I posted a few days ago on my Facebook page that as I have gotten older, I have come to realize the sayings and cliches our parents and teachers were always telling us were spot-on accurate. My post was in reference to how I pay attention to whom others hang out with because “birds of the same feather flock together.” Well, here is another one: “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
This past week marked the end of the trial of the now infamous video that showed the black Range Rover being chased by bikers in New York’s West Side Highway during the Hollywood Block Party Rally. The case has ended with most of the bikers accepting no-jail pleas, or pleas with short jail sentences and/or probation, and the trial of the undercover NYPD officer, Wojciech Braszczok, that broke the back window of the Range Rover, will be held in a few weeks.
What lessons can be learn from this tragic incident? Well, in my post; Road Rage- “I’m No Longer Angry,” I wrote about situations when cagers have been tailgating me or cut me off while riding and how my reaction like most, is to get angry and start yelling at the cager, chase them down, etc..
For one, I think it is safe to say that when riding, you have to have laser-like focus because of all the dangers that exist. If you are riding angry, you are not focused on the task at hand.
Two, you never know how the cager is going to react, which includes hitting you with his car and then claim later they were in fear for their life. Because this video went viral, a cager that gets chased by a biker may claim they were also in fear for their life even though they gave reason for the biker to chase them in the first place.
In this case, there is no doubt the bikers were violating traffic laws and creating havoc, as they were passing cars along the highway, they were popping wheelies, riding while standing on their bikes, and slapping the cars as they rode by. One way to reduce these types of incidents is to simply have a more visible police presence. There was no surprise that the Hollywood Block Party Rally was taking place and that thousands of motorcycles would be on the road that day.
In Miami, during the Toys in the Sun Run, the roads are closed for a few hours to allow the tens of thousands of motorcycles to ride through. However, it is my understanding that permits were denied for the rally, the same issue that occurred last year in Washington for the rally of 2 Million Bikers D.C., that only resulted in massive traffic jams.
The city government in both of these cases could have simply issued permits to help with traffic control. Not to mention that if the local government supports a rally, when rallies become large enough, the local economy benefits. A win-win situation. Just ask local officials at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the city of Daytona which holds two rallies.
I am not sure why permits were denied, but, if government officials had a better idea of how motorcycle riders are treated on the road by cagers and that the local economy benefits, then maybe they would be more inclined to issue permits for everyone’s safety and for the financial incentives it provides.
Remember taking chemistry of physics in high school where we learned that for every reaction, there is an equal, opposite reaction? Alexian Lien, the driver of the Range Rover, and his wife Rosalyn Ng, testified that they were in fear for their life and saw that the bikers were doing stunts and slapping cars as they rode by. In an effort to scare them away, Ng threw out from her car a half-eaten plum and a water bottle; this only escalated the situation.
The same way I posted that it is better to avoid confrontation while riding, the same applies while driving. If Ng had the presence of mind to call 911 and and lie that she did not know why bikers were chasing her, then she should have had the presence of mind to drive away. She even testified she regretted throwing the plum and water bottle, but did not regret trying to get away or even running over one biker that is now paralyzed. I am a big believer in it is easier to stay out than to get out.
They could have avoided the situation all together by pulling over on the side of the road. I definitely would of because if one of riders would have lost control of his motorcycle and fallen off, I don’t want to be the to run him over.
Whenever I see a biker or driver being erratic or aggressive on the road, I get as far away as possible. Lien and Ng could have also slowed down and taken the next exit out of the way of danger. To be clear, in no way am I justifying how the bikers were behaving or riding that day especially doing stunts on a public road, but I do not justify Lien’s response either; two wrongs don’t make a right.
The bikers started this and Lien ended it. Never start something unless you are willing to finish it or someone may finish it for you. As a result, one biker is paralyzed, too many people were endangered unnecessarily, and Lien only has to look at the visible scars on his face for a daily reminder.
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