Last Friday, November 7th, famed cycling filmmaker Lucas Brunelle was attacked and deliberately rammed by a Boston cabbie. The driver, Sam Chandler, fled the scene after repeatedly punching and attempting to run over Brunelle, but was arrested a short time later. While the Boston Globe charactered the altercation as “bizarre”, this kind of violence is disturbingly common among taxi drivers.
In a tragic and highly publicized incident in Midtown, New York City in August, 2013, a cabbie lost control of his vehicle, jumped the curb, and hit a young woman, completely severing her left leg off. What was less publicized was the fact that the cabbie crashed after intentionally ramming a bike messenger. This was just days after another Midtown cab jumped a curb after running a red light, seriously injuring several pedestrians.
Insanely, there’s actual debate as to whether cabbies should face criminal penalties for maiming or killing people cycling and on foot, and it’s not just in car-crazy United States. In July of 2013, Ichhapal Bhamra drove his cab into 20 year old bicyclist Tom Ridgway, killing him and dragging his body for over 90 yards. Despite this lethal action, Bhamra’s only punishment was a £35 fine.
One would think professional drivers whose livelihoods depend on a clean record would be among the safest motorists out there. The idea of a commercial truck driver deliberately running down a cyclist is almost unimaginable – or a mail carrier ramming into pedestrians, it’s simply beyond the pale.
Partially concealing a black eye, Brunelle speaks to press after a hearing.