Gothamist: Prospect Park Rope Trap Snags Cyclist, Cops See No Crime

Gothamist spoke with Steve Vaccaro about an apparent trap set for Prospect Park cyclists and the NYPD’s response.

Compared to Second Avenue, cycling through Prospect Park on a weekday evening is as safe as it gets: Foot traffic is low, and cars are nowhere in sight. Unlike the code-red vigilance needed on a traffic-heavy morning commute, riding through the park requires more of a low-level simmer of awareness. Keep an eye out for raccoons.

Midwood resident Michael Wilhelm thought he was safe as he rode laps around the park with a friend last Tuesday. The pair had completed three loops and were cruising at around 18 miles an hour when suddenly, Wilhelm ran into a rope strung across the three lanes of Park Drive near the entrance at Bartel-Pritchard Square. It snagged his wheel, threw him over his handlebars and sent him skidding across the concrete.

Steve Vaccaro, a lawyer who specializes in cyclists’ rights, believes the incident should be investigated as a crime, since intentional injury qualifies as reckless endangerment. He said that kids—or people with “kid mentalities”—do occasionally amuse themselves by injuring cyclists, citing a Park Slope computer programmer who was hit in the face with a brick, and instances of tacks left in Central Park.

“When you take a fall off a bike, it makes a tremendous difference when you have any warning,” he said. “But as horrible as his injuries sound, I think it could have been much worse.”

Read the full article here.

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