NYPD officers in Chelsea had one question for a cyclist who had just been doored and was lying injured and unresponsive on the pavement: "Sir, were you in the bike lane?"
The brutal footage was captured on Monday afternoon by a cyclist who works in the neighborhood. A Domino's delivery worker is seen pedaling west in the bike lane on West 21st Street. The delivery cyclist then leaves the bike lane, and is struck by a driver opening the door of his van.
This clip shows the moment the cyclist is doored. Warning: the footage is graphic.
Bystanders and the cyclist who took the footage called 911, and minutes later EMTs and the NYPD show up.
"Was he getting off right here?" one NYPD officer asked the cyclist who took the footage. "Because there's a bike lane here, so technically you're supposed to ride in the bike lane."
Another officer stands over the injured cyclist. "Sir, were you in the bike lane?" they ask.
The injured cyclist does not appear to move.
"OK, we have to give him a summons for not driving in the bike lane," the officer says.
"He was nonresponsive to our many attempts to revive him, his eyes were closed," said the cyclist who took the video. "When the paramedics came he was more responsive, but still sluggish—slurred speech." They added that while they saw the police officers writing something down, it wasn't clear if it was a summons.
A person answering the phone at the Domino's Pizza on West 23rd Street two blocks away confirmed that the injured delivery cyclist worked there, but could not comment on their condition.
City and state law requires cyclists to use bike lanes, but there are lots of exceptions: if they are obstructed or filled with danger, or if a cyclist has to turn, leaving the bike lane is perfectly legal.
"Guys don't fucking look when they open the door," one cyclist says, while the driver and bystanders wait for an ambulance, according to another video captured at the scene.
"You don't ride in the bike lane either," the driver retorts.
A scan of the license plate of the van shows eight separate violations, including running a red light.
Two of the 28 cyclists killed on New York City streets this year—nearly three times the number of cyclists who died in 2018—were killed after drivers opened their door on them.
In July, Em Samolewicz was riding her bike in Sunset Park when police say she was forced into traffic by the open door of a parked van. Samolewicz was crushed to death by a truck driver.
On New Year's Day, Hugo Alexander Sinto Garcia, 26, was also biking on Third Avenue in Brooklyn when the driver of a taxi opened their door into him, knocking him into the road, where he was fatally struck was a driver.
None of the drivers in these cases were given citations. The NYPD does not keep track of how many cyclists are killed or injured by people who open car doors.
The NYPD's press office has not yet responded to our questions about this incident, but we'll update if they get back to us.
The cyclist who took the video said they have been riding in the city for ten years, and always have cameras mounted to their bike. "I don't feel safe without it," the cyclist said. "Drivers are more respectful when they know they're being recorded. I feel naked without it."
They summed up the situation this way: "The roads are too narrow, there's not enough bike lanes, and there's not enough education going on."