Two sides to every cyclist/driver dispute
To the Editor,
I was disappointed that you reported “Cyclist wanted for assault” (Police Watch, T&V, March 19) without adding quotation marks around “Assault,” to indicate that the person has only been alleged to have committed a crime.
The article itself made it clear that the automobile driver’s claims were prima facie preposterous: “A 54-year-old man was in his car when he was cut off by a bicyclist,” you reported. The average car weighs 4,000 pounds. The average bike weighs 20 pounds. How can it be that the driver can legitimately claim he was cut off by a bicyclist?
More appropriately, your article could have said the driver “claimed he had been cut off by a bicyclist.”
More likely, what happened was that the driver of the car was passing too close to the cyclist, or otherwise driving in a reckless fashion. Words were exchanged, and the driver likely threatened the cyclist with bodily harm. Whether or not the cyclist used his bike lock to defend himself, possibly striking the automobile’s window in the process, is a matter for a jury to determine, after weighing the evidence. The prosecutor will need more than the angry driver’s word for it.
Often, there are two sides to every story. If we are to make New York City livable again, we probably should give cyclists the benefit of the doubt before indicting them for a felony without hearing their side of the story.
Name Withheld, ST