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Cycle of abuse: Biker allegedly pepper-sprays senior driver, 72, on Avenue A

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Say it — don’t spray it.

Police are looking for a pedaling punk who allegedly pepper-sprayed a senior driver in the face in the East Village.

According to cops, on Wed., May 1, around 5:30 p.m., a 72-year-old man was driving a car on Avenue A near Ninth Street but a cyclist felt the motorist was too close to the bike lane, sparking a verbal dispute.

The not-very-easy rider then swung around to the driver’s-side window and blasted the older man with some sort of noxious spray — possibly pepper spray — before he biked off northbound on Avenue A.

With a face full of the stinging mystery substance, the victim pulled over to the side of the road, where he was treated by E.M.S. medics.

Police described the cyclist as around age 35, with a thin build, wearing a white bike helmet, brown pants and a backpack and riding a dark-colored bike.

The cyclist is wanted for assault. A police spokesperson said the charge would likely be assault in the second degree since attacks on elderly persons and children carry stiffer penalties.

Police ask that anyone with information call the N.Y.P.D.’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site at or on Twitter at @NYPDTips. All tips are strictly confidential.


  1. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg May 10, 2024

    I don’t support this kind of vigilante justice, and disabling a motorist behind the wheel is obviously reckless. That said, it is certainly plausible that the motorist was too close to the bike lane. I wish there was as much outrage over the regularly deadly bad behavior by motorists in NYC as there is over man-bites-dog incidents like this.

    • redbike redbike May 10, 2024

      I write this as someone who frequently rides a bicycle — as I know you do, too.

      What concerns me most about this story: that the person riding the bicycle had — in the past — encountered motorists utterly oblivious to vulnerable road users with frequency sufficient to be provoked to equip himself with “…some sort of noxious spray.” The person riding the bicycle anticipated this … and equipped himself to respond.

      A parallel that comes to mind: Bernhard Goetz.

      Justifiable? No. Absolutely NO.

      But I’ve had enough close encounters with oblivious motorists such that while I condemn the bicyclist’s response … I understand it.

      • MSA MSA May 12, 2024

        As a pedestrian my experience is that bicyclists are most dangerous to pedestrians, and bicyclists are unconcerned with pedestrians.

        Bicyclists — especially regular bicyclists, Citibike — routinely go through red lights, go the wrong way, ignore bike lanes. And regular bicyclists won’t hesitate to curse pedestrians who object.

        As a pedestrian, things have gotten worse.
        As a bus rider, I’m really upset by the City’s prioritizing bike lanes while MTA bus service gets worse.

  2. Isabella Isabella May 8, 2024

    When this guy is found, and I hope he is, he should be held without bail. The arrogance and lawlessness has got to stop! Assaulting a Senior is an inexcusable disgrace. I believe it is a felony. Hopefully the victim will be ok. The biker mayhem has got to stop!

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