Fernando Mateo Calls For New Regulations On New York Bicyclists

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Following the horrific taxi crash this week that ripped off the foot of a British tourist from Midtown, the union representing cab drivers has called for tighter regulations on bike messengers.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, Fernando Mateo, president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, said city bike messengers were to blame for the accident this past Tuesday.

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“We know that (bike messengers are) reckless, yet they’ve done nothing about it,” Mateo said.

Driver Mohammed Himon earlier this week claimed a hostile bicyclist caused his cab to jump a curb on Sixth Ave near Radio City Music Hall where it plowed into 23-year-old Sian Green. The accident cost the young woman her foot.

“It’s not my fault. It’s just an accident. I didn’t see him at all when he banged on my car. Then I saw him,” he said.

Mateo said some new laws are warranted to prevent such occurrences.

“Obligate bike riders in the city of New York to carry insurance and register their bikes, and get a license plate,” Mateo said.

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But bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives blamed the crash on the cab driver. The group said trying to enact legislation before an investigation is complete is inappropriate.

The cabbie, identified as Mohammed Himon, who has been registered with the Taxi and Limousine Commission since 2010, is not facing criminal charges, but was issued a ticket for being an unauthorized driver in the vehicle that he was operating. The TLC has moved to suspend Himon’s taxi license, CBS 2′s Don Champion reported earlier this week.

Victim Green was rushed to Bellevue Hospital and into surgery, but doctors couldn’t save her left foot. Although there were injuries to her right leg, it was not severed, police said.

“I’m very sorry about that. I will always pray for her and her family,” he said.

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