sentence, he will face jail time.
That's little consolation to Wilder, who maintains a
. Every cyclist should have a camera, he said.
“So the camera caught his license plate, it caught his voice, it caught his face and it was critical in letting police figure out who was driving that car,” he said.
The lawyer's office representing Diehl declined to comment.