Still a Need to Train Police Officers

An amazing story from New York City:  bicyclist Christina Thede passes a double-parked car, is nearly doored by its driver, complains to him, and goes on her way  — but is chased and assaulted by the door-opening motorist. Only it turns out the driver is an off-duty police officer, who arrests her — actually brings her to the police station — for bicycling recklessly (and disorderly conduct for good measure). How was she reckless? By deciding to pass a car double-parked in her lane! You can read more and see a picture here (someone should really get her a nicer bike). Here is the story in the cyclist’s own words:

“The first part of the incident is the part that no one witnessed (that I know of) and everyone has been filling in why that cop was chasing me.  What happened was I was riding up Amsterdam on the right hand side.  The black car that we now know was the police car was double parked in the right lane.  I started to pass the car on the driver’s side, when the driver opened the door into my path.  As a community of cyclists, I know you all must know this is a big danger and concern for those of us who bike in traffic. Anyway, I braked suddenly to avoid a collision.  A delivery bike behind me ran into me from behind because I had to stop so suddenly.  The driver of the vehicle and I had a brief verbal exchange, but I continued on in the right lane.  It was then that he got back in the car and pursued me.  I realized he was following and got scared, worried that this might be a severe case of road rage and who knows what he might do.  I crossed over to the left side of the street in order to shake him off.  This is where the witnesses’ stories pick up.  He skidded his car perpendicular to traffic, blocking my path.  Ok, now I’m REALLY scared.  I got off my bike and started to walk it up to the side walk between the parked cars. That’s when he got out of the vehicle and grabbed me from behind.   I started screaming for help and struggling thinking I was being assaulted or that he was trying to take my bike.  Suddenly, more cops showed up, and at that point I was turned over to the uniformed officers.  I was frisked, cuffed, and put in a police van, driven to the Central Park precinct (where the original plain clothes officer was from), and held for about an hour. I am not accused of running a red light.  The charges against me are disorderly conduct and reckless operation of a bicycle.”