A Morristown motorist has apologized to a local cyclist for blasting his horn at her, averting a legal showdown.
Through his lawyer, John Farquhar apologized this week to cyclist Kendra Arnold for the April 20 incident. Both sides agreed to drop complaints against each other in an agreement worked out with mediators.
“We continue to try to change bicycling for the better, one motorist at a time,” said Karl Fenske, Kendra’s attorney.
According to Kendra’s account to police, she had been pedaling down Madison Avenue in the left turn lane, preparing to make the left onto Normandy Parkway, around noontime back in April when a silver Mercedes blared its horn and passed on her left, crossing a double yellow line.
She caught up with the car at a stop light, knocked on the passenger window, and asked the driver to explain himself.
The driver, John Farquhar, called her crazy and said she belonged on the sidewalk, according to Kendra’s complaint. He told police that Kendra was weaving between lanes and holding up traffic.
At the mediation session, Kendra’s lawyer brought along state traffic regulations, spelling out cyclists’ right to occupy traffic lanes.
John, who works in the real estate business, professed that he had been unaware of those rules and conveyed an apology through his attorney, Peter Gilbreth.
“It was really a problem of location,” Peter said. “She was trying to get in that lane to make a left turn, and he thought she was in the wrong lane. It was more about perceptions.”
“I thought we’d shake hands and go home,” said Kendra, who has a dog-walking business and blogs about biking for MorristownGreen.com. “He (John Farquhar) wasn’t into shaking hands. But I’m glad he knows I belong on the road.”
While she still believes bikers should speak up for their rights, Kendra acknowledged that the legal process created anxiety as delays dragged out the case over the summer. She said she felt lucky to find a bike-friendly lawyer in Karl Fenske, an avid cyclist.
Charges of careless driving, harassment and illegal passing were dropped by Kendra. John Farquhar dropped his complaint alleging failure to keep right, delaying traffic, improper turning and careless driving.
“Now I can move on,” Kendra said. She is organizing a week-long “Bike-O-Rama” series of events in Morristown that start on Saturday.
John Farquhar did not get off quite so lightly. A clerical error cost him his driver’s license for five weeks.