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Rafael Huerta filmed incident in New York borough facing problems for cyclists

Rafael Huerta was cycling along a South Williamsburg street, in New York when he was subjected to three bouts of harassment from a driver attempting to pass him.

What the driver didn't know was that he was filming the entire scene - and later posted it to YouTube.

The video below shows Huerta repeatedly being squeezed into the parked cars at the side of the road by a grey Toyota minivan. The driver eventually gets out and accused Huerta of harassing him, and then a number of bystanders join in, blocking the cyclist's path.

He panics and is forced to call 911 and is eventually helped out by a plain clothes policeman.

But Huerta urges viewers not to jump to conclusions about the altercation between the pair. He writes in the video's description: “Please refrain from using racial comments…This man doesn’t represent the Jewish community…And I don’t represent the biking community either.”

But cyclists in Williamsburg are not unused to heavy-handed treatment. Cyclists have recently been ticketed by police for riding along a quiet pavement to get onto a cycle bridge, thanks to poor signposting.

And in 2010 there was a heated row between Hasidic Jews in the area and cyclists over pedestrian safety around bike lanes.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

37 comments

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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WOW, where did the gang come from? Its hard not to comment on them being Jewish, not in a racial on negative way, but just to describe them.

They all seem to just appear. I would have been on the phone to the police and felt threatened aswell. Why wouldn't he let him get on his way? The driver hadn't called the police to make a complaint. I don't understand his problem  39

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Leviathan [1778 posts] 2 years ago
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Wow that is one crazy bearded car driver. Several other bearded gentlemen got involved. I hope there is no connection between beard growth and bad driving.

Seriously, with parked cars the road was one car width, where exactly did the driver think he was supposed to ride? He had an opportunity to over take then made himself a problem. Fat Arse.

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Abbie [59 posts] 2 years ago
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That is very very scary. And so are the comments on youtube. Glad I've moved from the big city to this tiny little village!

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Sudor [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Big attitude problem from the beard - intolerant and manipulative in a nasty passive aggressive way - was he hoping to provoke a response from the cycle rider by preventing his free movement? - looks to me that he was creating something from nothing and waiting for others to get involved.

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I love my bike [107 posts] 2 years ago
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So a minivan driver gets annoyed at being delayed a little by a cyclist, overtakes the cyclist & then slows down to prove what he was experiencing.

Why did the cyclist then want to get in front again twice? and overtake by squeezing through the narrow gap beside parked cars?

There are bad car drivers about(and cyclists too), you might be right, but don't argue with them; you won't win & you'll just waste your time & could get hurt/injured.

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fatbeggaronabike [757 posts] 2 years ago
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Williamsburg must be NY's equivilent of norfolk "you're not from round here are you"

But it is racism if you start to object to/about somebody just because they don't look/dress like you. It's not just bnp and ukip that are hogging all the ignorance.

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pjt201 [101 posts] 2 years ago
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i do think that people who cycle around with cameras on their bike often go looking for trouble.

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jimmyd [107 posts] 2 years ago
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Lots of pregnant men in that vid. Seems the bearded guy was making something out of nothing. Think I would have flattened him within a minute for that kind of driving.

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LondonCalling [149 posts] 2 years ago
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Copper should have arrested the bearded asshole!

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paulfg42 [382 posts] 2 years ago
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Just shows that dickwittery behind the wheel knows no racial or religious boundaries.

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Krazyfrenchkanuck [12 posts] 2 years ago
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Imagine this,

Our cyclist, goes to the right at 16sec (First time Horn is used) or at 18sec (2nd time Horn is used), when there is room.

Our cyclist doesn't "tap" on the vehicule and avoid language like get the "fuck out of the way"

Our cyclist avoids verbal confrontation.

Doesn't ride in the middle of the lane from 1:31 to 1:50.

Doen't engage in verbal escalation by saying "hit Me,..."

and rather reply to the remark that he is not allowed to ride in the middle of the street by saying " You're right, i'll be carefull not to do it. Have a good day Sir" and leaves.

There are situation in life that are not worth it !

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Right in the door zone, yeah great.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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Krazyfrenchkanuck wrote:

Imagine this,

Our cyclist, goes to the right at 16sec (First time Horn is used) or at 18sec (2nd time Horn is used), when there is room.

Our cyclist doesn't "tap" on the vehicule and avoid language like get the "fuck out of the way"

Our cyclist avoids verbal confrontation.

Doesn't ride in the middle of the lane from 1:31 to 1:50.

Doen't engage in verbal escalation by saying "hit Me,..."

and rather reply to the remark that he is not allowed to ride in the middle of the street by saying " You're right, i'll be carefull not to do it. Have a good day Sir" and leaves.

There are situation in life that are not worth it !

Obviously NOT a cyclist^^^^^

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moonbucket [63 posts] 2 years ago
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Really, you want the cyclist to cower in fear and prostrate themselves at the feet of fat oafish louts in (surprisingly roomy  3 ) minivans, and apologise for using the road?

Fat arrogant oafs like this one already believe they own the road, to hell with entrenching that idea in their thick skulls!

Be honest, how many of you watching this wanted to wrap their bikes round his bearded pus?  14

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Krazyfrenchkanuck [12 posts] 2 years ago
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@GKam84
FYI, I rode 10000km last year, 72000km in the last 8 years.
This means that I have been confronted to agressive idiots driving cars routinely during this period.

After an incident similar to the beginning of the video, in 2011, I've been the victim of road rage - the guy had a baseball bat in is car.
I had no camera, there were no witness.
I've been found unconscious with a severe head trauma.
I now have memory and concentration problems.
My personality has change - I have Severe Mood Swing due to a Frontal Syndrom.
I can no longer occupy the same type of job an can only work 2 hours a day max.
My wife has left me, unable to deal with what I have become (I don't blame her).

The police was never able to find the guy.

What I've learn from my experience is that you CANNOT CHANGE idiots, the best strategy is to try to avoid them.

These Idiots have one thing in common, EVERYONE is WRONG except them.

Cycling is now the only thing that keeps me alive.
So I "Obviously" call myself a "cyclist".

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aslongasicycle [380 posts] 2 years ago
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Male pride sure has a lot to answer for. As always.
Infantile.

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alotronic [437 posts] 2 years ago
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KFC on the money, completely agree this view having been assaulted (punched in the face x3 in London.)

BUT

It is very very very very difficult to switch off that 'fight back' response!!!

There is a crucial difference between being assertive and being provocative and I think it takes a lot of practice to remain *merely* assertive in the face of such behaviour. Staying merely assertive probably would have saved me one sore chin (and I was lucky there, I would have been properly beaten up if I hadn't found a group of Polish builders to hide behind!)

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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Ultimately everyone has a point at which tolerance turns to defiance, usually at about the same time that the person decides liberties are being taken.

The key thing is matching your physical ability to defend yourself to that threshold. If you don't posses that ability, then your annoyance threshold needs to be high.

Not turning defence to simple aggression, however, is equally important.

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Velo_Alex [72 posts] 2 years ago
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A fairly key point here is that the Cyclist *does* actually have the right to be in that position in the lane, (NY State VTL Article 34, Section 1234).

The driver has a legal obligation to pass at a safe distance (NYS VTL Article 25, Section 1122-a) and prevent collision with the cyclist (NYS VTL Article 26, Section 1146) and was clearly at fault from the outset.

That said, perhaps the wiser move would have been pulling over, letting the vehicle pass and then filing a complaint with the Police for disorderly conduct.

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georgee [160 posts] 2 years ago
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Apparently at 2:00 you can hear the fat lunitic threaten him and order someone to fetch the person to carry out the threat but I didn't pick this up on my quick scan through the footage.

Hopefully the Police deal with it but I agree the cyclist could have avoided confrontation but it does stagger me that drivers believe they have the right to behave like this.

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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After the first time the car squeezes him, i would've banged on it too, but then to try and pass and get back in front when there's no space is stupidity and escalated the situation. If he stayed behind it instead of passing then the guy drives off, annoyed but had proved his point.

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doubledex [32 posts] 2 years ago
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Like this one, and I am really sorry to hear of your experience. I am tested everyday on my commute through cornwall (it is more to do with 'locals' driving fast along their regular rural routes in my case) and to keep mindful that the only person I can do anything about is MYSELF, is not always easy. I try not to do anything that will provoke aggression, although that is not to say I will not sometimes assert my rights (in order to promote my safety). I try to reward good behavoir (ie wave at those who do give me room and wait to overtake) and not to react to the bad.

I also appreciate that however I behave may well affect how that driver will react to another cyclist in the future, if I am as kind and compassionate as possible, just maybe, they might not be so aggressive to the next cyclist. Every cyclist has a responsibility to behave responsibly as their actions may cause problems for other cyclists (well that is what I think anyway).

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glock59 [10 posts] 2 years ago
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I really think that when the driver first squeezed him over I would have stopped and either let him drive on or pedal back the other way. No way you could win when you are in hostile territory. Plus they really out weighed him. Get his license plate and turn him in at least to make yourself feel better.

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spen [125 posts] 2 years ago
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Bike Snob NYC covered this on Friday with his usual diplomatic bent (the first part's from someone called Spencer)

"Here’s a firsthand example of the kind of vigilante “justice” Hasidic Jews have long enforced on cyclists in Williamsburg and other areas in which they live. Rafael Huerta was riding his bike home when a Jewish man accused him of slamming into the man’s car, though it’s unclear in the video whether contact was actually made. It looks to me like Huerta was riding safely and near the shoulder of the road, and for what it’s worth, he can be heard saying he “tapped” the car but that no dent was made.

None of this is "unclear" to anybody who's ever ridden a bike, especially in Brooklyn. The guy in the penguin costume was obviously squeezing the cyclist between his shitty van and the parked cars, and the cyclist tapped on the car because, you know, he has a self-preservation instinct"

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septic77 [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Both parties idiots
This cyclist WANTED a confontation.
When 1st incident he should have pulled over, maybe took a drink etc. and let the wanker drive off

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alexholt3 [53 posts] 2 years ago
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In fairness, he shouldn't have tried to push past when the vehicle boxed him in, but of course, the driver was in the wrong.

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Cooks [490 posts] 2 years ago
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Dude sounds like Grover from the Muppets.

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BenMWilliamson [27 posts] 2 years ago
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Couldn't agree with you more!!!  1

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PhilWalker [31 posts] 2 years ago
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Thugs. End of story.

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badkneestom [135 posts] 2 years ago
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Think the cyclist played it well as he could not knowing what was happening. Shame o any who feel they would've fared better without ever having been through it themselves.

Blubber had some balls though, doing it all on camera

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