I was on a bicycle. A bus was tailgating me and honking his horn. When we stopped at light I twisted his mirror around. Did I commit any crimes?

Driver was trying to scare me or he was just a crappy driver. When we stopped at a light I smacked the hell out of his mirror. Then when he got out of the bus and started yelling at me I hit it again a few times. But it wasn't damaged.

This incident ended with him chasing me and pushing me off of my bike. I had my camera running the whole time so I have audio but the video is never pointing the right direction. While he was pushing me I was yelling at him that if he touches me it is assault.

So, if I file a complaint am I in legal peril for having twisted his mirror around? The mirror (LOL):

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  • Surely this depends on the jurisdiction. I can't recognize it from the photograph ;-) Also, did he chase you in, and push you off of your bike with, the bus? Or was it on foot and with his hands?
    – phoog
    Jun 8, 2016 at 3:52
  • Let's call it upper Midwest. USA.
    – jqning
    Jun 8, 2016 at 3:53

2 Answers 2


The problem with these situations is that you don't get to choose how it goes once it's in the hands of law enforcement. Possible scenarios on bringing a complaint to police or prosecutors:

  1. "So you guys had a dispute, but everyone's OK now. We're not pursuing this; we have more important things to do."
  2. "Hmm ... that could have gotten ugly. We'll do an investigation and check the records of both you and the bus driver to see if either of you have any priors."
  3. "We're trying to make this a more bike-friendly city. And we're cracking down on CDLs especially. Thanks, we'll investigate that driver."
  4. "Thanks for the evidence. You're going to get charged with criminal mischief, and the bus driver is going to get charged with assault."

Of course, you could also send a complaint to the bus company. They are (hopefully) more likely to worry about what their drivers are doing.

The DoT is also concerned with CDL safety, so you can file a complaint with the FMCSA NCCDB.

  • Also possible: "We're trying to make this a bus-friendly city. Making a bus less safe in traffic by sabotaging the mirror is a crime." May 20, 2019 at 21:22

Every jurisdiction will have their own version of this, but what you have done to the bus is criminal damage.

The elements of the offence (in Victoria, but every jurisdiction will have a corresponding offence with roughly the same elements) are:

  • you damaged property,
  • the property belonged to somebody else,
  • you purposely damaged the property, or you knew or believed that damage would result from your actions, and
  • you had no lawful excuse.

Lawful excuses include self-defence and duress. I don't get the impression that you thought that battering the bus was going to stop the bus driver trying to drive over you etc; you were just venting your anger. That's not a lawful excuse.

Maybe the police will exercise their discretion not to press charges, on the basis that you don't routinely go around battering mirrors and this was a one-off stressful situation, or that the damage is negligible. I don't know.

Note I am assuming you caused damage. I don't understand your photo; to me those mirrors looks like they're in the normal positions. If you just touched the mirror and maybe caused an inconvenience because the driver had to stop and re-adjust it, at best you're obstructing traffic (itself an offence but not as serious as criminal damage).

The law is pretty protective of property but it is generally not quite as protective of property as it is of persons. If you touch property without damaging it, generally nothing happens legally. If you touch a person without damaging them, you still commit assault.

References in Victoria:

I don't know your jurisdiction so I can't tell you whether your law has some statutory provision for interference with a bus to be a summary capital offence.

EDIT: There is also a summary offence called 'disorderly conduct', for which you can be fined (and for which you can be arrested, but not imprisoned). The definition in Victoria is 'Any person who behaves in a disorderly manner in a public place is guilty of an offence'. That's pretty broad and wouldn't require actual damage to anything.

  • 2
    The mirror on the right (passenger side, near the door), the one facing and reflecting back toward the camera, is the one I twisted around. It can be twisted back; it is on a swivel. I swiveled it.
    – jqning
    Jun 8, 2016 at 12:52

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