NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD is defending one of their officers who struck a cyclist’s Citi bike in the East Village – saying the biker was out of control and a threat to public safety.
With the bike tangled under the back tire of an NYPD SUV, the police officer was recorded explaining why he pulled over a cyclist, who allegedly ran through several red lights and refused orders to stop.
“You’re riding recklessly and you’re refusing to stop after multiple orders when you looked and acknowledged,” the Manhattan officer said.
“So I am going to use what means is necessary to stop you… that’s for your safety… this is for your safety, yes.”
The incident happened Friday night along Avenue A near Tompkins Square Park.
“When I got there, the bike rider was calling 911 on the police,” East Village resident Garvey Rich explained.
Rich recorded the encounter on his cell phone and showed CBS2’s Matt Kozar where it happened.
“It’s a real conundrum. What should the cop do? Should the cop apprehend someone who is reckless, or should the cops track and make sure the suspect doesn’t get more erratic so they don’t kill somebody else on the way?” Rich said.
The incident came on the heels of a citywide traffic initiative to ticket drivers who speed and fail to yield to pedestrians and cyclists.
So far this year, 15 cyclists have been killed on city streets. That’s more than the 10 killed in all of 2018.
When asked about his concerns over bikers who don’t follow the rules of the road, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill seemingly gave reckless cyclists a pass for their behavior.
“If a bicyclist is seriously injured or killed, we’re not looking to go back and ticket bicyclists. Bicyclists have to be responsible but as I said, there’s a huge difference between a two or three-ton vehicle and a 20 or 30-pound bicycle,” O’Neill said.
As for the allegedly reckless cyclist whose bike ended up underneath the tired of an NYPD vehicle, authorities say the man jumped off his Citi-bike before the collision.
That biker also received several summonses for those running red lights, operating a bike with headphones, and failing to comply with a lawful order by police.