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How To: Escape a Motorcycle Ambush

Motorcycle attacks, like the one that occurred in New York on September 29, are becoming terrifyingly more common. Luckily, NYPD Highway Patrol Officer Anthony Flammia (Ret) has more than 15 years of experience when it comes to dealing with asshole drivers. Here are his tips for motorists who find themselves in a potential ambush situation.


Photo: Touchstone Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013 

Be Alert
“Drivers need to be ready for unwelcome surprises. Look for motorcycles slowing down traffic at the rear of the caravan group, usually in all three lanes. This is how they tend to slow traffic down and give themselves space to do stunts like wheelies, abrupt braking tactics to demonstrate their riding ability, or really anything to show off. So stay aware of the traffic in the lanes around you.”

Exit ASAP
“Instead of getting aggressive and trying to move past the bikes you should simply exit the highway as soon as possible to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. I’ve seen situations where motorists attempt to just around these people but sometimes motorcyclists take it as a threat and the situation escalates.”

Go Ahead and Use Your Cell Phone
“If you fear for your safety call 911 or activate OnStar navigation if your car is equipped with it to give your location. Make sure to know your location at all times and be able to articulate your direction of travel when speaking with an operator. He or she will work to guide you over the phone but do your best to keep them updated with location while moving.”

Brace Yourself (And Others)
“Make sure your doors are locked, headlights are on to attract attention and utilize your horn and flashers to attract additional attention to passing motorists. If you’re actually stopped on the highway attempt to maneuver your vehicle away from the bikes.”

Floor It
“If presented with physical force attempt to accelerate from the area or floor it away from the scene and out of the area. In law enforcement we advise motorists to move forward and do what they have to do to get out of the situation. In New York, the driver was basically involved in a deadly encounter. He was surrounded. He had his wife and child in the car. If you look at the whole situation, it’s justified and you are legally allowed to use deadly physical force to protect yourself from being harmed.”

Get Out of There
“If you’re on a highway where a U-turn is available, seek that option to move in the opposite direction of the motorcycle gang. Attempt to drive to a populated area off of the highway to summon help and police assistance.”

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