Streams

Few Fatal Vehicle-Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest, Data Show

Monday, April 09, 2012

Four years ago, 31-year-old assistant professor Rasha Shamoon was struck and killed by a Range Rover at the corner of Bowery and Delancey while riding her bike home at 1:30 a.m.

Police interviewed the three people in the car, but listed no other witnesses in the police report. Several people called 911, but it’s unclear if they saw the crash. Cops determined Shamoon caused the crash and let the driver go.

But Rasha's mother didn't buy the story.

Samira Shamoon turned to the courts to get more answers. She brought a civil suit against the 21-year-old driver where he and his passengers were required to give detailed testimony. In February, the jury placed 95 percent of the fault on the driver, and 5 percent on Rasha Shamoon.

That finding stoked the mounting anger in the cycling community. Bike activists took it as evidence that the police were not serious about investigating cyclist deaths.

Last year, 21 cyclists were struck and killed but only two drivers were arrested. And about 40 percent of the time a driver is involved in a fatality – a pedestrian, cyclist, other motorist or themselves – not even a ticket is issued.

“We as a society have chosen to drive these big cars," said Joe McCormack, an assistant District Attorney for the Bronx whose job it is to prosecute traffic crimes. "And we also as a society have chosen not to criminalize every single small mistake that just has a dramatic consequence because you’re driving a car.”

The year Rasha was struck and killed – 2008 – was the worst in eight years with 26 deaths.

Punishing bad drivers, advocates say, is a way to lower the number. Caroline Samponaro, director of Transportation Alternatives, said if a driver causes a crash that kills a cyclist or pedestrian, he or she should face serious consequences.

“Even if you can’t prevent that crash, you can follow up and make sure that another crash like it doesn’t ever happen,” she said.

But no case has sparked more furor than that of Mathieu Lefevre. The 30-year-old artist was struck and killed by a truck in Williamsburg last October. The driver told police he did not know he hit anyone, so continued driving a few blocks before parking.

No charges were filed because police determined both parties were at fault.

There were no photos from the scene because the police camera broke, according to the police report. The only surveillance video from the scene doesn't show the crash.

The driver told WNYC he had no comment on the crash.

The NYPD's most involved traffic investigations are handled by the Accident Investigation Squad, which has 19 detectives that handle the whole city – down from 24 in 2000 because of budget cuts.

Detectives from this squad only show up when a person dies or is considered likely to die.

In order to make an arrest, the NYPD said a motorist must break two traffic laws for the crash to rise to the level of criminal.

“Speeding alone will not produce criminality” the department said in a statement. “Passing a stop sign only will not provide for criminal charges. They will result in a speeding summons and a stop sign summons only, but together we have established a criminal charge of Criminally Negligent Homicide or higher.”

But arrests do happen when drivers hit and kill cyclists.

In Queens, a driver who sold heroin to an undercover officer was fleeing the scene when he struck and killed a cyclist in 2009. He was sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison. And in a 2006 drunk driving case, the motorist was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years.

In Manhattan, the driver who struck Marilyn Dershowitz, sister-in-law of prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz, in 2011 was indicted and the case is pending.

In Brooklyn, three cases where bicyclists have died in the past two years got convictions, all on unlicensed or suspended license charges.

The City Council held a four-hour hearing on traffic safety in February that was sparked by the Lefevre case.

“We realize that these are not just numbers on a piece of paper," NYPD Deputy Chief John Cassidy told council members and victims’ family members. "And in my opening statement when I said one fatality is one too many I seriously believe that.”

At the hearing tearful family members lamented their loss and sharply criticized the NYPD for not keeping them informed in the investigations of the deaths of their loved ones.

Council members called for several reforms of police policy when it comes to cycling safety, in particular, they want the police to conduct more thorough investigations.

Last week, the NYPD announced a change in how they track cyclist crashes. They will more closely monitor the frequency of cases where bikes crash into pedestrians. Those accidents will now be treated and recorded the same as when a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian.

Read more on Transportation Nation, a site that combines the work of public radio newsrooms and our listeners as the way we build, rebuild and get around the nation changes.

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Comments [32]

nelson from albama

You can sell your motorcycle easily for cash. Even your motorcycle comes under the category of <a href=http://www.thebikebuyers.com>crashed bike</a>. Crashed motorcycles can also make money for you.

May. 05 2012 03:16 AM
Aleks from Brooklyn

I respect that there must be a process to determine fault in these situations. I do not believe that this process is without bias, especially in the case of bicyclists. Bicyclists do not have proportional treatment. What I mean by this is that the laws do not reflect the size, shape, speed, and functionality of this specific mode of transportation. The construction of the roads does not either. And most of all, People's mindsets do not make any room for bicycles most of the time. Pedestrians don't see us. Police are vexed by us. And Drivers are annoyed by us because we scare them to no end. And we should scare them. Cars are deadly weapons that need to be used responsibly before all else. That is why we have licenses and strict road rules for their use.

We should have proportional laws for bicyclists in NYC. Bicycles can kill, as we know too well. And apparently we see this reality as equivalent to the deadliness of a motor vehicle (see the last paragraph of the article). Which it is not. And this is the problem. Right now, bicycling is still like being an outlaw because the letter of the law either does not recognize them, or it punishes infractions the same as it would the driver of a motor vehicle ($270 for running a red light on a bicycle???). It is not right nor is it wrong - it is just wild. And every bicyclist knows how wild it is all too well. Drivers know how wild it is, and would rather not have the cyclists there. Pedestrians don't know how wild it is until they have a cyclist zoom past them two inches from their face. I think, given the opportunity, most bicyclists would like to be systematically included in appropriate, well-considered, and proportional ways. And we are making some headway with the network of bike lanes (although there is a doubly parked car just about every 100 feet in many of these), but this progress has been slow. So it should come as no surprise that there is a part of the biking community that continues to act as if they are beyond the law - because, in fact, the road and its rules were not made for them. But this attitude only contributes to the chaos and actually makes the case against including cyclists as a mode of transportation that is legitimate and worthwhile. And making room on the road for them - not just with bicycle lanes, but with proportional laws and practices, and by changing people's opinions to include and respect cyclists.

May. 03 2012 10:27 PM
Johnnie Walker from Lower Manhattan

@mikeweb66
who states:"60% of drivers speed on McGuiness blvd in Greenpoint and 95%(!) do so in Prospect Park when it's open to cars."

Dear Mike,
Your unscientific and unsubstantiated "statistics" notwithstanding, I so hate to prick your parochial bubble - but, NYC is a lot more than McGuiness Blvd and Prospect Park

Welcome to our city, and expand your horizon beyond the hipster/yuppie havens you seem to enjoy, and come to realize that most NYers feel that cyclists are terror on wheels.

Apr. 09 2012 10:47 PM

"Society" has chosen not to prosecute traffic fatalities as crimes? Since when did "society" decide laws? "Society" has chosen to use a lot of drugs but that hasn't kept thousands and thousands from going to jail. This "society" argument is baloney.

Apr. 09 2012 05:32 PM
Chris

Bike messengers and delivery guys are nuts; I would be interested to see how many pedestrians are hit by maniac cyclists.

Apr. 09 2012 05:26 PM
Bocheball from NYC

Having driven a car, peddled a bike and hoofed the city streets I can say with assurance that I've seen incredible stupidity by all three forms of travelers. I can also say I've broken all the rules of each. The issue in NY, and what makes it different from most places is the masses of people all in a madcap rush, and the lack of consideration towards fellow citizens.
Pedestrians walk as if they owned the sidewalk and god forbid you don't step to the side or some of them will plow right into you. Bikers peddle away at high rates of speeds threatening head ons with other bikers(see West Side Highway bike path on a Sunday), and collisions with pedestrians, and cars blow thru lights threatening, well, everybody.
It's the pace of life in the Big Apple. Everybody is in a rush and dammed if anyone is in their way. Living in LA I had heard horror stories about driving, and on the freeways they were true-people 6 inches from your bumper at 80mph. But I have to say drivers on the local streets drove very slow for the most part, annoying me to no end but keeping the streets safe. Of course in LA there are no pedestrians for the most part, so it's a moot point. Why can't NYers do the same. Just slow down. Never happen. More fatalities and accidents. At least make the penalties severe to offset the damage done.

Apr. 09 2012 03:26 PM
myob1776

*Alan, not Adam. Sorry.

Apr. 09 2012 03:08 PM
Myob1776 from New York

You cite the Dershowitz case as an example of a prosecution that did take place; but neglect to note that Adam Dershowitz - one of the most prominent attorneys in the country - had to push very hard before that happened. Not every deceased cyclist has a celebrity-attorney relative who will go to bat for her to see that justice is done. From a Daily News article:

"The famed attorney fumed that prosecutors repeatedly ignored his requests that surveillance video of the accident be shown to the family - and in particular the victim's son, an expert in accident reconstruction.

'They have been stonewalling and foot-dragging and finding every excuse in the book,' Alan Dershowitz told the Daily News Friday. 'You'd think that is something they could so easily do to help us get some closure.'"

Sounds a lot like Mr. Lefevre's parents.

See this Daily News article for more: http://bit.ly/Hw4EeS

Apr. 09 2012 03:03 PM

I will add that, annoying as it may be to drivers, riding a bicycle as far to the right as possible at all times (curb hugging) is not - repeat NOT - the safest thing to do. The Matthew Lefebvre tragedy is a perfect example of this.

Be in the lane, be visible (lights, reflectors, etc.), be predictable, use hand signals (including thumbs up when a driver does something right), and CONSTANTLY be looking around - front and back - especially when changing direction. My assumption is that walkers and drivers will do something stupid, or just not pay attention that I'm there, until proven otherwise. Another great suggestion: don't constanly zig-zag to avoid every little tiny bump in the street. That nice smooth manhole cover isn't going kill yr ass or give you a flat tire. I promise. The only thing this accomplishes is annoying the crap out of drivers and more experienced cyclists. Finally, LIGHTS - blinking, strobe, whatever! At dawn, dusk, night, or whenever its dark, rainy, etc. I've actually had a driver pull up next to me at a red light and say 'thank you' for my lights. Why? Because it makes it easier for him to NOT KILL ME by accident. By the way, having safety lights at night is a law as well. One of the ones that actually makes sense.

Apr. 09 2012 02:28 PM
Peter from Manhattan

The Assistant DA for the Bronx makes an important point: "And we also as a society have chosen not to criminalize every single small mistake that just has a dramatic consequence because you’re driving a car.”

This choice sort of makes sense as long as you're a driver, i.e., as long as you're more likely to be the offender than the victim in a collision. As a city of pedestrians, we need to make a different choice. From my point of view, being hurt by a vehicle is as bad as being hurt by a criminal. Lousy drivers vastly outnumber violent criminals. Let's get our priorities straight.

Apr. 09 2012 02:16 PM

I second that...

@Johnnie Walker,

If you include obeying speed laws, not to mention a lot of other driving regs., as another Johnnie - Johnnie Mac - would say, you CANNOT be serious!!

A couple of recent actual observational studies have shown that over 60% of drivers speed on McGuiness blvd in Greenpoint and 95%(!) do so in Prospect Park when it's open to cars.

As I've explained to a lot of non-cyclists before, in many ways speeding for drivers is very much the same as red lights for cyclists. Laws that most people break but that are rarely enforced to the letter of the law by the police unless the infraction is just too blatant to ignore.

Apr. 09 2012 02:07 PM
a from Brooklyn

You have to be kidding me with these comments about how most drivers obey traffic laws!!! I drive, walk and bike here and I would never ever come to that conclusion. Drivers treat the streets here like some kind of Mad Max demolition derby free for all. I obey all the laws as a cyclist and I still have people threatening me and trying to run me off the road for no reason, I can be in the bike lane, as far to the right/left as possible, it doesn't matter. It's even worse in a car. The fact of the matter is that if someone is biking in an unsafe way, yes it's annoying, whatever, you're in a 2,000+ pound vehicle, you should have some damn patience and slow down and try to get around them, not just have no regard for another person's life and speed right along as though there isn't a body in front of your vehicle. That person swerving on their bike might be a jerk or perhaps an inexperienced cyclist, but if you don't respect their life and intentionally disregard the fact that you could kill them with your vehicle than you're a psychopath.

Apr. 09 2012 01:36 PM
Terry

Why is it that practically every one of the incidents that is reported involves an under-30 recent-arrival "artist"? You almost never hear of a lifetime New Yorker in their 40's being knocked off a bike. Just saying...

Apr. 09 2012 12:40 PM
Suzanne

I live in Manhattan and for many years had to drive to work in New Jersey going downtown through SoHo to the Holland Tunnel and back. I lived in terror of killing a bicyclist, as they did unbelievably risky things, like running red lights or speeding straight past me on the left when I was making a left turn on a left turn light -- I could not have seen that one coming, luckily she was fast enough to make it, just by chance. I doubt that enough NYC bicyclists drive cars very much in the City. Thus they probably don't understand the real risks of disobeying traffic laws and can't accurately predict what a vehicle is doing or about to do. Or how impossible it is to see a bike speeding up from behind you or into cross an intersection from a cross street -- you can't drive with your eyes on the mirrors every second. I think many European and Canadian cities are more suited to bike traffic than NYC, having long boulevards without cross streets that require stops or very, very slow old narrow streets where nobody's speeding. And talk about road rage -- my fury when a bicyclist has done something that made it so I could have killed them is off the charts. It's a good thing that our streets and traffic lights have prevented me from tracking them down and striking back. I wish both the Mayor's office and more cyclists understood the NYC driver's situation. That's going to be necessary to lower the car/cycle accident rate if NYC continues to encourage bikers in unfavorable conditions.

Apr. 09 2012 12:40 PM
Johnnie Walker from Lower Manhattan

As a pedestrian without a car or a bike (and a native NYer), I observe both motorists and cyclists without prejudice.

From a lifetime of empirical observation, it is clear:
Most motorists obey the basic traffic laws; most cyclists don't. It's that simple.

Most of these accidents are not prosecuted because the cyclist was likely at fault, since it is axiomatic that few obey basic laws = no stopping at red lights, failure to signal,riding on sidewalks, riding against traffic, general recklessness, etc.

I rarely bike in NYC because once I turned 14 and could no longer ride the sidewalk legally, I realized it was suicidal to play chickie with a 2-ton vehicle.
I realized if I wanted to ride a bike safely, I should move to some tree-lined cul-de-sac in the suburbs, maybe the same streets these Wburg cyclists originate, for example.

I wait with anticipation when statistics for injuries from bikes hitting pedestrians are released, when the vast majority of NYers - we who walk - will no longer have to bear the terror and strident lobbying of the cycling lobby and their apologists.

Until then: halt at red lights and stop signs, don't ride against traffic, don't weave in and out of lanes, obey traffic signage, and get off the sidewalk if you are over 14.

Oh yeah, time to license bicycles.

Apr. 09 2012 12:20 PM
Steven

If nothing else, the map shows that hipters in Williamsburg often pay for their bike riding with their lives.

Apr. 09 2012 11:55 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

I bike daily in the city and also drive every couple of weeks or so, and of couse, walk. There's plenty of blame to go around.

Drivers: you own a car, not the road. Speed laws in our dense urban environment are there for a reason. When you speed through a red light that just turned red from yellow guess what, that's still called going through a red light light. I see vehicles of all sizes do this a dozen times a day.

Cyclists and pedestrians: take some measure of responsibility for your own safety. Every time I see a cyclist riding at night with no reflectors or safety lights and wearing dark clothing I just shake my head. Why anyone would put their life in the hands of distracted drivers of varying ages and many with sub-par eyesight in this way is beyond me. I don't sit and wait at every red light, but I at least PAY ATTENTION to them. Slow down or stop and let walkers with the walk sign have the crosswalk and drivers with the green light have the lanes. It's not rocket science. In my opinion, it doesn't have too much to do with obeying the law or even being safe, it DOES have to do with not riding (or driving, or walking) like an a&$!*#e. Respect and courtesy go a long, long way.

Apr. 09 2012 10:48 AM
Matt from Queens

People call for more thorough investigation and prosecution of traffic fatalities, but they say "oh, we don't investigate or prosecute all of those 'single small mistakes' even if someone dies, unless they're breaking other laws." But then they announce they are going to increase their monitoring of bike-on-pedestrian impacts, which are rarely fatal? How is that a solution? It's like "oh we as a society chose to have guns but we can't investigate or criminalize every little mistake that has dramatic consequences just because a gun was involved. And we only have a few detectives to look into these cases, but how about we increase surveillance of people swatting each other with nerf bats? Happy now?"

Apr. 09 2012 10:35 AM
Jimmy Glass

@Todd

It's good to know that you are responsible and have seen both sides of the issue first-hand. To respond to your point, nobody should have to earn respect on our roads, you are quite correct. Equally though, new transplants should understand the perilous nature of the roads you quite correctly point out. That applies to all on foot, 2 wheels or 4 or more wheels. The more obvious infractions do seem to come from newer residents on bicycles, because that happens to be the vehicle of choice in the neighborhoods they have been drawn to. Any criticism of this behavior tends to be met with entitled responses that only inflame the situation more.

I love people coming to this city. My wife is a non-New Yorker, as are most of my friends I've made as an adult. Ignoring the fact that there are a large number of recent transplants of privilege who feel they are entitled to behave in a manner that is a continuation of their private college experience isn't going to help anything though.

Apr. 09 2012 10:11 AM
MattyMac from Forest Hills

I would like to comment on one aspect of the story that would be so very funny if it wasn't so sad and tragic.

"There were no photos from the scene because the police camera broke..."

Tell me the last time you passed a day in this city and didn't see multiple cops on a smartphone with a camera?

Apr. 09 2012 09:54 AM
Todd from Bed-Stuy

@Jimmy

In your first post, you ask cyclists to respect the road and say they will get respect in return. Assuming that respect means the right to feel safe on some of North America's most perilous streets, I'm not sure that's something a cyclist should have to earn.

I drive a car five days a week, and I also ride a bike. As a motorist, I once almost hit a cyclist going the wrong way on a narrow one-way street in Williamsburg. As a cyclist, I was once struck by an erratic driver that drifted into my bike lane.

Since you asked, I'm not from Bed-Stuy. In fact, I find that most people I meet are not from around here. My landlord is from Guyana. My boss is from Australia. My girlfriend is from Poland. I'm from Kansas City, and I've been made to feel very welcome in this wonderful city.

Apr. 09 2012 09:40 AM
Jimmy Glass

@Todd

You assume that I have a car. Like many people who are actually from Brooklyn, I don't drive a car, I walk.
Describing the distaste that my neighborhood has been flushed of real artists and long-time residents to make room for people from Wiscotuckyfornia suburban McMansions to have the neato super-cool experience they've read about through their teens as "hipster rage" is convenient for you, but inaccurate. "Neighborhood destruction sadness" would be more like it.

I also find it odd that you would equate the desire to have everyone obey safety laws, drivers and cyclists, with a desire to maim or kill cyclists. That doesn't jibe with the rather fair-mided conclusion to your post.

Are you really FROM Bed-Stuy?

Apr. 09 2012 09:08 AM
Mike from Savannah

Every article like this has comments about cyclists who don't obey traffic laws. Yet, almost universally, cars exceed the posted speed limit. As an experiment, rigidly drive the speed limit and watch the erratic behavior as drivers break one law after another to get around you so they can continue breaking the speed limit. Cars simply drive too fast. My favorite comment came with an article about a bike, riding in a straight line, at the extreme right edge of a lane of traffic which was hit from behind by a car: “You can't expect a driver of a vehicle to be at fault when he is travelling straight and an obstacle (person, vehicle or in this case bicyclist) impedes his travel."
Hopefully there were no traffic lights or stop signs on that road either. No ticket was issued in that case.

Apr. 09 2012 09:07 AM
Michael from tangled with a**hole bicyclist this A.M.

and 55% if fatalities were from bicyclists operating in an unsafe manner? Bicyclists speed, put pedestrians, automobile drives and other bicyclists at risk. Stany in the bicycle lane and operate at at safe speed to the surrounding enviorment, not what the bicyclists think is a safe speed.

I witnessed a bicyclist run a red light, weave through hundereds of path train commuters. I asked him if he knew whar a red light was for? His response was that I was a drone.

Apr. 09 2012 08:53 AM
a person from NYC

The argument regarding all the cyclists not obeying laws is valid, but it's easy to ignore the fact nearly every single driver on the road has just as many habitual violations. Almost every driver speeds, and daily I see extremely excessive speeds, running red lights, U-Turns on busy streets like Broadway, cabs and livery drivers swerving across two lanes to pick up a passenger, and so on and so on.

Fortunately cyclists that do not obey the laws generally will not kill a person when an accident occurs.

Running a redlight or any other single infraction that causes the death of a pedestrian or cyclist should warrant a criminal investigation. It's wrong to require two infractions to justify investigation. The same should go for the cyclist who runs down a pedestrian and kills them.

Apr. 09 2012 08:52 AM
TNC

Some of the changes the bicycle advocates are calling for I completely agree with. There is no reason a drunk driver who kills someone should receive such a lenient sentence. When someone gets behind the wheel drunk we as a society should hold the individual responsible for their behavior. Killing someone while speeding or running a stop sign should also be prosecuted. It is insane drivers need to violate two laws in order to be prosecuted.

Where I draw the line is the notion that "if a driver kills a cyclist or pedestrian, he or she should go to jail" regardless of fault or if the accident is preventable. As others have mentioned, accidents are not always the fault of drivers. Many bicyclists do a lot of stupid things in this city. Most seem unaware or unwilling to follow the rules of the road.

One thing missing from this article is where this poor driver and biker behavior stems from. I think it flows from a disregard for pedestrians. For such a walking-centric city, NYC is incredibly dangerous for those of us who walk. Drivers pay us no heed, bicyclists routinely take over our sidewalks, and that rudeness is reflected in their behavior towards each other.

I am not saying hoofers are perfect. We dart out from between cars, stroll between vehicles, and do other things we shouldn't. But the place where enforcement needs to start is respecting the primacy of foot traffic. In cities where pedestrians truly have the right of way--and this is enforced by the authorities--you see both bikers and drivers being more conscientious. Once drivers and bikers start taking the time to slow down and look out for pedestrians, they will begin to do the same towards each other. Again, not perfect but it is the best place to start.

Be careful out there.

Apr. 09 2012 08:52 AM
Todd from Bed-Stuy

Jimmy Glass, your comment about artists and filmmakers--while funny--indicates that something deeper is going on here. You have a dangerous case of hipster rage. Win one back for native Brooklynites! Hit a cyclist!

But seriously, the fact is cyclists are no different than drivers when it comes to roadway etiquette. Some bikers don't have lights, go the wrong way in bike lanes, blow through lights, etc. Some drivers don't signal, drive way too fast, blow through stop signs, etc. The majority of both bikers and drivers are out there doing the right things.

Finally, Jimmy, please tell us what kind of car you drive and where you do most of your driving.

Apr. 09 2012 08:50 AM
Paredown from New York

I am barely surprised that the first two comments are versions of 'they ride their bikes like yabbos, therefore they deserve what they get.'

As a lifetime cyclist (over 40 years) I too get annoyed at the hipsters on their fixies blowing through red lights, and the flood of delivery people salmoning their way the wrong way on bike lanes, or on one-way streets.

But in these sets of cases from the segment we are talking about incidents involving motor vehicles and cyclists in which people have been killed and from all appearances, NYPD did inadequate investigations and/or decided unilaterally that criminal charges were not warranted.

Since when did it become acceptable to drive over a person on a bike, flee the scene of an accident, and then claim that you never knew that you had done such a thing (Matthew Lefevre)? Why were no photos taken of the damage to the front of the truck--the blood spatters visible on the front bumper etc. to present to the DA when it was decided not to press charges against the driver. Minimum should be involuntary manslaughter and fleeing the scene of the accident.

NYPD could and should do better--while I agree with last year's crackdown against cyclists on the road, the other side of the equation ought to be stiff charges against motorists who kill or injure cyclists.

Every driver owes a supreme duty of care to others on the road--especially idiot pedestrians and cyclists, because in an accident, we know who loses. Failure to show that care should be criminalizes.

Apr. 09 2012 08:26 AM
Jimmy Glass

Fair enough, but when I start to see even half of the bike riders in Williamsburg and greenpoint start to obey the law on their bikes, I'll be happy to adopt the tone this article clearly has chosen to take. Every single day on Franklin St I see bike after bike, weaving, running red lights, on sidewalks, rider on phone, two abreast, going against traffic, etc. the riders who violate the law are almost always from the demographic of the endless flood of "artists" and "film makers" and such who mysteriously pay 2800 for a studio apartment by doing performance juggling art in the park. The entitled think they own the roads they have so recently arrived on, and have zero tolerence for the cars that have long used them. Co-exist with the cars and there will be less accidents. Too cool to wear something visible? Guess what's going to happen? This isn't the quad at Oberlin, and unlike your parent's declaration, you are capable of being wrong, so start respecting the rules of the road, and you'll get respected back.

Apr. 09 2012 08:00 AM
Greg from Brooklyn

I also bike almost everyday and agree that it's incredibly frustrating how many bikers completely ignore the rules. It's dangerous for them AND for other bikers and makes us all look bad. A lot of this could be prevented with better infrastructure, and selfish destructive behavior doesn't help when lobbying for more and better bike lanes.

That said, I wonder if it doesn't contribute to a wider lack of sympathy for bikers that leads to negligence in cases like these where it's pretty clear the driver is at fault and should face the consequences for ending someone's life. And I don't understand how 2 laws have to be broken by a motorist before it's considered a crime. Or how a biker hitting a pedestrian is treated the same as a motorist. There ought to be consideration for the fact that a motor vehicle is 1,000 times more likely to cause a fatality than a cyclist.

Apr. 09 2012 07:54 AM

A NY State study found that over 45% of car fatalities were due to driver speeding or aggressive turning. These are both conscious actions by the driver. Thus they should be considered manslaughter, no?

The same pitiful stats on NYPD & Prosecutors letting killer drivers go despite their permanently snuffing the life of men, women, children, & older people due the the driver's choosing to go far too fast, to give pedestrians and cyclists so safety margin when they turn & pass aggressively with 3,000+ lbs of steel.

If doctors were this willfully malpracticing they rightly would be found at fault. Let's get our heads out of the gear box and stop the needless carnage we call acceptable "accidents" that wouldn't happen if people didn't speed and gave reasonable margins for error when they turned instead of riding the heals of our children, just waiting for any little trip to "accidentally" run over them since they were too close and too fast.

Police didn't bother to interview any of the many eye witnesses. With a jury of his peers, "the jury placed 95 percent of the fault on the driver, and 5 percent on Rasha Shamoon." 95%. Come on public and NYPD, don't accept hundreds of needless deaths ... the next might be your best friend, your child, or your parent.

Apr. 09 2012 07:48 AM
Adrianapi from Brooklyn

I drive and ride a bike and you also have to understand that the bicyclists not always respect the traffic rules and it is difficult for a driver to see them and prevent accidents.

Apr. 09 2012 05:53 AM

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