Man Beaten Up in Bike Lane…For Trying to Ride in the Bike Lane

Driver in Park Slope draws first blood on the new Ninth Street protected path.

Cops collared this perp after he allegedly pummeled a cyclist. Photo:  Tom Flash
Cops collared this perp after he allegedly pummeled a cyclist. Photo: Tom Flash

A driver was arrested on Tuesday morning for beating up a cyclist who had the temerity to ask him to move his car out of the newly painted protected bike lane on Ninth Street.

Tom Flaschen was moving westbound on the new Park Slope lane when he encountered the obstruction between Fourth and Fifth avenues. That obstruction was a fancy Chevy Traverse.

Flaschen picks up the story here:

He was blocking the bike lane, so I tapped on his rear window. He got out and yelled at me angrily and loudly and was very threatening, but then got back into his car. So I tapped on the glass again. I don’t know why exactly, but I guess I was fed up with having the bike lane blocked. People are trying to get to work and they’re trying to get there safely. I guess I wasn’t in the mood to let it slide.

But this time, the driver got out of the car and spoke with his fist.

“He punched me,” Flaschen said. “In retrospect, I wouldn’t tap on the glass a second time. This guy was clearly insane.”

The impact of the fist cut open Flaschen’s lip, but he was able to call 911, despite the blood on his phone. Officers arrived and arrested the driver, later identified by police as Chris Chernak, 46, of 51st Street in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. Chernak was charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. He could not be reached for comment before publication.

The city’s traffic database showed Chernak’s vehicle had been written up 42 times for parking and camera violations, including seven red-light violations and seven school-zone speeding infractions. He’s also parked at a fire hydrant at least three times and blocked bus lanes at least seven times, the data show.

Flaschen received multiple stitches at nearby Methodist Hospital. He now says he’s less certain about challenging bike lane blockers.

“I don’t know any more,” he said. “I have done it before without incident because most people are polite and quickly move along. Clearly this guy was not in that category.”
Flaschen was surprised to hear that Chernak was charged.
“If he had hit me with his car instead of his fist, he probably wouldn’t have been arrested,” he added, noting that drivers who kill pedestrians or cyclists are rarely charged when they claim it was an “accident.”

It’s not the first controversy for the new protected bike lane on Ninth Street, which was hastily built after two children were mowed down by a driver in March. Last month, Liz Plosser left her “sweet Subaru” in the bike lane when she went on vacation, causing a neighborhood uproar that reverberated far beyond mere rudeness into questions about why it’s cheaper in New York City to get two no-parking tickets than it is to put your car in a garage for a week.

  • EyesWideOpen

    HAHA keep babbling

  • EyesWideOpen

    yeah, that dopey rider really taught him a lesson, right?
    at least you sound like you have a tiny bit of a critical brain left…

    i haven’t once defended blocking bike lanes – do try to carefully read my OP again

    on the other hand, that the biker behaved like a fool, and was 100 percent responsible for getting assaulted is inarguable

    nor is the fact that a really high percentage of riders in the City are rude, aggressive, incompetent and oblivious

    but this was Brooklyn, so – we probably idiots from MA

  • EyesWideOpen

    sure and the next time he could get capped
    way to take a bullet for the team, kid

    what a dope

  • J

    NYC DOT: Please tell us how bad a job we did designing this bike lane. We will collect the data and then ignore it until someone dies.

  • AlexWithAK

    Bizarre is one word. Sick and vindictive also apply.

  • William Lawson

    Yeah that pedestrian seemed like your typical “bro” idiot.

  • JarekFA

    Maybe he’s lucky I didn’t cap him.

  • JarekFA

    the biker behaved like a fool, and was 100 percent responsible for getting assaulted is inarguable

    Whoever you are, I just know, I never want to be like you. “Hey, I flamed a bike message board by posting some incredibly stupid and ridiculous shit.” Do you have kids? It’s not their fault your like this. I just hope they’re not like you. Feel bad for them. Like, I’m hurting just from reading the above captioned line. 100% percent responsible. Like — hmmm — what about the guy who did the punching? 5%? 10%? I’m mad at myself for wasting 3 minutes writing this response.

  • JarekFA

    He didn’t try hitting me, fortunately. He was just another psycho behind the wheel. I literally took the lane for 3 blocks. He didn’t miss the light. And he’s literally hyperventilating because he had to go 15mph for 2 blocks at most. There was no bike lane for me to even be on.

  • kevd

    oh, from the video it seemed like maybe he was trying to squeeze you into the parked truck. but maybe was just that go-pro wide angle lense

  • kevd

    “Capped” are you 12?

  • kevd

    do you live every part of your life cowering in fear?
    of just the biking portion?

  • EyesWideOpen

    i see you live yours in abject stupidity, though ‘O’

  • EyesWideOpen

    you said cap when you were twelve? how old are you now, dopey
    HAHA keep babbling, k?

  • kevd

    Streetsblog used to be a respite from the typical on-line comment section idiocy. Sadly that seems to no longer be the case.

  • EyesWideOpen

    sorry to hear that – guess i expressed an unpopular opinion ;O

    people are so stupid…for the most part

  • AMH

    I ride in Manhattan a fair amount and I’m SICK of aggressive, rude, oblivious, clueless motorists – the MOTORIZED cars, trucks, etc – people die ALL THE TIME from that insanity…probably 80/90 percent of people in the City shouldn’t be driving. ZERO understanding of etiquette courtesy, and basic rules of the road…Mix in the road rage and it’s a total shit show.

  • AMH

    And challenge the NYPD for never, ever ticketing this deadly behavior.

    I’m much too timid to confront most psycho drivers but I’m glad there are people willing to do it. 99% of drivers give the rest a bad name. It’s like door-blockers on the subway–if you’re willing to behave this way in public, it’s more than likely that you’re willing to attack someone for calling you out on it.

  • EyesWideOpen

    LOL please – no “tapping” on the window (lol sure) TWICE and simply riding around the car and continuing on his way, NO INCIDENT. How difficult is that? that you don’t understand this is remarkable – were you dropped on your head as a baby by any chance? 100 percent responsible he was…certainly creating a street level beef (where you end up in the hospital) solves NOTHING. Some motorists will always behave like idiots (not saying this guy because who knows why he was parked there – what if it was some sort of emergency) – cyclists too, but they all have a CHOICE.

    SMH and laughing at you masshole types in brooklyn that think you’re “NYers”

  • EyesWideOpen

    thanks for the re-post ‘o’

  • JL

    The Beemer effect is universal world wide.
    How’s that for just desserts?

  • Not 4 Cyclist

    The cyclist should’ve gotten punched in the face for repeatedly tapping on the driver’s rear window.

    I know the cyclist is not a native New Yorker because a native New Yorker would’ve rode their back around the car without the need for a bike lane.

    New folks to New York: those bike lanes are for you because you ride your bike in the middle of the street like a vehicle. This is not Wisconsin where a car drives by every 15 mins.

    We need a moving to New York etiquette class, especially for cyclists.

  • Not 4 cyclist

    You’re obviously not from NY. Native New Yorkers live on principle. The cyclist had no business tapping the vehicle: none.

    If you don’t like it, move to an area where you can freely ride your bike.

    Native New Yorkers didn’t need bike lanes. Bike lanes are a new invention for all the Midwest people moving here.

  • Not 4 Cyclist

    Yea but the cyclist is the one who engaged first. Heard of cause and effect?

    The cyclist repeatedly, not once or twice but three times tapped the window. He deserved to get punched in the face. If you can’t hang, move.

  • Not 4 cyclist

    I know you’re not a native New Yorker. Bike lanes are a courtesy, not mandatory. In neighborhoods not heavily populated with Caucasian people, they don’t have bike lanes, nor the issues that come with living with Caucasian people. Nothing against Caucasian people but one from Wisconsin and one from New York are not the same.

  • Not 4 Cyclist

    What started the confrontation is the cyclist repeatedly tapping on the rear window.

  • EyesWideOpen

    btw: interesting that you got 4 upvotes for what i wrote, while i’ve been attacked by the braindead mob here

    people are so stupid

    oh well…

  • EyesWideOpen

    totally agree – well maybe not punched, but straightened out for sure

    i chalk a lot of it up to the mass influx of masshole dopes to brooklyn, who simply have NO respect for our city…grew up hating it in fact, most of them

    btw: it’s the way they drive their cars too…worst drivers in the world

  • BRF

    This is great logic. No new things for New Yorkers! And what was the cutoff date, exactly?

  • wheelsucker80

    i’m a native new yorker who grew up literally down the street from where this happened and guess what? f*ck the dude in the bike lane and he’s lucky he still has mirrors on his car. tap on his window all you want, tell him he’s wrong, that’s the new york way. “Not 4 cyclist”: blasting people for not being a native, you prob from LI or SI, gtfo of here.

  • Walter M

    I always carry a mace.

  • BubbaJoe123

    Did you actually read what he wrote? Because it wasn’t a “repost.”

  • BubbaJoe123

    Did the same thing in the 2nd Ave Bike lane. Very amusing. Guy sat there yelling for several minutes before he eventually backed up. Best part is it was a TLC vehicle, so I snapped a picture and got him hit with a violation and a fine.

  • BubbaJoe123

    What started the confrontation is the guy illegally and dangerously blocking the bike lane.

  • Adrian Horczak

    That was a result of the driver blocking the bike lane.

  • EyesWideOpen

    i know – these dopes need to check their white privilege and racism – that motorist was black you assclowns

  • EyesWideOpen

    HAHA – still a braindead mob of massholes that have infested brooklyn posting here

  • EyesWideOpen

    there you are, dopey

  • EyesWideOpen

    It’s only gotten this bad because dopey NYers elected liberal thug puppet masshole DiBlasio…again.
    yeah he cares about NY.


  • 10th generation New Yorker

    Damn dude, what did Massachusetts do to you? I hate to inform you that New Yorkers are whoever live here. And the way they behave is however people act when they are here. New Yorkers tap on winshields because they are pissed off and they also get out of their cars and hit people. New Yorkers are constantly reinventing themselves, thats the only constant. Personally I am for more tapping on windows and then if someone throws a punch, defending themselves. If everyone does that, New Yorkers will reinvent themselves to stop f’ing blocking bike lanes.

  • Zanrak

    Chernak should NEVER be allowed to drive a vehicle again.
    And the moderators here should permanently remove the pigheaded jerk below who’s eyes have never opened once.

  • carmens

    Where does it say that he tapped on the window three times?


Reader Contributions

An apology to Streetsblog tipsters. Though our new, high-tech "Contribute to Streetsblog" page has been up and running for a few weeks, I’ve been having technical problems with the account and haven’t really been checking reader mail very regularly. The problem is now fixed and I’m excavating lots of excellent contributions. I’ll try to […]