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Posted on Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 7:55 p.m.

Ypsilanti man reports being assaulted after skirting bikers' blockade

By Ronald Ahrens

A driver who tried to slip through an Ypsilanti intersection being blocked to allow about 75 motorcyclists to pass through says he was punched in the nose by a member of the group this afternoon.

Ypsilanti Police Lt. Craig Annas confirmed the incident and said an investigation is ongoing.

Bill Riney, a 56-year-old Ypsilanti resident, said he suffered a facial injury during the incident, which occurred around 3:15 p.m. 

“I bled quite a bit for an hour or so,” he said later in the afternoon.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Forest Avenue and River Street as the motorcycle group traveled to Highland Cemetery to memorialize fallen bikers. Riney said he attempted to go through the blockade, but the motorcyclists stopped him, and at least one punched him through the window.

He said the attack occurred until other waiting motorists got out of their vehicles.

After police were called to the scene, Riney got in a patrol car and was driven past the bikers in the cemetery, but he was unable to identify the attacker, Annas said. As required by law, several of the bikers informed police they had permits to carry concealed weapons.

Riney said he had been returning home after distributing free hot dogs and pop to children in a Superior Township neighborhood when the incident occurred.

Ronald Ahrens is a freelance writer for



Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 9:03 a.m.

Did Riney get permission from the parents of the children to whom he was distributing the hot dogs and pop? This guy seems to take a great deal of liberty with his actions. Was he really in that much of a hurry to get to his next food distribution stop, that he couldn't wait a few minutes for the passage of the motorcycle group? It doesn't make the punch in the face right, but a little civility on both parts would have circumvented the whole confrontation.

Mr. Big Donut

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 8:25 a.m.

A few years back, A group of approx 75 bikers did the same thing to me in superior township (blocking the road, not the assualt). I agree, the police need to put a stop to this. If they dont have a permit/police escort/flags what gives them the right to interfere with traffic? The "memorial/good cause" aspect is simply an excuse to go out and act like they run the roads. Mr Ahrens, maybe you could detail whether this is illegal or do they have the right?, although the assualt shows the quality of character of the bikers.


Wed, Sep 30, 2009 : 5:57 p.m.

Did he ever think to say "excuse me?"


Wed, Sep 30, 2009 : 4:57 p.m.

Again, two wrongs don't make a right. And to think both parties are presumably still actively in the gene pool.


Wed, Sep 30, 2009 : 4:40 p.m.

Aha, just got more eyewitness news from the incident.That driver captured the police attention by running down several mailboxes turning his hotdog wagon around! Then he called the officer a racial slur? And they think bikers are bsd mannered?


Wed, Sep 30, 2009 : 11:12 a.m.

The fact of the matter is that there is no law on the books for right of ways for a memorial run, poker run or bringing some donated money run. i know most of the people who ride are stand up people and do a lot of good for the community. You also forgot to mention the bikers that have kept those woerd religous people from interupting the grave side funerals of soldiers killed at war. That is to be highly commended for sure. That being said, a run is not a processional and does not give an individual the right to disobey a traffice signal/device. Perhaps, those that make it through the light can pull off and wait for the others that didn't like the rest of the world does when someone is following them somewhere.


Wed, Sep 30, 2009 : 10:22 a.m.

I'll tell you what, don't be in such a hurry, wait for the traffic like you should do. If it's really that awful waiting,pick up your cell phone you're always on anyway (and NOT watching traffic) and talk or text, at least you're not driving.


Tue, Sep 29, 2009 : 8:19 p.m.

The bikers seem to be getting the raw end of things here. Some one is talking about the group of bikes that they were blocked by a few weeks ago. Was it the same week of Relay For Life in your town. Those so called "outlaw bikers" just finished a benefit breakfast for The Relay and were on there way to donate that money and money out of there own pockets to help your community. Or what about the bikers that hold a Christmas party for the children of Milan every year. These so called "outlaw bikers" are the men and women that support your town. Yes hitting a man may not have been called for but, if he would have hit one of the "bikers" he would be in jail. What about the American legion bikers or the Amvets bikers. These are groups that ride in packs the same way your so called "outlaw bikers" do. These clubs are doing the same thing. They ride to keep the memory all there fallen brothers alive just as the bikers do. My husband is a biker and him and his brothers would be the first person to lend someone a hand or give you the shirt off his back. It really sucks that you as a group are stereo typing these men without knowing them or possibly there side of the story. Your so called "outlaw bikers" may be the person who you sat next to church or that person in line at the grocery store who let you go ahead of them because you had only a few items.

Patrick Haggood

Tue, Sep 29, 2009 : 6:26 a.m.

Hmm, if a blind guy tried to drive in front of my motorcycle... no, I don't think punching the sightless driver is the correct response; tho I would suggest to him maybe he should take the bus.


Tue, Sep 29, 2009 : 6:26 a.m.

My point exactly Bunny, it was a "memorial run". Nothing in the books gives them the right away, nor does it require Mr. Riney to yield on a green light in his favor. The bikers who ran the red light were breaking the law just like anyone else running a red light.


Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 11:26 p.m.

it doesn't say this was a funeral procession, it says they were going to memoralize fallen bikers. which makes it seem as though it was just a gathering at the cemetary before going to a picnic (or whatever) a funeral procession would have had little orange funeral flags. WOuld they have punched a blind guy with a cane crossing the street or blocked him to make him wait?


Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 2:21 p.m.

Kathy, I'd like to respectfully ask, How is a driver supposed to know all this? If I came upon such a sight, I wouldn't have a clue what was going on or what was expected of me. It just seems to me like there are better ways to honor the memory of someone who died than to monopolize the public roads, creating a hazard for those who are not privy to the code of bikers.


Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 2:21 p.m.

I guess Im still trying to figure out how a "run" is equivalent to a processional Michigan Compiled Laws Section 257.654 Vehicles forming part of funeral procession; right-of-way; flags; passing through funeral procession with vehicle as civil infraction. Sec. 654. (1) A motor vehicle forming part of a funeral procession, when going to a place of burial, shallhave the right of way over all other vehicles except fire apparatus, ambulances, and police patrol vehicles at a street or highway intersection within this state if the vehicle in the funeral procession displays a flag whichshall be fluorescent orange in color, and upon which shall be printed, stamped, or stained a black cross, thestar of David, or the crescent and star. The lead vehicle and the last vehicle in the funeral procession maycarry an additional flag. The flags shall not contain a name embossed or printed on the flag, except the word funeral. (2) A person passing through a funeral procession of motor vehicles, designated pursuant to subsection (1), with a vehicle of any kind, is responsible for a civil infraction.


Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 1:25 p.m.

As a person who sometimes rides with the memorial run you really haven't experienced fear until you've been cut off by some idiot in a hurry trying to divid the pack. They ride together for a reason, easier to notice many bikes than a few trying to ride together here and there. The memorial run is only twice a year, in the spring and fall, it's not like it's every weekend.Also, when riding through some towns people stop out of courtesy, they know what the run is about. I don't know who this man is but I'm sure if it was one of his loved ones and people gathered twice a year in rememberance he would think twice about trying to plow through them as I've heard he was trying to do.


Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 1:16 p.m.

Why wern't these people at home watching the Michigan game?

Charley Sullivan

Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 11:52 a.m.

Did the bikers forget how to use their words first? Don't care what the man did, punching him in the face is unacceptable. This happened down the street from my house, and if you're coming into my neighborhood with the thought you can just hit people, frankly, you're not welcome.


Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 11:08 a.m.

Not saying two wrongs make a right, but I know on my Husband's Roadking, most car traffic could care less to our presence. Constantly and continually pulled out in front off, completely ignorant to the 5 lights on the front of the bike. Actually had one guy who kept yelling SORRY but kept comming when he did not have the right of way. I WANTED to punch him in the face or kick his back window out with my boot, thankfully my Husband is a good operator, had time to straigten out bike and stand completely up, otherwise we would have been smashed by a driver who was "sorry".


Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 9:46 a.m.

Commenting on the arrogance of the individuals involved is a personal attack? This article and the story can be summed up like this. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Jim Knight

Mon, Sep 28, 2009 : 9:11 a.m.

A comment was removed because of a personal attack.


Sun, Sep 27, 2009 : 8:54 p.m.

First off, funeral processions are a relic of the past and need to be abolished. In modern times. They are more than a nuisance, they're a hazard. Mourners should meet up at the final resting place of the deceased, on their own, not in a pack, running red lights. It's just crazy. Google funeral procession and you'll find plenty of accidents, some fatal, that have happened. As to this particular incident, where do these bikers get off forcing people to bow down to their ilk? You want to honor your fallen bikers, do it at the cemetery. You have no special right to hold up traffic for this kind of crap. Missing from this report: Did these bikers have permission to hold up traffic? Or do they just get to put up a blockade and hold up traffic, forcing others to pay heed to them any 'ol time they please?


Sun, Sep 27, 2009 : 5:42 p.m.

Well, hear we have a man who moves a barricade,drives into a good butt whipping,and now he cries to the police about it? He should have taken an alternate route! That wouldve been a smarter move!

Sandy Castle

Sun, Sep 27, 2009 : 2:52 p.m.

If this wasn't a funeral procession then how do they have a right to close down instersections? Did they have a permit from the city allowing it, or were they just doing it illegally? I don't know this Riney fellow, but it seems that he may have been in the right and you all are using this as a forum to bash him.


Sun, Sep 27, 2009 : 12:08 p.m.

Maybe he drove a Honda


Sun, Sep 27, 2009 : 10:53 a.m.

Outlaw bikers just about sums it up. They think, when they run in a pack, they are above the law. It was not a funeral procession and they didn't have the right of way. I've seen at least two hundred making a run down I94 where they also had road guards posted at the entrance ramps to prohibit motorists from entering the highway. This isn't right. It takes a long time for a strung out (could be a pun here) bunch of bikers to clear the area. Where are the cops to go after this deliberate obstruction of traffic?


Sun, Sep 27, 2009 : 10:46 a.m.

Bikers are no different than the rest of the world except they honor there brothers and show respect if shown respect. What was MR. Rineys' hurry to not show respect to the "bikers"? He was disrespectful and therefore was shown disrespect! Selective respect? Prejudice? I for one say he deserved what he got, DO NOT DISRESPECT THE BIKERS OR ANYONE ELSE. hE PROBABLY DOES NOT STOP FOR FUNERAL PROCESSIONS EITHER!

Basic Bob

Sun, Sep 27, 2009 : 9:55 a.m.

Riney must be aware of Highland Cemetery, as well as alternate routes through the neighborhood. The punch in the nose ought to teach him something about respect, but instead he called the police. He should publicly apologize for his rudeness.

Tony Dearing

Sun, Sep 27, 2009 : 8:51 a.m.

Here's some background on the tree incident that ladydl refers to:


Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 11:59 p.m.

You are all fools. It is not just Bill. Recently I was at the corner of Stoney Creek and Willis when a motorcycle run came through. It took nearly 5 minutes for the 200+ cycles to pass the intersection. All the while 2 "scouts" if you will from the run blocked the intersection so no traffic could have passed. If I had been first in line, I to would have gone through the intersection. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about it; and the right way is to get a Deputy or a permit to make your run. If you read the article Racin, he didn't cut a funeral.


Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 11:32 p.m.

This Guy is a fool!! I have never heard a story were I was glad to hear that people are still out there that will sock a guy in the mouth when they are totally in the wrong!! I ride and my family owns the local Ann arbor Harley and people have no respect for riders! Let this show you a guy being a supposed great citizen, handing out free ground up who knows what. Did he have a permit to give those hot dogs out? Did he have all health regulations upheld as he handed out those free dogs? To get back to the point he cut threw a FUNERAL>>>> HAVE YOU NO RESPECT YOU FOOL?? TO THE GUY THAT PUNCHED HIM >>>>YOUR THE LAST OF A DYING BREED BROTHER BUT STAND TALL!! I hope this can serve as a wake-up call don't be dumb and disrespectful or you might catch a stiff right to the head and bleed for an hour like this fool.

needed perspective

Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 9:20 p.m.

I wish I had read the whole story before that last comment!!! I remember, being with my late mother, stopping and waiting for funeral prossesions to was a sign of respect and courtesy for the deceased and the mourners. Apparently Riney was not aware of his proximity to a cementary...and the fraternity of bikers, whos average age is 50??? Get a life, riney...these are your voters. it is time to could have just made a U turn if you didn't want to wait! NO vote HERE!

needed perspective

Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 9:06 p.m.

hot dogs are not all that healthy...and they are cheap!


Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 8:14 p.m.

This Riney character just keeps popping up. I almost can't wait to see what kind of mischief he will stumble into next. Stay tuned!


Sat, Sep 26, 2009 : 7:48 p.m.

Boy, Riney sure has a lot on his plate! First the tree incident, then driving around giving out free hot dogs, running for office and now punched in the face by some bikers. He gets my vote!