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Old 08-11-05, 04:38 PM   #1
The_Dude
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had a van deliberately swerve into me today

I was on my commute home heading up 6th Ave in midtown Manhattan around 45th street, NY when I hear a honk behind me. I pull over to the right ( I was on the left hand side on the street, which is one-way & legal for me to do in NYC) to see what was behind me. I then pulled over to the left to allow the driver to pass, when he guns his gas & swerves directly into me bumping me left. I slap the back of hte van with my palm & shout to let him know I was there, thinking that he might not have seen me, when he then begins to shout at me "Do you want me to get out of the van and settle this?" To which I responded politely asking what the issue was, but he was clearly a hot-head with an aggression issue who wanted a fight. Seeing that he was in a verizon van, I went to the back of the van to get his plates. A passing pedestrian who saw the event yelled at the driver & gave me his number as a witness. When trying to report the issue to the police, I was told I would need to file a report at the precint, which I plan to do tomorrow. I have the company of the van, the liscense plate & a witness, so hopefully the police will actually ticket the driver. i am also going to try to contact Verizon to let them know they have a driver with serious road rage.

Has anyone had a similar experiance & had any luck getting the police to act against the driver? If so, got any advice? Thanks in advance.

Sorry for the long run-ons & spelling errors, but I am still a little flustered from the event
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Old 08-11-05, 04:46 PM   #2
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If you're lucky, they'll send someone from the bike patrol to issue a ticket to the offender, right there at the Verizon office, in front of all his co workers!
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Old 08-11-05, 04:53 PM   #3
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You're better off dealing directly with Verizon on the issue. The police can do very little. Verizon will handle the matter if only to protect themselves from a future liability point of view like an issurance claim.
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Old 08-11-05, 04:56 PM   #4
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Was there a "How's my driving?" sticker on the van?
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Old 08-11-05, 05:20 PM   #5
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Report directly to Verizon. You might get a result there, they keep logs on driver complaints. You know you aren't going to get anywhere with the police, so why bother?
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Old 08-11-05, 05:43 PM   #6
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PM me the lic number and discription of driver, exact address and time of event....I have friends, (VP's) at Verizon.....
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Old 08-11-05, 06:45 PM   #7
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I worked for years as a messenger, and there has always, at least in my experience, been problems on 6Ave, especially in the 40's and 50's. I think (only my opinion, now) that the width of the avenue coupled with the distance the buildings are set back from the curb gives drivers a false sense of space, and all of a sudden, they need to go as fast as possible and to drive their vehicles all over the road. The bike lane is a total joke, unless you feel, as the cabbies do, that a bright yellow taxicab is in fact a bicycle.
As a NYC resident, I've found that Verizon drivers seem to think that the traffic regs don't apply to them. Arrogant, reckless, and offering violence: yep, that's my experience, too. I'm 6', 200lbs, (and when I was riding for a living) with a very large chain/lock, so there was no escalation on 6Ave that you describe. However, while on a fun/training ride across Gun Hill Road in the Bronx, I had one of these guys pull a U turn across all 4 lanes to change direction, passing so close to me and my (then) brand new Ciocc (yeah, I was the first kid on my block with one), that I could feel the heat from the engine compartment as he passed. I used all the bad language I could muster, and when he offered to step outside the van, I accepted, and proceded to 'show him the error of his ways', wishing I had my chain the whole time. Not the easiest thing with Look cleats sticking out the bottom of one's shoes, but I was quite royally pi$$ed, having just seen my life, my cat's life, and my bike's life flash before my eyes. I saw the same guy about six months later, and when he recognized me, he suddenly needed to make a turn. This from the same guy who decided I was a "******" (actual quote) because I was wearing spandex (paraphrase).
Now, for all you Politically Correct folks out there who are going to bleat about 'this is the kind of thing that makes drivers hate us' crap, let me point out that this guy was way past caring about cyclists. This was in the area that the bike shop is situated, and there's a school right there, so he didn't care about pedestrians or children either.
So, in answer to your question, no police in my situation. They weren't there when the moving violation occurred, they weren't there when the guy started to assault me (a felony in New York, by the way, and Yes, I let him take the first swing so I could claim self defense), so I took care of it myself. You might have better results, especially since your witness isn't/wasn't another cyclist, as in my incident. I have found that the NYPD seems to think that cyclists are not as worthy of the Law's protection as are the drivers. In spite of that, you should make a report, even if nothing happens.
As soon as you get back from Manhattan North (19th Precinct? not sure where the border is) to file the report, sit down and write down the whole story, and email it to Verizon, the Times, the News, the Post, and as many of those free neighborhood papers as you can find, and make sure Verizon knows you're doing it. The guy won't get fired, but he might get transferred to Staten Island, where the lower traffic density will hopefully keep his lack of impulse control in check. Perhaps even a note to the Public Service Commission, too. Verizon might be inclined to ignore the papers, but the PSC will get their attention, however briefly. For added laughs, you might want to send Verizon a paper copy of your tale written on a lawyer's letterhead.
The above happened when I was 25; I'm now 48. I might not now be as enthusiastic to resort to fisticuffs as I was then, but once the guy tries to kill me with his van, and then tries to finish me off with his fists, all bets are off. And, once again for the PC Crew, who will probably say 'yeah, you got yourself out of it, only to have him do it double to the next guy', let me assure you that the next dozen cyclists got a wide berth after I was done with him.
This is the first time I've told about this. I'm not at all proud of it; I did what I had to at the time. There comes a time when enough is enough. Only you can be the judge of when to get the police or to deal with it on the spot.
Additional Advice: start saying Hello to all the messengers you see. If enough guys know you, you'll have instant backup the next time it happens, and Yes, it will happen again, sorry to say.
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Old 08-11-05, 06:52 PM   #8
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If you really want to **** with someone, go to their work. Make sure the ppl at his job know just how much of a psycho he is, especially the security office, HR people, etc. The guy tried to kill you, the least you can do is do your best to destroy his life. That's how the game is played.
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Old 08-11-05, 07:19 PM   #9
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I would suggest you report to the police AND to Verizon. Verizon will take your complaint more seriously if you've filed a police report on their driver. Good luck, I hope you get some justice!
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Old 08-11-05, 10:01 PM   #10
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If I was driving behind you I would be pissed off at you swerving across from the left to the right and back again for no reason. You dont have to move from a straight course to see whats behind you.
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Old 08-11-05, 10:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabretech2001
Now, for all you Politically Correct folks out there....

I doubt you'll find too many PC cyclists in NYC, and those that are don't do any real in city riding.

I say beat them down, or if you are small wait until they get out and threaten you then pepper spray them...
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Old 08-11-05, 10:57 PM   #12
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Old 08-11-05, 11:04 PM   #13
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I'm waiting for the day the cager stepsout of the car...swift justice in the form of a fist in the face, or if I'm in street clothes....swift kick to the knee...
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Old 08-12-05, 05:00 AM   #14
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You got the perfect situation. Company van & witness! Go get'em! Sorry it had to happen. This guy needs to be educated. Most companies with large vehicles give me good room. I even call them if I see them doing it on a regular basis and thank them. I think it helps with relations. Lets them know that we appreciate it and they are doing a good job!

Remember that they are commercial drivers and they need to have a good driving record to my knowledge.

Keep Cycling,

Jeff
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Old 08-12-05, 06:08 AM   #15
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Verizon won't stand for his actions. It puts them at risk for all kind of liabilities to have this loaded gun driving for them. Dumb ass will probably lose his job - deservedly so.
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Old 08-12-05, 08:22 AM   #16
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Nice job handling the situation. Now see it through with the police report and complaint to Verizon. I doubt that the moron driving will learn anything, but at least he won't be driving a big van through town much longer.
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Old 08-12-05, 09:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabretech2001
This is the first time I've told about this. I'm not at all proud of it; I did what I had to at the time. There comes a time when enough is enough. Only you can be the judge of when to get the police or to deal with it on the spot.
Additional Advice: start saying Hello to all the messengers you see. If enough guys know you, you'll have instant backup the next time it happens, and Yes, it will happen again, sorry to say.
You da man. I salute in your general direction.
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Old 08-12-05, 10:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabretech2001
I worked for years as a messenger, and there has always, at least in my experience, been problems on 6Ave, especially in the 40's and 50's. I think (only my opinion, now) that the width of the avenue coupled with the distance the buildings are set back from the curb gives drivers a false sense of space, and all of a sudden, they need to go as fast as possible and to drive their vehicles all over the road.
Sounds like an ideal spot for a speedbump - every 50 feet.
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Old 08-12-05, 10:53 AM   #19
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Sounds like an ideal spot for a speedbump - every 50 feet.
Every 5 would be more fun

(just leave the width enough to let bikes go through)
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Old 08-12-05, 10:59 AM   #20
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Definitely file a police report and then go to verizon. If this guy is acting like that on company time, they won't like that. They keep track of driver routes and they could find out who the guy was.
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