The faultless are few in that terrifying video of the confrontation between an SUV and a swarm of bikers on the West Side Highway in Manhattan. Thanks to the helmet camera of one of the bikers we can see all six horrific minutes.

At the 26-second mark, you can see one of the motorcyclists slow down in front of the black Range Rover. The SUV apparently hit the biker, which leads the swarm to surround the driver and his family. According to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the bikers use their helmets to dent the car and slash its tires. At the 50-second mark in the video, the driver runs over some of the bikers to get away.

I can only imagine the fear gripping that family. And folks act differently when they are thrust into emergency situations. But there were alternatives to barreling through a crowd of people and motorcycles. The driver had called 911 to report the erratic bikers. Another call to find the nearest precinct while blasting the hell out of my horn while inching forward comes to mind. Still, that’s easy for me to say from the safety of my keyboard.

That being said, the bikers, already wreaking havoc around the city as part of an unauthorized Hollywood Stuntz rally, are far from sympathetic characters. Not only did they chase down the driver of the Range Rover, but they also succeeded in catching up to him, breaking the driver-side window with their helmets, pulling him from the SUV and beating him in front of his wife and child. The NYPD is scouring the city to find the bikers involved and those perpetrators should be prosecuted.

But the whole thing could have been avoided if the people involved had made different choices. That biker was wrong for setting off frightening chain reaction by slowing down in front of the SUV. Who knows why the driver of the SUV opted to hit the biker, but the driver was wrong to treat the assembled riders and their bikes as mountain terrain. And everyone was wrong for not calling the cops and waiting on the scene for them to arrive. But I guess that’s too much to hope for or expect when one side of this sad tale was taking part in a reckless and illegal rally.

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