Williamsburg Cyclist Has Helmetcam Footage of Homicidal Hasidic School Bus Drivers

05/20/2011 11:28 AM |

The favored bus model among Hasidic schools.

  • The favored bus model among Hasidic schools.

Well this won’t do much to cool the summer South Williamburg bike wars: a Brooklyn cyclist with helmet-mounted camera recently took to the streets for first-hand footage (after da jump) of alleged Hasidic-hipster aggression. What he found wasn’t exactly the street-fighting, bike-trapping reported elsewhere, but it’s worrisome nonetheless.

The cyclist who shot this footage, who told Gothamist, “”I bicycle through Williamsburg every morning with a camera mounted on my helmet,” has his closest call when an apparently stopped school bus roars into action and seemingly deliberately cuts him. After some window-banging and exchanged words, the driver apologizes for attempting to kill the cyclist, and everyone agrees to share the road and be nice—until the cyclist comes across another school bus.

Anecdotally, avoiding the Hasidic school buses has long been my way of justifying getting to work late. Ride through South Williamsburg at 10:15am on a weekday and it’s calm cruising, but anytime before ten one’s bound to come across at least one (likely many, many more) such bus swerving and stopping diagonally on Kent or Wythe avenues. For all their wide-swinging turns and sudden accelerations, though, my interactions with the bus drivers have always been civil if not downright courteous. That said, my commute doesn’t involve riding along BQE-adjacent death trap Williamsburg Street, as the video-making rider’s does, apparently.


5 Comment

  • No sympathy. When you’re on a crowded street that doesn’t have a bike lane, you ride with traffic, i.e., in front of the vehicle behind you, and behind the vehicle in front of you. There’s nothing that gives cyclists the right to skirt around slow vehicles. And who tries to pass a slowing bus on the curb side? Are you trying to get squeezed as it drops someone off? That’s what buses do.

  • Should this cyclist give out all the other stuff that he is hiding, (example red light passing, running wild between pedestrians etc.)

  • How about some footage of cyclists knocking down kids leaving their buses? As a school administrator I’ve gotten many such phone calls from parents, and have witnessed many close calls, I do not condone drivers recklessness, but It’s unfair to present just one side.

  • I used to ride through williamsburg every day, with an understanding of how dangerous these guys are. At first I thought they were just kind of being stupid, but then i realized it’s malicious. I once approached hacid driving some sort of ice cream truck style van, that was playing music out loud. It was on driggs, I was in a bike lane. While moving, the truck actually moved into the bike lane, basically blocking me from getting by or passing him. He had no reason to move over, and it was very dangerous for me. I had to slam my brakes.

    RE: Will’s comment. I’m sorry that you don’t have sympathy for an environmentally safe person riding their bike who is not only at a huge disadvantage on the road, but can easily get KILLED by a car. There is no contest in these “bike wars”. The bikes lose, bottom line. No matter what. I understand that riding smart and according to the law is important. But no matter what, cyclists will get around slower, more dangerously, and more vulnerable to the weather. And if there is a collision, would you have more sympathy for the driver? The driver will not be hurt. I think the author just wants a little friendly courtesy on the road. It’s also ILLEGAL to open bus doors without a stop sign or lights.

    Also, to will’s comment. it’s not realistic to expect cyclists to ride behind a vehicle, in traffic. It doesn’t happen. PERIOD. The honking would be out of control. Drivers would not tolerate it. Bikes are too slow; this is obvious.. Have you ever actually seen anyone ride that way?

  • i live in south williamsburg and see, every single day, how disrespectful and out of control these bus drivers are. and i don’t even ride a bike. most of them have installed air horns and honk them incessantly in quiet neighborhoods really early in the morning. they could care less about the safety and well being of anyone else on the road.