NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lawmakers have been inspired to take action in the wake of the infamous viral video showing a confrontation between a group of bikers and a man driving a sport-utility vehicle with his wife and 2-year-old daughter at his side.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Monday, Alexian Lien and his family were driving down the Henry Hudson Parkway on Sept. 29, when their SUV was surrounded by bikers. Lien gunned it and ran over a biker, sparking a chase that ended when the SUV was cornered in Washington Heights, and Lien was dragged out and attacked.
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But the proposal for legislative action was borne also of the scene before the disaster, in which bikers were riding on sidewalks and taking up the full width of the roadway.
State Sen. Andriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan) is one of the sponsors of what he called new preventive legislation.
“We’re not splicing atoms here. This is something that’s very not uncommon,” Espaillat said. “You know, permits are required for all kinds of public assembly and activities, and there should be a similar process for motorcycles.
The motorcycle safety legislation would require a permit for gatherings of 50 or more motorcycles, and notification to the communities through which they would be riding.
The legislation would also create a new criminal charge for motorcycle street stunts that endanger others, and would bring enhanced gang violence penalties for assaults like the one caught on camera in September.
The idea has received wide support, especially along thoroughfares such as Queens Boulevard, where pedestrians said they are often terrorized by joyriding bikers.
“Sometimes they do stunts on the boulevard, which I think is crazy,” said Kevin Kalia of Elmhurst, Queens.
Just this past Saturday, Marian Kurshik, 78, of Elmhurst, was killed after being hit by a motorcycle riding in a pack. The rider also died.
Neighbors said they were horrified to see stunt bikers in the area just hours after the scene was cleared.
“His feet was on the seat; the front wheel pulled up. He was going very fast,” said one woman who did not want to be identified. “Two people made a comment to me and said they couldn’t believe it, knowing that a woman had died.”
The legislation would benefit everyone, according to Espaillat.
“This not only, I think, protects pedestrians. I think it also protects the motorcyclists themselves,” he said.
The proposal has gotten some push-back from upstate motorcycle clubs, which said rural settings make gatherings less troublesome. But the bill’s sponsors say they believe they have enough support to get it through the next session, possibly to take effect in the summer of 2015.
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