News & Politics

Lawyer Says Bike Lock Beatdown is a Crime


A You Tube vid of a young Lower East Side cyclist — some have theorized he’s
a bike messenger — delivering a brutal beatdown to a pedestrian outside
the public restrooms on Allen and Delancey made the rounds on web sites and
last week: The vid shows the two travelers coming into conflict after one either careened or bumped into the other at a busy intersection.

later, the older and taller pedestrian gets up in the cyclist’s face. The
cyclist tries to amble away but the guy follows. Because of the camera angle
and the fact the two turn a corner and are momentarily out of view, what
happens next is unclear. Maybe the pedestrian grabbed the cyclists. Maybe
the cyclist just got fed up with being talked at. But milliseconds
later, when the camera picks the two up again, things have gotten out of

…so out of control the cyclist starts bludgeoning the pedestrian in
the head with a U-lock so hard, the mic picks up the hammering thud.

the vid has been up, commenters on various sites have been debating whether
the cyclist, if caught, should go to jail. Some think that since the biker
was obviously being menaced by the other dude, it was self defense, while
others believe there’s no excuse for the cyclist’s over-the-top reaction.

We figured we’d solicit an expert opinion on it. Lawyer Adam White is an
avid cyclists known for defending the rights of bike messengers in NYC. What
is the pro-two-wheeler litigator’s reaction to the video of the enraged
cyclists? “Horrible,” he says via email. And what’s his legal opinion? “It
did not appear from the video that the bicyclist was ever in fear of his
personal safety and could have easily and quickly retreated without physical
harm to anyone involved regardless of the fact that the guy may have been
badgering him. Use of the U-Lock as a weapon was plainly inappropriate,
uncivilized and a criminal act. The bike messenger can have no reasonable
excuse judging from the video for his actions and should be criminally

Of course, the chances of that happening are almost nil as
NYPD says there was no police report filed on the incident.

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