October 6, 2013

Mad Max in New York

We’ve all seen the video: a biker, later identified by police as 28-year-old Christopher Cruz, brake-checks an SUV carrying newlyweds and their 2-month-old child.
After that, all hell breaks loose.
The SUV drivers runs over at least three bikes and/or riders — one of whom is in a medically-induced coma and may be paralyzed — resulting in a madcap chase through northern Manhattan and ending in the beating and slashing of the SUV driver, Alexian Lien.
That’s crazy, but it’s not even the actual crazy part.
According to a report in the New York Post, the bikers — at least 30 of them — were attempting to illegally close down an entire section of the West Side Highway to perform stunts.
Yeah, you read that right.
What were they even doing there in the first place?
Well, it turns out that the NYPD was aware of a ride organized by bikers outside of the city into Times Square, so they setup checkpoints to deter the bikers while looking for infractions.
55 bikes were impounded for various reasons. Many of the bikes in the videos don’t even bear license plates. In fact, the cops got over 200 calls about the bikers causing all sorts of problems.
A user from LiveLeak.com managed to grab about an hour’s worth of videos that were about to be deleted from YouTube of the antics prior to the SUV incident. It’s wild stuff, bikers breaking innumerable traffic laws, riding on the sidewalks full of pedestrians, and behaving like complete jackasses (and I say this as a motorcyclist who just last week got a verbal warning from the NYPD for allegedly lane splitting on a city street).
The crazy thing is that this isn’t even that uncommon; on the same day, about 30 miles north, I witnessed a pack of bikers speeding through a busy three-lane interstate doing wheelies on the freeway.
So what does the NYPD do about it? They can’t actually do much.
Often, the bikers are generally inclined not to pull over and giving chase can lead to injuries or fatalities, according to the Post. There’s a reason why some of these riders are derisively called “squids.” They are short-lived, dart off at speed and maneuver unpredictably.
Prosecutors decided to drop the charges against the second biker who was arrested (for allegedly trying to break one of the windows in the SUV after it had been forced to a stop following the chase) and sources tell the Post that the case against Cruz is weak as well.
So basically, it’s pretty much Mad Max out there.

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