Two arrests have been made, one biker is wanted by the police, and one man is in a coma after Sunday's nightmarish incident between one Range Rover driver and several hundred motorcyclists on a mass ride. Here's a complete guide to understanding what happened, why it happened, and what you should do if you're in the same situation.
The video released by one of the riders involved has gone viral, but it leaves you with more questions than answers. Here are my responses.
I've seen a bit of this video, where a bunch of bikers chase a guy driving a Range Rover. What the hell happened, exactly?
Okay, on Sunday there was a huge mass ride of a number of motorcycle clubs in NYC had a kind of end-of-the-season get together. We're talking 200-300 bikers who were riding like assholes, as their deleted videos show.
At some point at around 1:30 in the afternoon on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, one of those riders (28-year-old Christopher Cruz) brake-checked the driver of a black Range Rover (33-year-old Alexian Lien). Lien rear-ended Cruz, and a number of bikers swarmed around the Range Rover to see what happened. Lien had his wife and two-year-old in the car. He panicked and took off, knocking over a number of bikers.
One rider Jay Mieses was sent to the hospital with serious injuries. He is currently in a medically-induced coma and his family claims he may be paralyzed from the waist down. Mieses, by the way, has a criminal history of riding infractions and is banned from driving in Massachusetts until 2017, as the Boston Globe reports.
The bikers gave chase, stopping Lien further up the highway. When one biker threw open Lien's door, Lien took off again, knocking over more bikers. At either this second stop or the first, one of Lien's tires was slashed. The chase resumed, but when Lien hit traffic on 178th street, riders mobbed his Range Rover again, bashing in one window, pulling him from his SUV, and beating him in the street. You can see the scene of the beating below.
Lien was taken to the hospital and released with stitches.
Holy crap. Has anyone been arrested?
Yes. The police arrested Christopher Cruz and basically threw the book at him for reckless everything. One other rider who was one of the first to attack Lien's car on 178th street turned himself in and another was arrested, also for starting the attack on 178th street. The police are still looking for the rider who broke Lien's window with his helmet and possibly pulled him out of his car.
Jeez. Why did this all happen?
Well, it's hard to tell because the video starts after what appears to be some kind of altercation between Lien and Cruz, so it's possible Lien bumped Cruz before Cruz brake checked him. One rider claimed the initial approach around Lien's car was non-violent, but after Lien panicked and drove over Mieses everything pretty much goes to shit.
No, I mean, what were a few hundred motorcycles doing on the highway and why'd they try to make the Range Rover slow down in the first place?
It looks like the riders, loosely organized around a website called 'Hollywood Stuntz,' were on an annual ride planning to collect in Times Square. At the time they slowed down Lien, they were apparently trying to close the highway .
Close the highway?
Yeah, the New York Post reports that the riders were trying to stop all traffic on the West Side Highway to make room for stunts. The New York Times reports that detectives are looking into this as a possibility.
WHAT? Please tell me this isn't normal.
Bikers beating up a driver is rare, but huge pop-up motorcycle rides are pretty common in the north end of Manhattan and in the Bronx. If you live up here you might see a hundred dirtbikes, quads, and other bikers go by a few times in a summer.
Don't the police shut this stuff down?
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stated that the NYPD was aware that this ride was going to happen and they successfully kept it out of Times Square. They got over 200 calls, the Times reports. Beyond that, though, the police are instructed not to chase after illegal riders like this, as the Post points out.
Wait, the cops don't chase these guys?
Generally not. It's too easy for these riders to evade the cops by riding on the sidewalk or going against traffic, particularly for the dirt bike riders, and it's therefore dangerous for everyone.
But everyone in this ride is recorded in the video, surely catching them will be easy now.
Not quite. Many of these bikes have no plates at all, and the ones that do often belong on a different bike. Beyond that, these bikers wear masks and helmets so their faces obscured.
So you're saying it's like Grand Theft Auto out there?
A little bit, yeah. These guys ride like dicks, they get caught up in mob mentality any time a car driver acts out, and the cops generally don't chase them.
So what the hell am I supposed to do if I'm in Lien's position?
Well, Lien didn't do everything right. As you can see in the video, other drivers make it out of the situation okay by moving slowly to the right. The riders go by those cars, but Lien remains in the center lane, gets brake-checked and things go downhill from there. Lien did call the cops early in the incident, it should be said.
If you find yourself in Lien's situation, I would advise that you:
- Move to the right.
- Slow down.
- Lock your doors.
- Call the cops.
Basically, just do what you can to let the riders by and get out of the way. When it's you surrounded by a couple hundred bikers, anything you try and do will probably get one of them hurt, and then you'll have hell to pay.
None of this seems like a real solution.
Yeah, these riders taking over streets and highways is pretty bad. If you have a solution, call the NYPD or the Baltimore PD, where they have these dirt bike riders, too.
It can be a shit show out there, people. Try and stay out of the way.