NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Protesters upset over another death of a cyclist in the streets of New York City took their anger out on drivers Monday night.

What started as a crowded memorial for a cyclist hit and killed by a truck in Chelsea turned into mayhem.

Bikers gather after the death of a cyclist in New York on June 24, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

Friends of Robyn Hightman tell CBS2’s Matt Kozar she loved cycling and made extra money working as a bike courier. They say Monday was her second day starting a new job.

A memorial filled with flowers has been set up at the scene where she died.

Hightman is the 11th cyclist to die in New York City in 2019, which is why several dozen bikers went on a riding rampage Monday night, blocking streets and intersections.

A man’s car was damaged during a protest over the death of a cyclist in New York on June 24, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

One man’s car was damaged during the riding protest.

“One guy had a nightstick, looked like one of the police nightsticks, and he’s just beating on everybody’s cars. I confronted them, and they started fighting me,” he said.

Along Sixth Avenue where 20-year-old Robyn Hightman died, friends left candles and photos of a young woman passionate about cycling.

Dana Haberern says Hightman had just ridden her bike for three days from Richmond, Virginia, to her new home in New York City, where she was applying for nonprofit jobs.

“We both raced track bikes at the Village Zone and just yesterday, we were the only two women who showed up and raced bikes together, and we were toe-to-toe having so much fun,” Haberern said. “The last thing I said to her was, ‘Hey, I’ll see you in the street tomorrow.'”

Bikers gather after the death of a cyclist in New York on June 24, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

Investigators say Hightman collided with a white truck Monday morning.

Driver Antonio Garcia told CBS2 he was not aware he had hit someone until a witness stopped him several blocks up.

“I’m driving no more than 20, no down to 15. I don’t see nothing … The passenger told me, ‘Somebody hit you in the back,'” Garcia said.

In a short film made recently by a friend, Hightman discussed her love of the sport and the dangers of working as a courier.

Robyn Hightman was killed while riding her bicycle in New York on June 24, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

“In a split second, something could go wrong. I’ve been hit by cars. I’ve been assaulted on shift. I’ve been harassed in a whole manner of ways, but I feel safe being out there because I know I work hard. I know that I can stand up for myself, I can defend myself, but I know that if I can’t, that the people who are out there with me have my back,” Hightman said.

Garcia was not arrested, but he was issued several equipment violations for minor problems with his truck.

Comments (6)
  1. Sofia Millie Chandler-Freed says:

    Describing this memorial ride as “mayhem” and a “riding rampage” is inappropriate in response to Robyn’s death.
    I hope this story is updated to correct Robyn’s pronouns, the inflammatory language, and the statement that they “collided with a white truck” to better reflect the details of the crash.

  2. Christine Rucci says:

    We all need to share the road. However CARS can kill. Even with bike lanes cars especially Uber’s and delivery vehicles do not respect the road. If we are to end this and truly have Vision Zero, we must all obey the road.

  3. Christy Rappold says:

    “the **Village Zone and just yesterday” It’s a misquote for “Velodrome” where we race track out in Kissena Queens.

  4. Robyn used they/them pronouns, so you might want to correct your story. Leading with a line that says the vigil caused “mayhem” is inaccurate and sloppy journalism. Nothing happened at the event except that a group of people came together to mourn. And to you, Terry, there is no denying that there are cyclists that break laws and act like jerks on the road (as do motorists.) No one deserves to die for it, and to blame a cyclists who was riding in the street legally, where there isn’t a protected bike lane, for being killed by a car that didn’t see another lawful vehicle in the road, is ludicrous and disgusting.

  5. Terry Mi says:

    Cyclist act like they are the kings of the road.

    They ignore red lights and pedestrians in crosswalks, and carelessly race around.

  6. avetabirthservices says:

    The driver needs to be charged with the cyclist’s death. It doesn’t matter if he didn’t realize he hit someone, he still did.

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