A Park Slope computer programmer says he was biking home from work earlier this month when a group of teenagers threw a brick at him in broad daylight from a pedestrian overpass at Navy Street in Fort Greene. The bike lane cuts right through the sprawling Whitman-Ingersoll housing projects, and it seems teenagers have for some time used the so-called "Fleet Walkway" as the perfect spot to throw things at cyclists. Stephen Arthur, 44, is their latest victim, and he's lucky to be alive. Here's video taken moments after the assault:
Arthur tells us he was biking under the walkway around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 12th when he was suddenly hit in the face with a brick and knocked off his bike. "I suffered six stitches to the right side of my face (the brick created an inter-oral laceration, so 3 of the stitches were needed on the inside of my mouth)," he writes. "If I were not wearing a helmet and glasses, I could be dead right now, or in some kind of vegetative state. I also suffered road rash to my right knee, right thigh, right elbow, and left wrist. When I fell, I fell between a guard rail and a tall black iron fence on the side of the road."
Brooklyn cyclist Kurt Martig was riding about 15 feet behind Arthur when he was assaulted, but because of the configuration of the walkway, he didn't see who threw the brick—just a group of teens running away. "Suddenly I see him tumbling head over heels; it was pretty bad," says Martig. "There was a big brick in the middle of the bike lane. Honestly, he's lucky to be alive. Last summer, somebody threw a water bottle at me from that spot, and I know kids have taunted cyclists along there before. There's a protected fence on the overpass, but the ramp that leads up to it has no fence, and there's a clear shot for people to throw things down."
According to Arthur, the brick was thrown from the landing leading up to the walkway, and he's shared his story in part because he wants the city to install some kind of protective barrier. "Transportation Alternatives told me that water balloons have been thrown from that spot as well," says Arthur. "I'm an experienced biker, I'm not a sucker or anything. And they got me dead on, and split my helmet and mangled my glasses. The idea that someone did something like this and got away with it is shocking, and I want to get the word out so it doesn't happen to someone else. Even if it's just water balloons."
Arthur filed a police report, but no arrests were made. "The police showed up about 15 minutes after I got hit, and they just stood around," he tells us over the phone. "Why weren't they going out and interviewing people in the neighborhood?" He was only contacted once by the NYPD, receiving a call from an officer three days later. The caller didn't leave his name or phone number.
"He told me the 84th precinct was handling it," Arthur recalls. "So I went there in person and they said, 'Actually, it's the 88th.' So then I called the 88th and they said it was the 84th. Finally I called Letitia James, and her office told me it was in fact the 88th. But there hasn't been any follow-up or any investigation. I don't think it's a priority to try and catch these people, but I'm more interested in the city doing some road improvement."
Have you had any crap chucked at you while biking? Share your moving target horror stories in the comments!