An MTA cleaner says he was whopped over the head by a U-lock wielding bike rider on Wednesday morning — after asking the man to move his two-wheeler out of the path of the train doors.
“I was wearing my full uniform, I had just gotten off work,” MTA veteran Otis Caldeira, 55, told The Post hours after the cyclist — with whom he’d had a salty interaction at a previous stop — allegedly came out of nowhere to hit him on the southbound 4 train at Franklin Ave. station in Brooklyn.
“He took the U-lock. He had that in his hand and he struck me in the back of the head,” Caldeira said. “I’m angry that I couldn’t hit him back. You cannot fight — that’s Transit’s rules. Transit would rather you get knocked down than defend yourself.”
The incident occurred just before 7:40 a.m. at Franklin Avenue — but the two men first crossed paths at Borough Hall, where Caldeira asked his soon-to-be-attacker to move his bike so he count enter the train.
“He said there’s several other doors I could get into, so I slid by the bike,” Cadeira recounted. “He jumped up and cussed me in the face.”
Wanting to avoid further altercation, the uniformed MTA worker said he walked between railcars to the other end of the train. The cyclist starting filming, informing Caldeira that MTA bosses would find out he broke the rules by walking between trains, he recalled.
“He was cussing a lot about Transit,” Caldeira said. “I didn’t want to get in conflict with him and lose my job, you know? I entered 2 Broadway [MTA headquarters] before and I see a lot of guys sitting down there because they get in trouble with customers.”
Cops arrived at the scene at Franklin Avenue but the assailant was nowhere to be found, NYPD said. Caldeira said the man appeared to be in his 20s.
The attack was the first of two against transit workers on Wednesday, according to the MTA’s largest union, TWU Local 100. Someone also smashed a conductor’s window about an hour later at Rockefeller Center station.
The union earlier this week joined with other labor groups to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase the NYPD presence on the city’s subways and buses.
“We’re calling on Mayor de Blasio to realize that safety issue in the mass transit system is real, not just a perception-of-crime problem,” TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said in a statement.
“This isn’t fear mongering. We need more mental health services – and more uniformed police officers out there. Assaults are increasing and the situation needs on-the-ground resources now.”
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