New York City SUV Attack – The Heart of the Matter

Many of us have seen the graphic footage of Alexian Lien and his family’s SUV contending with a swarm of bikers on the highway and streets of New York City (For footage see link below). Some time has passed since the incident took place and both sides are beginning to speak up.

As they say, there are always two sides to the story, but more times than not, both sides are seldom equal in nature.

For instance, one of the bikers, Berger “Choppa” Matthews, said to FOX 5, “In the beginning it was a genuine accident. What he did, what the Range Rover did was an act of road rage.”

FOX 5 said that Matthews claims that they were “afraid that he would hit someone else, so they chased the SUV up one of New York City’s busiest highways. Matthews said that he was the person who ran up to the SUV and opened the door. Claiming that he was trying to pull out the keys so no one else could be hit.”

Really? This sounds like someone who got caught on camera and is attempting to find a way out. Why? Because no one in their right mind would pull their motorcycle in front of an enraged driver, run up to their door and attempt to grab the keys from the ignition.

Another rider who used his helmet to smash the SUV window said he was knocked off his bike (which was parked roughly 15 feet in front of the SUV). The rider said, “As he take off, he hit me and he just kept going. Once he hit me off my bike, I got angry and I chased after him.” The rider added, “Two minutes prior to that this guy almost took my life from me. And I’m the aggressor because I smashed the window. Payback for him hitting my bike. He hit me off my bike.”

Really? Bikers are gathering around the vehicle, you stop your bike in the middle of the highway and Berger Matthews runs up to the SUV, pulls open the door and you expect Lien to just sit there and do nothing? As soon as he stopped his bike on the highway in front of this vehicle, he was asking for trouble. Be real. You also sound like someone who got caught on camera, smashing someone’s window with a helmet, and looking for a way to justify your actions.

Lastly, we have the words of Gloria Allred, attorney for biker Edwin Mieses, Jr. (the biker who was run over by the SUV, shortly after Lien clipped Christopher Cruz’s back tire when Cruz deliberately slowed down in front of the SUV). Allred says in a press conference that Mieses was “an innocent victim trying to help the driver of the SUV when he was run over. Edwin Mieses is 32 years old. He is an accomplished and aspiring musician. He is a devoted father who takes care of his two children, ages 15 and 9. He has been living with the mother of his children for more than 16 years. They are a family and they look after one another. She has been at his side at the hospital ever since the tragic events last Sunday. Edwin, Jay is not the member of any gang. He loves to ride motorbikes and he came to New York City with his best friend to participate in a ride, nothing more. He did not know any of the other participants other than the friend that came with him. Most importantly Edwin is a human being and he has a heart. He had no malice or ill intentions toward Mr. Lien or his family whatsoever. “

The Boston Herald reports that, Mieses who lives in Lawrence, MA has “a six-page criminal record that began at age 12 with a negligent driving charge and includes jail time for drugs, guns, resisting arrest and other convictions, according to court records.” The Herald also said Mieses, “never got a driver’s license in the Bay State, the Registry of Motor Vehicles said, but he was frequently nabbed behind the wheel, and even sentenced to jail for driving without a license.” If that isn’t enough, he has “15 guilty findings for criminal offenses including distribution of cocaine, possession of a firearm without a permit, knowingly receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and several motor vehicle violations, court records show.”

FOX News said, “Allred refused to comment on the fact that Mieses hasn’t had a valid driver’s license or permit in the state of Massachusetts since 1999. She said it was irrelevant to the case because he wasn’t on his motorcycle when he was run over by the SUV.”

After reading Gloria Allred’s comments and comparing it to the Herald’s report, one wonders how she can stand in front of the media and share such comments with a straight face. Incredible!

Indeed there are two sides of the story. The problem is, only a fool would buy into what Matthews and the other biker are using as justification. They got caught on camera and some have been arrested. They are looking to justify their actions with unacceptable reasons.

In terms of Edwin Mieses, if you were respecting the law to start, you would not have been in New York City in the first place, but clearly this man has no respect for the law, and now his family and lawyer want to hold Alexian Lien accountable for hitting someone who was breaking the law simply by being there.

When push comes to shove, what is the heart of the matter?

New York State Senator Aadriano Espaillat hit the nail on the head when he said during a press conference, “I don’t see why you can have 500 motorcycles that are doing wheelies and are out of control, stopping traffic, totally stopping traffic on the highway or some streets and doing whatever they want.” Espaillat added, “I am concerned that this neighborhood has become, you know, the wild west of motorcycle driving.”

That is the heart of the matter. There should never be a large group of motorcyclists riding in pack in any town or city period–never mind a confined area like New York City. Taking part in pack riding down the streets and highways of New York is not asking for trouble, but creating trouble for those who must contend with it.

I have road bikes and enjoy it. I have friends and family who ride as well, but if they took part in an event like this and encountered issues, they would not find sympathy from me. Not because I’m against biking, but because pack riding not only overwhelms the roads, but more importantly drivers are not used to dealing with it, and this in turn can be an unsettling experience for many.

If driving amid a large pack of riders can be unsettling for many, having a biker slow his bike down to within inches of your vehicle as Christopher Cruz did, having numerous riders pulling up alongside you and stopping all around you on the highway, or having someone like Berger Matthews pulling open your door and lunging in, would unnerve most everyone, biker and non-biker alike.

Regardless of these biker’s backgrounds (police officers, EMT, FedEx…), if you place any one of them in Alexian Lien’s situation, they may have found it more than unsettling. Some may fool themselves into believing that they would have been fine with, or risen above everything going on around them, but when you don’t have a clue as to the intentions of those swarming around you, it isn’t difficult to understand why some may feel threatened and feel the need to protect their family.

It’s very sad and unfortunate that the situation turned out the way it did for both sides of the story, but pack riders would be wise to learn from the situation. Don’t assume that those driving around you feel comfortable with your presence—a pack of bikers is perceptually not viewed the same as a bunch of cars driving in close proximity to most drivers. If you do something out of the norm while on a highway, some people may become defense and lead to unintended consequences. In the end, hopefully some good comes from it.

Footage of the incident

Bikers speak out

Boston Herald’s findings on Edwin Mieses, Jr.

FOX News coverage of Gloria Allred’s press conference