Thursday, August 20, 2009

Battle Over Bike Lane in Staten Island

According to the Staten Island Advance, a confrontation between motorists and a cyclist occurred when cyclist Gregory DeRespino, 48 (pictured above left), stopped at a red light in a clearly marked bike lane at a busy intersection in Staten Island (pictured above right).

Motorists, who couldn't be bothered to wait their turn, were illegally driving up behind Mr. DeRespino, in the clearly marked bike lane, attempting to make a right turn. Mr. DeRespino stood his ground.

Apparently, motorists were upset. One particular motorists by the name of Michael Graziuso, 27, went too far. Graziuso parked his car, went back to Mr. DeRespino who was still standing in the bike lane with his bike, and proceeded to attack DeRespino by pulling him off his bike, dragging the bike out of the bike lane and then kicking DeRespino while he was down!

Thankfully, the police arrested Michael Graziuso and charged him with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment.

The police have been issuing tickets at this particular intersection due to cars illegally driving in the bike lane:
"A city Department of Transportation spokesman said last week that while motorists are allowed to cross the bike lane from a right-side car lane to make a turn, that doesn't mean motorists can cut into the bike lane beforehand and use it as a turning lane."
Motorists, the bike lane is not your personal express lane or your turning lane or your parking spot or your loading zone. IT'S A BIKE LANE. If you're not a bike, please, stay out of it!

The DOT and the City of NY need to educate motorists more thoroughly on this as well as other bike-related issues.

On my daily commute and travels I am subject to flagrant use and abuse of bike lanes as parking spots, express lanes, pick up/drop off points, loading zones, standing zones, etc., by motorists of all kinds. It's dangerous, illegal and has to stop.

I applaud Mr. DeRespino for standing his ground and taking his rightful place on the road and in the bike lane.

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