Letter to a Driver

Editor's note: According to bicyclist and attorney Brad Houston, one way of responding to overly aggressive drivers is to record their description and license and report the incident to police. In a recent instance, he wrote the following notice letter to the car's owner (here called "John Smith") as a deterrent to further reckless driving. He says the driver sent the check.


October 11, 2006

Mr. "John Smith"

999 Smith Trail

Austin, Texas 78700

Re: October 11, 2006 Vehicle Assault

Dear Mr. "Smith":

This lawfirm has been retained by several cyclists who were the victims of a civil assault that occurred today on Barton Creek Boulevard just south of FM 2244 in Austin, Texas. At approximately 7:55 a.m. the victims of this incident were traveling in a northerly direction on Barton Creek Boulevard south of the intersection of FM 2244.

A black Acura automobile registered to you was traveling behind the group of cyclists. As the automobile passed the cyclists, the driver of the Acura either knowingly or intentionally drove dangerously close to the cyclists threatening them with imminent bodily injury. Said conduct is actionable under Texas Common Law as described in the Supreme Court case of Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel, Inc., 424 S.W. 2d 627, 30 (Tex.1967).

My clients do not want to profit from this incident. Rather, my clients are determined to deter such conduct. Thus, if within five business days of the date you receive this letter, you do not forward to this office a check payable to the "Salvation Army" in the amount of $100.00, one or more of the cyclists involved will file a lawsuit against you for civil assault. At this time it is not known for sure whether you, your wife Dana, your daughter Sara, or your son Robert, was driving the vehicle at the time. However, such information will be determined through discovery if a lawsuit is filed in this case.

You should know that Chapter 551 of the Texas Transportation Code gives cyclists the right to travel on said roadway so long as they are not more than two abreast. In addition, there was ample room for said vehicle to move to the left as there was an open, center turn-lane present at the incident scene. At the time of the incident, the victims were mostly riding single file with only a few riding two abreast, all allowed by the provisions of Chapter 551 of the Texas Transportation Code.

Witnesses to your conduct include a U. S. Army Major, Retired, a former assistant district attorney, business owners, and several other credible professionals within the Central Texas community. Please know that my clients do not want to file a lawsuit. Rather, their intent is to improve the conduct of the members of this community.

The decision of how this claim will proceed is up to you. Please call me if you would like to discuss this incident. It is important that you do not ignore this letter.


Bradley L. Houston • P. C.

Bradley L. Houston, Attorney at Law

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