Today’s Headlines

  • More Coverage of Citi Bike’s Planned Expansion to Astoria from DNA
  • MTA Testing New Computer-Guided Subway Cars on 7 Line, Expanding Rollout from L Train (DNA)
  • Fourth Avenue Traffic Calming Coming to Park Slope August 19 (Brownstoner)
  • Dilapidated Pedestrian Bridge Over Surf Avenue in Coney Island Taken Down (Bklyn Daily)
  • Citing East Side Waste Transfer Station Support, NYLCV Endorses Menin for Manhattan BP (Crain’s)
  • Aqueduct Subway Station Goes Full-Time to Serve Casino Customers (News)
  • Bronx Man Suing NYPD After Getting Rammed on Dirt Bike, Causing Brain Damage (News)
  • News Reports of Pedestrian Fatalities Haven’t Changed Much Since 1987 (The Weekly Nabe)
  • Is Jersey City’s New Mayor Steve Fulop Stalling on City’s Modest Bike Lane Plan? (BIKAS)
  • Somebody Ought to Give That Man a Ticket (Gothamist)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Daniel Winks

    Tack strips are no more likely to result in a calm stop rather than a crash. Rapid deflation of a front tire will quite likely ‘endo’ the motorbike and result in a fairly serious crash. It’s no more safe than nudging a back tire with a bumper, to be honest.

  • Daniel Winks

    It’s extremely against the law to purposefully discharge a firearm with anything other than intent to kill. If you aren’t meaning to kill, you don’t pull the trigger, ever. This is pretty much one of the first things a cop is taught. Guns are LETHAL force, ALWAYS. Anytime the trigger is pull, lethal results are to be expected. Never, ever, is a police office supposed to intentionally ‘wing’ someone.

  • Bolwerk

    Dirt bikes are fast, exhilarating, and create the illusion of control. This makes them appealing to petty narcissists (“assholes”), sort of like guns, big cars, and downrate buttons.

    Unlike big cars, they’re pretty damn cheap too.

  • Anonymous

    Obligatory link to the video of the Lithuanian mayor crushing a car on a bike lane with a tank: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-fWN0FmcIU

  • Anonymous

    And never, ever is a police officer supposed to ram anything or anyone with a car.

  • Joe R.

    It might as well be illegal to own a dirt bike if you can’t (sanely) ride it on city streets to get to the offroad places where it’s designed to be ridden. Perhaps the answer here is to designate several parts of parks for dirt bikes, fence them off to keep the bikes in/pedestrians out, and have dirt bike storage on the premises.

  • Joe R.

    The NYPD should be issued tasers for situations where less than lethal force is called for. When you pull out your firearm, it should be solely for a situation where the consequences of using deadly force are outweighed by the consequences of not using it. Generally, this is when the perpetrator is carrying a gun. In the case of a knife or other less lethal weapon, a taser is a perfect solution.

  • Bolwerk

    This is almost besides the point. A lot of cops are sociopaths, obviously, but if you still have empathy for other living things – regardless of the law – you use whatever force you need to survive or protect others and stop there. A shot in the leg or a punch in the dick is often enough.

    In any case, in 2010 shootings by the NYPD that resulted only in injury outnumbered those that resulted in death by a factor of 2. If they’re supposed to kill everyone they shoot, they suck at it.

  • Bolwerk

    Maybe, with training. However, anecdotally, police seem to use tasers for trivial reasons because they believe they are non-lethal. This is not good. Actually, the #1 focus of public safety should be purging police that exhibit great levels of stupidity and brutality, either due to their work histories or their inability to perform well in intelligence and empathy tests.

    Anyway, I didn’t say a hit to the torso was unreasonable. It will almost certainly debilitate the subject, and creates probably a 2:1 risk of killing the person. Ramming someone with a dirt bike with a car probably has higher odds of a fatality, or at least of lifelong debilitation, with no incremental benefit over shooting them.

  • Alessandro Canale

    You want to know what’s frightening, to have a quad coming down your sidewalk as you’re carrying groceries home and have to dive between parked cars to not get run over. Or to be within a couple feet of one of these ass holes when he decides to jump the curb on Lenox Av. and do donuts on his dirt bike right in front of you while your walking with your family. It’s also really frightening when an idiot kid (15 years old max) didn’t notice the stopped car at the red light on Adam Clayton and plowed into the back sending him flying, bike and all onto the median narrowly missing the people that were about to cross the street.

    So as much as I don’t endorse the NYPD causing head trauma I sure want them to get dirt bikers off the street. It’s my civil right to walk down the street with out feeling like a hostage in a bank robbery. Part of their pleasure is the fear they induce in people.

    Only when you go through this BS will you understand my position.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not that they are supposed to kill everyone they shoot, but that they are only supposed to shoot when killing would be considered “acceptable” under the circumstances. In this I agree with Daniel Winks: “anytime the trigger is pulled, lethal results are to be expected”. Not that he said expected, not guaranteed.

    I suspect that “intentionally non-lethal” shots at the arms or legs are mostly confined to the movies.

  • Bolwerk

    Yes, procedurally, they’re allowed to risk people’s lives under those circumstances. The key term is “risk.”

    There is no evidence that such a risk is permissible in the case being discussed, no evidence that other people were in imminent danger, and even then it’s a stretch to say deliberately hitting someone on a dirtbike with a car, if that’s what indeed happened, is ever permissible.

  • Joe R.

    What’s key here is that police are NEVER supposed to use deadly force if doing so puts innocent bystanders at risk. Whether or not ramming a dirtbike from behind with a patrol car is permissible is moot here because of the fact that doing so puts others at risk. The police have no way to determine exactly what will happen after the bike is hit. It could go careening into a crowded sidewalk. The question which needs to be asked here is would the police ever intentionally ram a motor vehicle they were chasing? I think the answer would be no simply because the outcome of such action is highly unpredictable. The same line of reasoning applies to ramming a dirt bike.

  • Daniel Winks

    Actions: intend to cause bike to crash, hopefully with no to minor injuries, and any injuries would only be sustained by criminals.

    Inaction: allow behavior to go unabated, resulting in risk to innocent pedestrians and other road users, which has at least resulted so far in serious injury to an innocent 3yo child.

    I’ve just watched the LiveLeak video, and it looks like the police were giving chase, the passenger hops on to avoid arrest, then proceeds to attempt escape. The police car does seem to hit the bike with a rather large amount of force, and judging from the little footage I saw, it looks like the bike was headed straight, the cops thought they were turning and started to turn, hitting them. It appears as if the front end of the cop car is quite pressed down, from the moment it enters the screen, indicating the brakes were heavily applied before the impact. If I were a betting man, I’d say the cops were not intending to hit the motorbike at all. They are definitely guilty of lying and fabricating a cover story. At least I hope that’s the case and not that the cops did intentionally ram these criminals. Internal Affairs is investigating, so we’ll see what becomes of that.

  • Bolwerk

    That’s what I was thinking, Joe. If you ram someone with a car when others are around, you put others at (grave) risk. If you ram someone when no one is around, what’s the point? No one is really at imminent risk.

    Of course, there are blue moons while hell is frozen over, but, really, I have to grasp at straws to think about when it would be appropriate.

  • Alessandro Canale

    This is not credit card fraud we’re talking about here. They might not be wielding a gun or a knife but these dirt bikers are committing traffic violations violently. Come to Harlem on a sunny afternoon during the week or just about any weekend in the summer when it’s not raining and see for yourself. If you hunk at them they’ll surround you and initimidate you and start doing donuts in front of your car. They act like thugs and get off on instilling fear.

  • Alessandro Canale

    No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m exemplifying a simple principle: my rights end where yours begin. No more no less. The dirt bikers head trauma was an unintended consequence of the application of the principle stated above.

    This is akin to the home intruder that breaks into a house and gets hurt in the process and then wants to sue the home owner for his injuries.

  • Anonymous

    Believe it or not, I have gone through several things of my own. And yet, somehow, I have yet to celebrate the death or serious, life-altering damage done to individual people who are part of a heterogeneous group that I can make into a class and thus pretend that this *class* endangers my life and every individual member of it deserves what happens to them, no matter how horrible.

    An example: my life is routinely threatened by dollar van drivers on Flatbush. As a pseudo-class, they are at least as consistent in their actions and approach to the streets as dirt bike riders. And many, many of them are operating illegally.

    But even though they threaten my life when I am engaged in actions every bit as peaceable as walking down the street, I find it hard to imagine celebrating someone giving a dollar van driver a traumatic brain injury–in an event that also killed the only other person involved.

    So, yes: I don’t think I’ll ever understand your position. But I’m pretty sure that’s a position I don’t really want to understand.

  • Alessandro Canale

    You keep wanting to shoot everybody, why?

  • Anonymous

    Hmmmm . . . maybe it’s a rhetorical device meant to demonstrate that if death and brain trauma are utterly just rewards for riding an illegal vehicle, then perhaps there’s no particularly good reason that the only means of administering such punishments is with a police car?

    But no. I’m probably just weird.

  • Bolwerk

    Does being born white afford me the privilege to mete out life-threatening injuries and lifelong brain damage for riding a dirt bike, or do I need to go to the police academy? If I’m ever stopped ‘n frisked, can I beat the snot out of a cop? I can probably typically do it. Afterall, my rights end where theirs begin!

  • Joe R.

    This would work also:

  • Alessandro Canale

    I’m not celebrating his injury. It is unfortunate and regrettable the rider died and the passenger sustained injuries. I’m condeming his legal action against the police force that was performing their job. It’s their sense of entlitement and lack of responsibility after engaging in an unlawful activity that affects so many and is almost always done with impunity that I condem.

    They were riding an illegal bike, in an illegal fashion, and fleeing from the police. Remove any of the three elements from the list above and the outcome would have been very different. Admittedly the police also had a choice to pursue or not. But frankly to not pursue is to tacitly endorse the illegal activity and in my book that would br the wrong choice.

  • Alessandro Canale

    Well, I think you’re oversimplifying their actions. They weren’t just riding an illegal vehicle, they were also fleeing the police. Death an injury by no means justifiable however by looking at the video it appears that it was not the ultimate goal. But again, as I said before, they made the choice to run, and ride like ass holes. They are ultimately accountable for their actions and the consequences. Unfortunately for them the consequences were rather permanent.

  • Alessandro Canale

    Does riding an illegal dirt bike in Harlem or the Bronx afford me the right to terrorize pedestrians on the sidewalk and threaten everybody’s health with no consequences or accountability?

    You can beat the snot out of anybody you want or at least out of anybody that will let you, but you’re missing the point.

  • Bolwerk

    Who said they have the right to do it or that there should be no consequences or accountability? I sure didn’t. But the consequences and accountability needn’t be action that risks nearly lifelong disability or death. It’s not okay when the black teenagers you deign to share a neighborhood with risk people’s lives for no reason, and it’s not okay when the police do it.

  • Bolwerk

    Oh no! Fleeing the police! Best we take a risk highly likely to physically and mentally disable them for life so they can’t do that again. It’s totally something a civilized society would do, and will never cost taxpayers a dime. Sounds like an awesome plan.

    What would Judge Dredd do?

  • Anonymous

    Alessandro Canale @ 5:46 pm:

    I’m not celebrating his injury.

    Alessandro Canale @ 10:22 am:

    Kudos to the officers that rammed them.

  • Driver

    Did anyone ever consider that maybe it was an accident and the officer had no intention of hitting the dirt bike? It could have even been the riders fault. If you have ever seen these groups of dirt bike riders you know they are often extremely reckless.

  • Bolwerk

    Yes, it’s possible that it’s a tragic accident, and not the police’s fault. That would be understandable. However, you can find posters here openly praising deliberately hitting him, which is pretty appalling – most of the contention here is about poison ethics like that.