Bike Snob NYC: “Cycling Under Attack”

Bike Snob comments on District Attorney’s sweetheart plea deal for a motorist who intentionally struck a Vaccaro & White client.

So how much would you pay to run a cyclist down with your SUV in the Most Bike-Friendly City In America? $1,500? $1,000? $500? Well, if you act now, you can run down the annoying cyclist of your choice in New York City for the low, low price of $250. That’s only 5,306,250 Vietnamese Dong!

According to Vaccaro and a witness affidavit [PDF], at around 5:00 p.m. on July 13, 2013, Michael (not his actual name) was riding his bike on Avenue B on the Lower East Side. Avenue B is a narrow two-way street with no bike lanes and parking on both sides. To avoid being doored, Michael was riding in the center of his lane. When a motorist approached Michael from behind, tailgating and honking, he responded by flipping the driver off.

Approaching the intersection of Avenue B and E. 13th Street, Michael slowed for a red light. According to the affidavit, the driver, still behind him, accelerated, striking the back of Michael’s bike and flipping him over the handlebars, causing him to hit his head on the ground. With Michael in the street bleeding from his face and head, the motorist swerved around him and attempted to drive off. A second motorist on the opposite side of the intersection tried to block the way, but the SUV driver went around the vehicle and left the scene.

Witnesses noted the SUV’s plate number, and the driver was identified by NYPD as 33-year-old Jose Henriquez, of Queens.

I’m not sure why the SUV driver attempted to escape, given the fact it’s perfectly legal to mow down cyclists here in New York City. Indeed, this turned out to be his fatal mistake, for the New York County District Attorney meted out justice in typical fashion and now he’ll have to dip into his gold chain and body spray fund:

But on Monday afternoon, the assistant district attorney assigned to the case notified Vaccaro and Michael that, after consulting with her supervisor, Vance’s office offered to allow Henriquez to plead to leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Henriquez accepted and was sentenced to a fine of $250.

Yep, $250 for what basically amounts to attempted murder. That’s not even a slap on the wrist–basically they just tickled his balls. Then again, prosecutors are in a bind, since they have to make sure there’s enough room in the prisons for all those low-level drug offenders.

This city should not be receiving accolades from cycling magazines. We should be receiving sanctions from the United Nations.

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