Did I witness a crime?

I want to ask your opinion on what I witnessed. Today I was driving down 580 in lane #3 in stop and go traffic. As a motorcyclist came up the lane between lanes 3 & 4, the driver in lane number #4 appeared to swerve towards me to cut off the motorcyclist. Because I saw the movement I likewise moved slightly towards lane 2 and the motorcyclist was by and I corrected my course. The whole time I’m like “Holy Shit! Did he just try to hit that guy?” My son was in the passenger seat oblivious to the whole thing.

Now I try to get a look at the driver, who appears to maybe have heard me as he now seems to be periodically and intently looking at something in his passenger seat. Now he could have been looking at that the whole time and never saw the motorcyclist, but it didn’t feel right. I think he deliberately tried to intimidate the motorcyclist and could have killed the guy. I’ve been wondering since then if I should have called the police. What say you guys?

How would you distinguish between this and someone who momentarily lost track of where he was in his lane? It’s certainly possible that he was trying to cut off a motorcycle who was splitting lanes - it has happened. But I don’t think what you’ve related to us would allow you to reach that conclusion. What does looking at something in the passenger seat have to do with anything? Do you think he had a gun there? I’m not sure how that relates to the first part of the story.

If this was California, yes. Let me find it.

California Vehicle Code 22400

California Vehicle Code 22517

No I don’t think he had a gun and I’m conceding that maybe he was looking down at the passenger seat and that’s what caused the swerve but…

That’s pretty coincidental to happen right at the moment the motorcyclist was attempting to pass. It also seems counterintuitive. If I see movement on my right I would swerve left to avoid it, not right into the it. (I’ve edited this).

Not sure how either of the bold parts in running coach’s post apply. The other driver didn’t stop (possibly apart from it being stop-and-go traffic), and didn’t open his car door. And are either of those actually crimes?

That’s not to say there aren’t other laws that would apply, assuming the driver did it on purpose.

Yes, somewhere between Livermore and Dublin/Pleasonton.

You swerve right when you notice movement on your right?

It’s possible the guy panicked - or responded based on what he heard not saw.

I think it is - what is the expression - much better to attribute something to incompetence than to malice. I wasn’t there - so I don’t know’ but sometimes what you think you saw isn’t what actually happened. Not saying it didn’t, but when stuff happens real fast - sometimes it is real hard to tell.

Sorry DataX, you responded before I retyped that the way I meant it. When I saw the guys car swerve toward me, from let to right, I also moved from left to right.

Wait a minute. You’re asking if what the other car driver did was illegal? How about the motorcyclist? Is it legal for a motorcycle to pass between two adjacent cars in the first place? I’m not saying that justifies trying to kill him, but it certainly would mitigate the circumstances.

Ok - just wanted to make sure you weren’t the one trying to kill the guy and using this as your alibi or something :slight_smile:

California is the only state that allows lane-splitting.

In California, yes.

According to the link above, I numbered the lanes wrong. So I would have been in Lane 2, the other driver in Lane 1.

You may have witnessed a crime but I think calling police would have been excessive. Did you get they guys plate number? What would the police be able to do about the swerve, besides take your word for it?

When I see someone lanesplitting I move out of their way (while remaining in their lane), and some other drivers do that too. Not that that’s relevant, but hey.

Given the way he was staring into the passenger’s seat, my first thought would have been a bug in his car. Some people freak out.

The simplest explanation was that he was distracted by something next to him and the swerve was either from a jolt of surprise in his peripheral vision or simple inattention.

HeddaRose I actually got the plate, make and a descritption of the driver. But I just wasn’t sure enough to make a call, it sure ‘felt’ intentional to me at the time. The seat thing is probably what most makes me think it was unintentional, like he may have been using/viewing a tablet or something.

In general motor vehicle violations are not considered crimes.

The difference between this being a careless act which could possibly be a violation of a motor vehicle statute and a crime is intent. Unless you were able to question the driver and he admitted to doing it on purpose there is no way to know if it was a crime.

Thanks Loach, nice to have an officer of the law POV.