One Cyclist’s Story: How A Placard-Wielding Driver Got Away With a Crime

The car's license plate is partially obscured. Photo: Shayana Kadidal
The car's license plate is partially obscured. Photo: Shayana Kadidal

A cop in a $90,000 Range Rover hit a Manhattan cyclist the other day and fled the scene, leaving the biker to be intimidated by responding officers — a story that offers a snapshot into why many victims of road violence don’t even bother to call police and why so many New Yorkers are so enraged by placard corruption, the cyclist said.

Manhattan attorney Shane Kadidal was cycling on W. 110th Street towards Central Park on April 14 when an unidentified male driver in the massive Range Rover made an illegal u-turn — crossing five lanes of traffic and a double yellow — at the corner of Manhattan Avenue and 110th Street at about 2 p.m., he said.

Kadidal was pulling up to a red light when he instead rolled into the 5,000-pound vehicle as it was making the illegal turn, and then fell off his bike and onto the ground.

The motorist — after hopping out of his car to tell Kadidal that he hit his car — parked his vehicle across the street from Kadidal while they waited for police to show for about 10 minutes, but the motorist then quietly drove off before off the cops came, according to Kadidal.

“I look over my shoulder to where the driver was parked. He is fleeing the scene, driving the other direction with his hazard lights still on,” he wrote on social media, where he first told his story.

When police from the 26th Precinct finally showed up, they questioned why Kadidal would want to file a report against the driver if he was the one who hit the car.

“Let me get this straight. You want to file a report, because you hit a car,” an officer allegedly said to Kadidal. “Do you have evidence it was his fault?” 

But then one of the officers told Kadidal that the neighboring precinct would have to take the complaint because the crash was actually in the 24th Precinct, which contains the other side of the street. When cops from that stationhouse finally showed up, they told him they don’t usually press charges if only one person is there to say what happened — and especially if there’s no driver, and no license plate. 

Kadidal managed to snatch a photo of the luxury car, which had a police placard in its front window, though it is unclear if it was a legitimate NYPD placard or one issued by another jurisdiction. The car also had New Jersey plates, but the last letter was partially blocked — a tactic frequently used by reckless motorists, especially police officers or police-friendly civilians, to avoid camera violations.

Photo: Shane Kadidal
The police placard visible in the front windshield window. Photo: Shane Kadidal

Kadidal is physically fine — he suffered minor bumps and scrapes — but his frustrating and frightening experience is an example of what cyclists go through on a daily basis.

“Another byproduct of New York City car culture. Kadidal has cast a spotlight on what New Yorkers who ride bikes deal with all too often,” said Joe Cutrufo, a spokesman for Transporation Alternatives. “It makes you wonder what exactly the NYPD’s ‘Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect’ slogan is all about.”

Kadidal ultimately filed a police report, but cops told him they wouldn’t run the plate with one missing letter.

The incident left Kadidal shaken, partly because it led him to believe that placarded drivers can easily get away with crimes.

“The driver who hit me — and fled the scene — was a cop,” Kadidal wrote on Twitter. “Being a cop explains why he thought he could pull a massively illegal u-turn across five lanes and a double yellow line thru a red light on a crowded Manhattan street and not get busted for it. Or flee the scene – a crime even for civilians – with impunity.”

The NYPD said the grainy picture of the placard in the car’s front windshield window does not look like an official police placard.

  • Joe R.

    There can’t be too many Range Rovers registered in NJ with 25707 as the first plate numbers. Shouldn’t be too hard to track the owner, and publicly shame him.

    Also, the idea that the cyclist hit the car is rich. NYPD is an organization of thugs, hooligans, gangsters, and sociopaths. We don’t need them to protect us. We need to protect ourselves from them. The sooner the people of this city realize it, the better.

  • average salary of a cop in NYC versus payments on that range rover make for an interesting piece of math.

  • Tooscrapps

    Looks like it ends in -AP to me.

  • William Lawson

    When did we ever think that a gang of uneducated halfwits from SI and LI would make a good job of policing our city. They’re like the bullies in a bad high school movie.

  • KeNYC2030

    The 24th precinct may not care much about a U-turning driving striking a cyclist, but it believes that cyclists themselves are such a threat that it regularly sends officers out to ticket cyclists for rolling through reds at the T-intersections on Central Park West.

  • MatthewEH

    And Riverside. Ask me how I know

  • MatthewEH

    A private investigator should be able to run the plate-with-single-letter-partially obscured, no? As the preamble to filing a civil suit.

  • FivePoint

    It ends in R, indicating a temporary reg plate for an out-of-state resident. This person lives in New York, bought a car in NJ, and just drove it back across the river.

    The plate is either 257074R or 25707AR. Whether the plate’s expired or not is anyone’s guess.

  • r

    Congrats to Bill de Blasio for fostering this atmosphere of corruption and entitlement and not having the courage to do anything about it.

  • Joe R.

    Yep. It pretty much puts the “I can’t afford to live in the city, therefore I need parking so I can drive in from Long Island” theory to rest.

    Either that, or they’re stealing seized drug cash from the evidence room.

  • Richard Presutti

    one way to not get hit by a car is to not foolishly ride a bike in the most congested idiot filled city on the globe. It is a moronic practice and you get what you deserve.

  • AJ

    The other option is to ban all cars from the city that has the best public transport in the country….

    Both aren’t really solutions right?

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk

    That’s what I figured. And I just noticed, there are no tags on the windshield, not even a temp one. If I had to guess, it looks like AR.

  • AMH

    The second solution makes more sense, given that cars are the cause of congestion and space-efficient two-wheeled vehicles (whether human or motor-powered) are the solution.

  • AMH

    I hope you never have to be the victim of a crime, vehicular or otherwise.

  • AMH

    This is truly my greatest fear on the street. Drivers endanger us with impunity knowing that the NYPD will protect them. The most infuriating reality here is that every additional layer of criminality becomes another reason for police inaction, rather than an additional penalty. Both the streets and the NYPD need a ground-up redesign.

  • A congested city is great place to ride bikes. Cars can’t go that fast if there’s congestion. I can get crosstown way faster on my shitty bike than any car, don’t even have to shift past 2nd or 3rd gear. Have an open mind, Richard Presutti! Unless you are over 65 years old in which case forget about it.

  • “The NYPD said the grainy picture of the placard in the car’s front windshield window does not look like an official police placard.”

    Is NYPD really that inept? I can clearly see the word “POLICE” on the placard just casually zooming in on my cell phone.

  • Zack Adams

    Wow Richard Presutti, did you just say the cyclist *deserved* to get hit by a cop who then got away with it? What kind of moronic idiot are YOU? One that would do the same thing? Run over a cyclist or two since you know … they’re asking for it?

  • Adam

    I just saw this guy driving like a total maniac on West 4th Street through the village. He has something obscuring the last digit of his plate. He needs to be taken off the road.

  • Richard Presutti

    wow, douchbags can read. Morons are people who think it appropriate to ride a bike in nyc.

  • Richard Presutti

    when they stop at lights like they are supposed to… when they stop going through crosswalks.. when they stop going the wrong way in the bike lane… shall I go on? STOP WITH THE BIKES.. they are very lame.

  • Richard Presutti

    I hope you are the victim of a crime.. oh wait, you were born already.

  • Richard Presutti

    no one with a brain thinks riding a bike in nyc is appropriate. only asshats

  • Andrew

    when they stop at lights like they are supposed to…

    Just FYI: Mr. Kadidal was in the process of stopping for a red light when he was struck by the driver of an SUV with obscured license plates making an illegal u-turn across a double-yellow line, who then fled the scene.

    Mr. Kadidal was doing everything he was supposed to do. The motorist broke at least five laws within a few minutes, and if circumstances had been slightly different he could have killed Mr. Kadidal.

    Perhaps, for a change, it’s time to start focusing on motorists who break the law.

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