Yesterday at about 1:30 p.m., Alexian Lien, 33, was driving a Range Rover north on the West Side Highway near 125th Street with his wife and 5-month old daughter as passengers, according to reports in the Post and Daily News. About 20 seconds into the video, group of motorcycle and dirt bike riders surround the SUV in the center lane, and a motorbike rider appears to hit the brakes and get into a fender-bender with Lien’s vehicle.You've seen the video. (Or if not, check it out.) We watched it here at Meadhouse this morning — my son Chris along with Meade and me — and we had some different interpretations of what we saw. I'm linking to StreetsBlog, above, but there are obviously more mainstream articles (like this in the NYT). My choice of link is based on my desire to get some perspective on what these bikers are doing. (I thought they had an intent to rob the guy in the expensive car, and they deliberately cut him off, and Meade saw it as bikers out for a big group ride who felt righteous and lost their minds to road rage after what was an accident.)
There are 77 comments at StreetsBlog, which seems to be a bicycle-oriented site where people are concerned about sharing the road. I'll cherry-pick some comments. Each paragraph break is a new commenter:
I don't know what happened before the video, but based only on what I see here, the driver is acting in self defense. He is surrounded, and the initial crash was obviously deliberately caused by the guy on the motorcycle. Additionally, the guys family is in the car. At that point, its either himself and his family or them, and the only weapon he has is that car. Also, as a side note: This has nothing to do with "street culture." Its an absolutely extreme situation that's way past the point where traffic laws or driving behavior are the issue.There's a lot to talk about here, but one thing is damage to the mayoral candidacy of the left-wing Democrat Bill de Blasio.
This has everything to do with NYC's street culture. It's a culture that's enabled by the NYPD, which focuses on tinted windows and nuisance tickets against cyclists, but sees hundreds of motorcycles on the HH parkway as the equivalent of a storm cloud - something that could be dangerous but that hopefully will pass. EVents like this are extreme, but they are the inevitable outcome of NYC's "anything goes" attitude toward street safety.
It's more like the outcome of the "if you chase them and any body gets hit in the process all fingers will be pointed at you" mentality. Most of these guys are simply going to run from the cops, and any attempt to chase them will involve risk to all the parties involved as well as innocent bystanders. It's a lose/lose situation for the NYPD.
There is plenty wrong with NYC street culture, but this video does not "encapsulate" it. There is nothing typical about this scene. The motorcyclists represent thug culture more than street culture, and this guy just happened to get caught in the middle of it and was probably scared shitless, and rightfully so. I saw an incarnation of this group riding through Brooklyn yesterday, and you wouldn't want to get into a situation with any two of these riders let alone two hundred.
First, there seems to be at least 50 motorcyclists in some of these shots. So, I ask, have they gotten a parade permit that is required of cyclists and pedestrians? Secondly. I saw a comment in another string on a website that reports that the NYPD has a do not engage policy when it comes to these throngs of motorcyclists. Not sure what that is supposed to mean, but if it is true, then why is there such a double standard when it comes to bikes? Finally, while riding I have been surrounded by around a dozen or so of these hot shots from time to time. It can be pretty scary when they are doing wheelies near you and gunning their bikes.
This video encapsulates everything wrong with NYPD's traffic enforcement culture. I've been there more than once as these illegal parades of thugs on unregistered and unlicensed dirt bikes swarm the streets, both on foot and in a car, and it is scary as hell either way. Other commenters are right. Given NYPD's lack of enforcement, best thing to do is to come to a complete stop and let them pass. Even so, many of them intentionally come dangerously close to cars, bicycles, and pedestrians in their path, running red lights and failing to yield all along the way.
I was on the Hudson River Greenway when these guys passed Canal Street. There had to be at least 200 of them. I've never seen so many motorbikes (and Quads too?) in my life. I was on the phone with my fiance and I was like wow . . . that's got to be so intimidating to be on the road with those guys. And then I sit back and laugh and think about the police presence we have at Critical Mass rides.
It certainly looked like they crowded him out of his lane and the the brake-checking started when he beeped. If theres anything before the video, obviously this interpretation would change.
Fool (driver) should have slowed down. Not saying the bikers were right, but come on, how dumb can you be. Situation could have been avoided.
Why was this driver targeted? These bikers don't target random people. The most important part is missing. The vehicle was surrounded in the very beginning of the video. Something must have occurred prior.
HE WAS A WEALTHY ASIAN MAN... 1%er! Hopefully Asians realize that no matter how much money they have and how insulated they believe themselves due to their wealth, they can be pulled from their cars and nearly murdered while the NYPD issues parking tickets. Just a taste of the de Blasio first term!