WATCH: Cyclist Chased, Threatened By Angry Driver After Knocking Over Loading Zone Cone
[UPDATE, 1 p.m., January 27th]: Cameron Kline, spokesman for Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, says that after the cyclist inquired about pressing charges, the police contacted the D.A. “In terms of the evidence available, we decided at that point that we weren’t going to charge,” Kline said. The driver of the minivan, says Kline, faced potential charges of simple assault and harassment.
After first being turned down by the D.A., the cyclist said that he attempted to press misdemeanor charges against the driver himself, but was again refused. Kline acknowledged that the D.A.’s office decided against pursuing the case a second time. The cyclist finally appealed the D.A.’s review of the complaint to Judge Marsha Neifield, who ruled in favor of the District Attorney.
[ORIGINAL]: By now, you’re all aware of the Philly Police’s #NoSavesies movement, but what happens when people get territorial over a loading zone?
The video below, which was made public yesterday but filmed about nine months ago, shows what a cyclist says is him intentionally knocking over a traffic cone in front of the Monti-Rago Funeral Home on South Broad Street, and that the cone was one of several being used to save a spot in a 20-minute loading zone. The video had more than 89,000 views at the time of writing.
The cyclist, who asked only to be identified by his YouTube username cheekflapperer said via email that he did not kick the cone out of spite or to help enforce the PPA’s rules. “I only really did anything when the cones were a little too close for comfort to where I ride,” he said. The video’s description notes that the cones would sometimes force him out into traffic.
After he kicked the cone over, a black minivan flies past the cyclist and apparently tries to cut him off. The driver then engages in a heated argument, yelling “You like kicking cones over?” and “Try it again and I’ll take your fucking eyes out.”
The cyclist says he frequently observes funeral homes using these techniques, and that he only intervenes when he feels the cones are too close to his biking path.
Here’s the thing: the Philadelphia Parking Authority could not be more clear on this issue. The loading zone application explains that “all loading zones may be used by the general public,” and that even though a business pays for the maintenance of the zone, it does not make it the owner.
More importantly, though, the PPA is explicit about the use of cones to occupy loading zones. “Such behavior that could result in removal of the zone includes… putting traffic cones in the loading zone, using the zone as your own personal parking spot, telling citizens they are not allowed to park in the zone, etc.”
Martin O’Rourke, a spokesman for the PPA, said that this kind of complaint against a business abusing its loading zone is not common. “From the PPA’s standpoint this type of complaint is rare, but the ‘cone’ question is probably an issue for the PPD since it did not appear that any vehicles were parked in the loading zone.”
Regardless of the rules, the driver of the minivan was clearly not too happy with the loading zone being invaded, and the fiery argument ensued. “It was the first time I had any confrontation with any funeral homes,” the cyclist said. “That said, cutting me off twice, with the second time almost forcing me into traffic on the other lane was beyond what I consider justified.”
The cyclist says he then went to the police to see what charges could be filed, and that he preferred pursuing misdemeanor charges even though he was told a felony charge was possible. “The next day, however, I got a call from the detective that the D.A. refused to press the case,” the cyclist said. A spokesman for the D.A. could not confirm that the cyclist’s case was refused, but that they were “walking it backward” to find out what happened.
“That’s part of the reason why I just made this public, I’m pretty much done with the legal route,” the cyclist said. “I figure maybe someone Googling the business will see this and make another funeral home choice.”
A call to the funeral home for comment was not returned.
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