SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A group of motorcyclists took over a major roadway in San Jose over the weekend, popping wheelies, knocking on car windows, and stopping oncoming traffic in an incident caught on camera.
For Janet Smith and her husband, it wasn’t a typical Sunday drive on Almaden Expressway. “A motorcycle passed us, and then another one, and another and another,” said Smith. “My husband said there were between 30 and 50.”
She said they seemed to swarm around everywhere doing stunts and wheelies, and even knocked on their car window.
“And he rolled his window down – which I wouldn’t have done – and they said you’re in our way,” said Smith. “He said ‘I was here first!’ I don’t know where they wanted us to go. They were in front of us, they were to the side of us, they were behind us.”
She recorded the encounter on cell phone video, all the while fearing that someone was going to get hurt.
No one did, but, “It was scary for a couple of old people,” said Smith. “It was scary not knowing what to do, not having come upon it before.”
The motorcycle stunt riders are usually more interested in showing off to their friends and YouTube followers than anything else. And the dangers that they pose are mostly to themselves. But their antics can trigger road rage and other emotions in drivers.
Four years ago, bikers in New York City surrounded a Range Rover, which stopped in the road. The terrified driver then plowed through several bikers, injuring a rider. The bikers chased down the driver, took him out and beat him.
Smith said that incident flashed through her mind. “Absolutely, that was exactly what I was thinking because you just don’t know,” she said.
California Highway Patrol Officer Ross Lee says reports of similar biker incidents have been on the increase.
“What should people do in that situation? The first thing to do is call 911,” said Lee.
Lee added drivers should never speed or try to outrun the bikes but call in license plates or descriptions of the motorcycles or the riders’ helmets.
“It’s easier to report that in to us while it’s happening than to try and remember later,” said Lee.
Stunt riding is illegal and dangerous, said Lee. And while officers can’t arrest the whole mob, they can get a few which can lead to other arrests.