Amy DeGise and the Biker

You better watch out for bikes.

This really has become pretty useful advice for anyone driving these days just about anywhere, but certainly in any major city.

And much to her chagrin, that’s something Amy DeGise learned last week. DeGise, a Jersey City councilwoman and former Hudson County Democratic chair, was driving in her hometown on July 19 when her vehicle crashed into a bicyclist who appeared to have run a red light. The biker didn’t seem to be seriously injured judging from videos of the incident taken by city street cameras.

The video, however, showed something more damning. DeGise (pictured above, photo by Al Sullivan) did not stop. Despite hitting the biker, her vehicle kept moving, the video showed.

Although she did eventually report the accident to police, the ramifications of DeGise not stopping – both legal and political – are still developing.

Putting politics and the related issues aside for a moment, it’s necessary to talk a bit about bikers on city streets.

Encouraging biking by planning and constructing bike lanes is very common these days. There are justifiable reasons for this. Biking is good exercise and it can take vehicles off the roads, theoretically reducing congestion and pollution.

At the same time, it’s reasonable to expect, if not demand, that those who bike do so responsibly.

For myself, and I am sure others, who ordinarily drive in cities it’s become common to see bikers paying no attention to red lights or stop signs. Nor is it uncommon to see bikers riding the wrong way on one-way streets.

In the incident at hand, videos from two different angles show a red light and what you’d expect to see at a red light – cars stopped and a pedestrian crossing the street.

A bike then appears alongside the stopped cars and rides straight into the intersection where it is struck broadside by the vehicle reportedly driven by DeGise.

So far, it’s been DeGise’s failure to stop that has generated the most buzz.

Two of her fellow council members want her to resign. One of them, James Solomon, says he was “horrified” by the video. Two local Jersey City groups dedicated to safe streets and bike safety also want her to go.

There’s more.  A Change.org petition calling on DeGise to resign has quickly popped up.

Besides being a councilwoman and a former chair of the Hudson County Democrats, Amy DeGise is the daughter of Tom DeGise, the county executive. Clearly, this is a woman with some political juice. But it’s questionable if she’ll be able to survive the growing pressure against her.

She should not have left the scene of an accident. No question about it.

But bike riders should obey the rules of the road and not run red lights. There are two parts to this story.

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27 responses to “Amy DeGise and the Biker”

  1. This is waiting to happen here where I live in Newark. As I have expected, the cyclist its at fault and the driver is talking the heat.
    She should not have left the scene, but I would like to know why she left. I have not seen the video which might offer nuance.
    The problem in Newark is compounded by battery powered bikes, battery powered scooters, ATVs, dirt bikes (motorcycles) and Vespa style scooters, battery and gasoline powered. All of these things operate on the streets and sidewalks. Taking a walk is to put one’s life in danger
    The Newark police seem impotent to enforce basic traffic laws.
    One of these days, a pedestrian is going to get hurt or killed and the lawsuits will be coming.

  2. Whether a bicyclist or pedestrian is observing signage & traffic signals or not, I don’t think that absolves the driver of a motor vehicle from not “being in control of the vehicle,” in order to avoid hitting them. Leaving the scene is a whole other thing; definitely wrong. JMHO

  3. Should she lose her job because she couldn’t make it to work after getting arrested because she was running late to work?

  4. She should not have left the scene of an accident. No question about it.

    But bike riders should obey the rules of the road and not run red lights. There are two parts to this story

    So if she hit a child crossing on red light your response would be “but pedestrians should obey the rules of the road. There are two parts to this story”. When you possibly kill someone in your 3000 pound metal box. If you’re human, you stop. But sure let’s equate this to a basic traffic violation that hs never hurt anyone

  5. Bikers do have a responsibility to obey traffic laws. But the bigger problem is how do you not stop to see if the person you hit is okay. Councilwoman or not how do you not see a moral responsibility. Politics aside, if you can’t make a simple decision like that how can you speak for the people you represent?

  6. What a great hit piece!
    Maybe include a link to the video, so we can see what actually happened?
    And the universal “blame the cyclist” card just doesn’t make any sense.
    This is an editorial? No it’s just a hit on everything mentioned in it.

  7. I agree Deguse should resign she is in the wrong for not stopping, but the biker cannot be let off Scott free because he ran the red light he could have hit a pedestrian instead of the car. He was in the wrong also.

  8. “But bike riders should obey the rules of the road and not run red lights.” So she had every right to run him down, after he was already on his way out of the intersection. Obviously, speeding (25mph?) and possibly distracted. Then, knowing full well the consequences, left the scene of the accident, she caused, without regard to the person she hit. The cyclist, other than as a victims, should not be referenced.

  9. The only reason I can think of someone not stopping is they’re under the influence. It doesn’t matter who was at fault – if you hit someone with your vehicle you stop and make sure they’re OK and call for help. She needs to be charged.

  10. Bikes running lights e-bikes and scooters running on sidewalks and into the intersection are very common.Driving around this city can be a challenge. Then if you’re involved in a minor accident in certain parts of this city you may be beat up or worse.look at the history of the past few years. I don’t know why this driver didn’t stop but chose to report the accident later but I can imagine!

  11. This assessment of the context of the article is false. While she should have stopped immediately, the biker is 100% at fault for the actual accident. In fact when I initially read the article, the bikers attitude about getting hit suggested he had the right of way. Glad I searched for other articles.

  12. There’s definitely another part to this story. Choosing to drive a car over utilising other forms of transport has enormous social, environmental and health repercussions . We have a situation here that should never have happened, because we simply shouldn’t have such an over reliance on cars. Focusing on the fact that one individual either made mistake or did the wrong thing obscures the fact that cars are the problem, not just in this case but in the destruction of the environment,
    a reduction of the safety and health of our community members and their enjoyment of their cities.

  13. How the heck would you only reference them as a victim? A victim of their own stupidity? By not telling people that he ran the red, you make it sound worse than it is for Amy. These are 2 different infractions. The cyclist clearly ran the red and paid the price. Amy DeGise clearly committed a hit and run.

  14. Regardless if the bicycle ran a red light, as a motorist you do not hit and run from a accident, leaving someone hurt and possible being hit by other traffic, this accident speaks volumes of her character

  15. It’s pretty clear how DeGise feels about the welfare of Jersey City citizens. She could have been heroic, but she ran. The end. That’s all there is to say.

  16. Two wrong things happened here. From the biker’s perspective, he ran a red light and got hit doing so. After watching closely, there was only a small fraction of a second from the point that he entered the intersection until she hit him. I don’t think there is a driver in the world with that kind of reaction time. This man chose a poor time to run a red light. From the driver’s perspective, however, we see a woman simply driving through an intersection as she should have–her light was green. Then she hits the biker, without slowing, indicating that she did not in fact see him at all, at least not until it was too late to slow down. Finally, she drove off, which was illegal, immoral, and unethical. Did the biker deserve to get hit? For running a red light, arguably, yes–if you choose to be on the street, you’d better know and follow the rules; and who hasn’t been told to look both ways before crossing a street? The man is responsible for running a red light and getting hit–therefore is not a victim (and consequently should pay all damages). Should she resign over her terrible lapse in judgment by leaving him injured in the street? Maybe. What would’ve happened if she had called an ambulance and stayed? Not much, practically speaking. The article says the biker only had minor injuries. On the other hand, she is an elected official, a chairwoman, whose job is to advocate for the Hudson community. If that same community has lost faith in her, then her job could be very difficult for her to do now. I suppose time will tell the rest of the story.

  17. To know is she a democrat or a republican also will she be charged with a hit and run and have to pay restitution will she lose her driving privileges will her insurance go up will she get off scot-free like most politicians seem to let’s prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law this is an obvious hit and run and no one is above the law I don’t give a damn what political party You belong to

  18. Toxicology results aren’t admissible in court after a certain amount of time after an incident.

  19. Right, wrong, things being what they are, that looked like a pretty hard hit to us, and perhaps it shines a momentary light on the character of the the driver not to stop.

  20. Amy de Gise should not be criticized, because she behaved in a typical Democrat fashion: a goon.
    What would any Democrat have done in her place? Exactly the same thing!
    All Democrats are criminals and all criminals are Democrats.
    The rider had luck that he was not killed and does not look seriously hurted.

  21. Totally agree with Chuck. In some states (California) this woman could be charged with a felony and the fact that she received nothing other than a citation is crazy!

  22. The biker cause the accident by running the red light. She then committed a crime by fleeing the scene because she’s an entitled politician with more power than morals. Neither of these two miscreants has any respect for the rule of law and I hope they will both learn something from this incident.

  23. No there really is not 2 sides of the story your just saying that because she is a scumbag politician. She committed a hit and run and could not of cared less which to me is a sign of a Psychopath and she should be dealt with like anyone else.

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