Turf wars on the streets are nothing new and on the streets of Manhattan — it doesn’t take long to identify transportation’s version of the Sharks and the Jets. Cabbies versus bike messengers.
In light of Tuesday’s accident where a taxi driver struck a bike messenger as an act of “road rage” and severely hurt a British tourist, members of each clan sounded off on the dangers of sharing the road with each other.
Fernando Rivera is the operations Manager at Street Kings and a former bike messenger himself, he summed up the relationship as “strenuous.”
Cabbies like Chokri Bouallegoe won’t describe it one word. They’ll tell you a story.
“The guy is not driving in the bike lane, he’s driving between the car, I try to talk to him, he has the lock. He takes the lock from his bag. Boom! In the mirror like this, I have to pay $75 for the mirror. I swear,” he said.
Paramedics treating a British tourist after a runaway cab hit her, tearing off her foot. (Twitter/@Braddjaffy)
This incident happened on Tuesday just blocks below from where a British tourist and a bike messenger were leveled on 6th Avenue. The messenger had minor injuries compared to the 23-year-old tourist, who lost a foot. As for the driver, he was cited for not being authorized to drive that cab.
For Heather Muller, a bike messenger with Zipments on 5th Avenue in Midtown, says a simple summons is indefensible.
“The cyclist was hit by the cab and wound up on the roof, I find it more shocking that the cab driver was cited with a couple of summons but he probably won’t face any criminal repercussions,” she said.
Currently, a TLC spokesman says there are approximately 50,000 cab drivers on the streets of the city. Compared to estimates of 1,000 to 1,200 bike messengers zigging and zagging the nation’s most jammed streets. And while the cab drivers have a union. It’s a free- for-all for the messengers. All they have is digital chatter and a foundation that was founded last decade. The one common theme? both get paid for producing.
The difference according to Muller is that a cab driver may lose perspective after some time behind the wheel.
“If you’re in a vehicle all day, it can be real easy to lose site of there is humans outside of you. You’re in a two ton bubble and your actions can really hurt somebody else. ”
Basil Baptiste, another bike messenger believes it’s rough to do his job.
“The laws that fight against us. Pedestrians that don’t respect us and taxi cabs that try to kill us.Point blank,” he said.