Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Help Me Howard: Bike vs Van
If you ride a bike on the road do you have any rights? For example, if a driver tries to force you off the road, but doesn't hit your bike or hurt you, is it a crime? One woman thought it was then it happened to her and its why she called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- If you have ever driven you have seen the bike riders. Sometimes on the sidewalk, sometimes with their own lanes, but most of the time sharing the road with trucks and cars.
Rebekka Pierre: "So normally I do ride on the road."
Rebekka rides her bike to work every day.
Rebekka Pierre: "Because I get exercise I know I am not polluting and its a good thing."
It's a good thing, most of the time.
Rebekka Pierre: "No I dont feel safe anymore riding my bike."
Because while Rebekka likes riding her bike, a few days ago she encountered a driver who doesn't like riders on the road.
Rebekka Pierre: "He was honking behind me."
Rebekka was riding thru a residential neighborhood in Hollywood. That's when the driver of a unmarked white van pulled up.
Rebekka Pierre: "And as he got closer to me. He started yelling at me, cursing out the window 'F you, get off the road biker,' something to that effect."
Rebekka says she was following the law, riding on the edge of the road as the driver kept screaming at her for two blocks to get on the sidewalk. Then it got worse.
Rebekka Pierre: "He was next to me driving right next to me and while I was on the road, and then as he was getting closer and closer to me he started to drive literally off the road."
Patrick: "He was pushing you off the road?
Rebekka Pierre: "Yeah."
Rebekka got over to the sidewalk and got her second surprise of the day.
Rebekka Pierre: "I called 911 called the police they said they couldn't help me because there was no accident, no witnesses."
Rebekka says she gave the the police a description of the driver and even gave them the tag number of the van, but she was told there was nothing they could do. As the driver who tried to hit her got away.
Rebekka Pierre: "Yes, he was definitely angry and I was too. I am not going to say I didn't yell back cause I did. I felt like my life was in danger."
Well Howard, an operator at the police department told Rebekka with no witnesses and no accident, a driver trying to run a biker off the road was not a crime true or false?
Howard Finkelstein: "Obviously, there was some miscommunication in the incident. But basically attacking a biker is aggravated assault. It's a felony and you can go to jail and the only witness you need is the bike rider the victim"
When I called Hollywood Police, they agreed there could have been a crime committed. They talked to Rebekka and then put an investigator on the case. They are now looking for the driver of the van.
Howard Finkelstein: "If you report a crime and dont think you get the proper response, call the police again and ask to speak to a supervisor. I've said it a hundred times but its true, the squeaky wheel gets grease in other words gets the attention."
The driver scared the heck out of Rebekka so much, that she has decided to park her bike and walk to work.
Rebekka Pierre: "I am moving a lot closer to work so that I dont have to ride my bike anymore."
Patrick Fraser: "While bike riders can share the road with cars, they have to follow the same traffic laws as vehicles and legally a bike rider can use the sidewalk, they just have to yield to pedestrians of course. With so many bumpy sidewalks, it explains why bikers like the road."
Having troubling rolling along in your life? Feel like the spokes have been snatched out of you? Coast over to us and let us pedal in with a solution.
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