Intentionally hitting a cyclist with one’s car is not ok, but if those who commit these acts aren’t prosecuted, doesn’t that tell the world that it is ok? One would think! The Manhattan District Attorney, Cy Vance, recently decided to drop the assault charges that were filed against Jose Henriquez. For those not familiar with the case, Mr. Henriquez intentionally rammed a cyclist with his SUV and then fled the scene. So, to sum things up, a driver of a motor vehicle, used his vehicle as a deadly weapon to cause bodily harm to a cyclist and the cyclist won’t be going to jail. In fact, he won’t even be paying a big fine. He’ll be paying $250. That’s his fine. Let’s repeat that for effect: $250.
As reported by “Streets Blog NYC,” “According to [Steve] Vaccaro, [the victim's attorney], and a witness affidavit, at around 5:00 p.m. on July 13, 2013, Michael (not his actual name) was riding his bike on Avenue B on the Lower East Side. Avenue B is a narrow two-way street with no bike lanes and parking on both sides. To avoid being doored, Michael was riding in the center of his lane. When a motorist approached Michael from behind, tailgating and honking, he responded by flipping the driver off. Approaching the intersection of Avenue B and E. 13th Street, Michael slowed for a red light. According to the affidavit, the driver, still behind him, accelerated, striking the back of Michael’s bike and flipping him over the handlebars, causing him to hit his head on the ground. With Michael in the street bleeding from his face and head, the motorist swerved around him and attempted to drive off. A second motorist on the opposite side of the intersection tried to block the way, but the SUV driver went around the vehicle and left the scene.”
Shame on Cy Vance, the Manhattan DA, for setting this awful precedent. What this decision not to prosecute Mr. Henriquez does is tell every driver of a motor vehicle that it’s not only acceptable to plow down cyclists, but it’s then ok to flee the scene. Shame, shame, shame on Cy Vance. You bring shame to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and should be removed from this post.