Cabbie Blames Cyclist He Hit and Bike Lanes for Midtown Curb-Jump Crash

The Post is doing its best to assign partial blame to the cyclist who was struck by cab driver Mohammed Himon in Tuesday morning’s crash on Sixth Avenue, but the paper got Himon to confess that he intentionally stepped on the gas before mounting the curb and hitting Sian Green, the 23-year-old tourist who lost part of her leg.

Cab driver Mohammed Himon blamed a cyclist and bike infrastructure for Tuesday's crash, but a protected bike lane might have kept him from driving on the sidewalk and maiming a bystander. Photo: Post

Himon has a history of reckless driving, according to multiple reports, including another crash that resulted in injury. During an interview in which he said he needs to find a different job, Himon described the crash:

Himon, a native of Bangladesh who has been in the United States for nearly five years, admitted he flew into a fit of road rage when he and bike messenger Kenneth Olivo crossed paths.

“He was in my way and I got upset, so I gave him notice that I wanted to pass through,” he said, meaning he leaned on his horn.

“He started pounding on my car with his hands and was yelling things at me. I suddenly felt like I had to get out of there. It was becoming a bad situation. So I accelerated to get in front of him.”

Himon’s narrative, which the Post does not question, is that after laying on the horn, he became afraid of the cyclist and attempted to get away.

“I personally feel that if that man on the bike didn’t bang on my car, maybe this would not have happened,” Himon said. “I didn’t yell at him. I had my windows up and my A/C on. I could barely hear what he was saying.

“I thought to myself, ‘This guy isn’t any good. I need to speed up to get away from him.’ I accelerated, and the rest is hard to remember.”

So according to Himon, he was so frightened by a cyclist in front of his cab, whom he could barely hear, that he hit the accelerator. As a result of that decision, he rammed the cyclist and continued driving onto the sidewalk, permanently maiming Green.

The Post doesn’t bring this up, but if Himon was trying to turn left, there would have been a crosswalk full of pedestrians “in his way” just behind the cyclist. “We were crossing right in the middle of the crosswalk — we had the crossing signal — and as we were crossing with other pedestrians, the cab started to pull into the crosswalk,” said one witness to Fox News. “[There] was a man riding along this way on his bicycle with a backpack and he got picked up by the cabbie and was thrown up on the hood and up on his windshield. The cab really accelerated at a great speed.”

Still, according to the Post, at least, Olivo could be charged. “Authorities blamed the accident on a road-rage beef between a cabby with a checkered driving record and a bicycle messenger with a lengthy rap sheet,” the Post wrote, in a story about Green and her family. A possible charge is criminal mischief, according to attorney Steve Vaccaro.

Himon also claimed that the bikes lanes the Bloomberg administration installed in recent years contributed to the crash.

“A lot of bikers disregard the bike lanes and drive wherever they want,” he griped.

“The city wastes a lot of money by giving them all these bike lanes, and for what? Honestly, I have no problem with bikers. They should just stay in their lane and I’ll stay in mine.”

The Post is probably delighted to print his ignorant views on bike infrastructure, but a protected bike lane on the left side of Sixth Avenue might have meant Himon would have been stopped by a bell bollard after a few feet, and Sian Green might still be enjoying her first trip to New York.

Unlike thousands of non-fatal incidents of vehicular violence that happen every year and don’t get international attention, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and NYPD are investigating this crash. The Taxi and Limousine Commission is moving to suspend Himon’s hack license for 30 days.

  • Nic Lindbergh

    Also, a competent biker would never “punk the incompetent ones.” That’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read in an anti-cyclist sentiment.

  • Driver

    You chose to post it here in the comments section. That makes it a comment, whether it was your own words or not.

  • Ian Turner

    I am an engineer who needs to get to work (in midtown) quick, and biking is the fastest way to get there. Is it still selfish for me to bike to work?

  • Jesse

    Awww lay off this guy. He´s probably developed a right-wing persecution complex after being pelted by so many cogent arguments against him. Luckily Fox News is right across the street.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Bottom line, if I threw a fit of road rage every time a taxi cut me off and made me hit the brakes while I was riding my bike (or driving my car) I’d be in jail by now.

  • Driver

    as would every other cyclist, driver, and pedestrian in the city.

  • Driver

    It’s not necessarily a driving or road rage issue. Plenty of non driving NY’ers are aggressive and confrontational in many situations that have nothing to do with driving.

  • New Yorker

    The New York Post is a vile piece of garbage.

  • There is ZERO chance that he was afraid of the bicyclist. ZERO. NADA. NONE.

    He is a raging sociopath who needs to be locked up for a long time.

  • Kevin Love

    Maybe he was afraid of the lethal bike cooties…

  • Guest

    I’ll assume he has and that the Post’s flinging dirt on the cyclist may be credited to that. Either that, or he’s packing his duffel.

  • Freddie Vasquez

    Funny how this site would only look at the views of a bicyclist. There is always two sides to a coin. The cabbie is at fault, but honestly, give me one good example where you cyclists actually stay in your damn lane? Really? REALLY?!?!?!? If you want to be fair, lock them both up. And for your information you bunch geeks blogging all day, the cyclist was a messanger guy with a rap sheet. Lets see you idiots flick off an ex-con and see how far up the block you would make it!

  • Guest

    > With all due respect to bikers riding around in Rockefeller Center in circles

    9-W, Schmine-W. All the major NYC bike clubs train on the perimeter of Rockefeller Center, yeah! 😉

  • Andrew

    I personally feel that if Himon had yielded to the man on the bike, as the law requires, maybe the man on the bike wouldn’t have banged on your car.

  • Andrew

    What did you say was congesting central areas again?

    http://goo.gl/maps/DEX3R

  • 1. Most roads don’t have bike lanes. A lot of idiots seem to think that the edge of the road way is a bike lane. It isn’t. If you think it is, then you need to turn in your license and repeat driving school.

    2. On roads that actually have bike lanes and where the bike lanes are not actually blocked or damaged to the point of being dangerous or covered in hazardous debris (especially broken glass) or in a door zone from parked cars, I hardly ever see bicyclists riding outside of the bike lane.

    3. What is so difficult about moving over to pass a bicyclist? I know you think that you’re special and you shouldn’t have to but the law says different. Maybe if you had bothered to pay attention in driver’s education you would know that.

  • Andrew

    If the NYPD took its responsibility seriously to ticket drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, there’s a pretty good chance that none of this would have happened.

  • Rabi Abonour

    That quote is the equivalent of someone complaining that a CitiBike kiosk takes up a couple of car parking spaces. It absolutely defies logic.

  • Guest

    Most roads do have bike lanes. They happen to also be traffic lanes.

  • Guest

    Selfish vehicle operators should be banned from Midtown. I propose that all vehicles entering should be required to complete a paper form justifying why they are there.

    By the way, to the best of my knowledge, aircraft right-of-way is determined by position, not size.

  • Anonymous

    The question is whether larger aircraft are–in fact if not in law–justified in squashing smaller aircraft that get in their way.

    You crazy dreamers may not think so. But us realistic plutocrats know better.

  • Kevin Love

    Children and the elderly most certainly can cycle if they have proper infrastructure. For example, see:

    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/02/who-cycles-in-netherlands.html

  • Guest

    Airports charge fees, effectively “congestion pricing”

  • Ian Turner

    Airport fees are mostly analogous to toll roads, which are different from congestion pricing in that they are applied whether or not the facility is near capacity. Also, notwithstanding airport fees, air travel in the us (like road travel) is highly subsidized overall.

    Some very busy airports are using congestion pricing to try to get flight to move from peak times to off-peak times.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congestion_pricing#Airports

  • guest

    This is one of the dumbest screeds I’ve ever read. Seeing as how the cyclist didn’t do anything illegal, I don’t know where the impulse is to lock him up. If the cab driver had simply yielded as is the law, THEN this never would have happened.

  • david

    My friend is a long time cabbie, good guy, said he knows of this messenger and stays away from him and another one with dreads in midtown. Not saying who’s at fault.

  • david

    No, I know this messenger is a known crazy.

  • Grant

    Moving to suspend his hack license for 30 days?? The guy hit a cyclist and permanently maimed someone on the sidewalk. He should never be allowed to drive a cab again.

  • Anonymous

    Guys: check it out. It’s not selfish to drive a car through Midtown. Bikes, however, are selfish, because they, uh, take up so much space…? Or wait! Because they slow down traffic! …which lurches from red light to red light… Hmmm. Let me get back to you on this. But I’m an Esq. so I’m pretty right.

  • Anonymous

    Such high-quality commentary on this post. Way to go Streetsblog community!

  • I’m a member of the media, working in New York City. I ride my bike nine miles each way to and from work in midtown Manhattan, very close to the site of this horrible crash. Quite a lot of journalists ride bikes.

  • Thanks Robert, didn’t mean to imply all members, just many. Lots of the editorials I read regarding bikes and infrastructure that would make it safer are written by people who (obviously or verifiably) drive or are driven to work. It is refreshing when someone who rides a bike or walks to work instead is doing the writing.

  • Traffic lanes are not bike lanes.

    Bicyclists are traffic and when there is no bike lane, we can use the traffic lane the same as motorized traffic.

    The distinction is important.

  • Anonymous

    Every lane is a bike lane. A person on a bicycle is NOT REQUIRED to use a “bike lane” and if the lane is not wide enough to share safely *side-by-side* with a motor vehicle, then the cyclist can take the ENTIRE LANE.
    There are many reasons, such as those Billdav listed, why a cyclist is not using a lane—people, road cones police cars, buses parked in it—or perhaps the cyclist wants to turn LEFT.

  • Anonymous

    if you are afraid of someone do you go faster towards them, or do you choose to slow down, increase the distance from or turn onto a different route? You certainly don’t aim for them and get closer. The messenger’s status isn’t as important as the DRIVER was in protected steel bubble and the cyclist is in a very VULNERABLE position. We must look out for more vulnerable road users.
    Get out there in the street and ride a bicycle. You will see the world in a different way.

  • Anonymous

    People on bicycles have the same rights and responsibilites as other road users. A person riding their bicycle on a roadway isn’t ‘obstructing traffic’ we ARE TRAFFIC.

    Some bicycle users driving “dangerously fast” doesn’t mean all people on bikes are bad, just as a few angry road rage cabbies/other drivers don’t make all drivers bad. You’re being very transportationist in your pre-judgement of all cyclists.

    Twenty down votes. Wow you really made your point.

  • Traffic lanes are not bike lanes.

    Bicyclists are traffic and they have a right to use the traffic lane.

    Bike lanes are supposed to be preferential use lanes for bicyclists. Traffic lanes are not that. Bike lanes tend to be more like road ghettos though. Apartheid for bicyclists. The colored drinking fountain of the road.

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