CHICAGO — A brawl broke out between a driver and two bicyclists after the driver tried to edge a biker out of a bike lane in Lincoln Square early Friday, witnesses told DNAinfo Chicago.
Part of the fight was filmed by bicyclist Luke Galvin, of Ravenswood, which was posted to The Chainlink. When he tried to intervene, the driver punched Galvin in the helmet and jaw, he said.
Galvin said he was riding his bike to work between 8 and 9 a.m. when he witnessed the fight. Everyone was stopped at a red light at Lawrence Avenue and Leavitt Street when Galvin noticed the driver of a green Mercedes trying to get ahead of traffic by going into the bike lane, he said.
The driver kept edging another bicyclist toward the curb, so the bicyclist started yelling at the driver to make him aware of his presence, Galvin said.
Galvin then yelled at the driver that there was a bike to the car's right, and the bicyclist thumped on the car, Galvin said.
The driver suddenly drove up about 100 yards, "screeched to a halt in front of an auto shop," jumped out of his car, ran out into the road where the bicyclist was and tried to punch him, Galvin said.
According to Galvin, the bicyclist swerved and the driver ended up hitting him in the back of the head.
The driver then ran back to his car and tried to get in while Galvin "fumbled" with his phone, trying to get a photo of the car's license plate, Galvin said. The bicyclist, wanting Galvin to get a photo, grabbed on to the driver's window and told him to stop, and the window shattered, Galvin said.
The driver got out of the car again and chased the bicyclist to the auto shop, Lincoln Square Service at 2201 W. Lawrence Ave., where he started "pummeling him," Galvin said.
Kelly Bauer details what witnesses say happened:
Galvin screamed at nearby mechanics to call police and, seeing the bicyclist "getting really belted," dropped his phone, jumped on the driver and tried to restrain him, he said. The driver tried to hit Galvin, but Galvin ducked and the driver punched his helmet, he said. At one point, the driver "ripped off" the bicyclist's helmet, Galvin said.
The driver then ran back to his car and drove off, Galvin said.
The bicyclist had a bleeding hand and had a bruise on the side of his head, but Galvin said most of the driver's punches landed on the bicyclist's helmet before the driver took it off. Galvin said he was hit in the jaw but he's OK.
"I'm no worse for the wear," he said. "I mean, I think other than the bizarreness of the situation, we're both pretty fortunately fine."
Victor Rodriguez, who works at Lincoln Square Service, said he saw the driver screaming at the bicyclist and saw the ensuing fight. Rodriguez said he heard a conversation between police and witnesses, and said he understood the driver tried to get into the bike lane and cornered the bicyclist, who hit the window to let the driver know he was there.
Galvin said he talked to police gave them the driver's license plate information; a Chicago Police spokeswoman said she did not immediately have any information when contacted Friday afternoon.
"Lawrence is always risky," Galvin said. "There's a bike lane there, though. When there's a bike lane you feel pretty secure. I guess too much so today."
Galvin said Lawrence is "risky" because it's a busy street and cars "jockey for positions."
"It's always the cars that are trying to utilize the bike lane, not as a turn lane, but as a way to get ahead of the queue and cut everyone else off. That's when the danger is," Galvin said. "I really hope that they catch the guy."
He added, "That sort of bizarre anger on a beautiful Friday morning is sort of surreal."
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