Bike Crash Fatalities and Police Reporting

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

WNYC reporter Alex Goldmark details police procedures following cyclist fatalities and why so few drivers face charges.

Comments [69]


As a regular bike commuter over the Brooklyn Bridge, I am thrilled about the work that is being done to improve it and hope there will be a lot more signage denoting the bike and walk ways very soon. There are a lot less cyclists than pedestrians and I am constantly amazed by how oblivious pedestrians who are using their cameras/phones etc. are, veering into the bike path without looking, strolling on the bike path and standing on the bike path.
How about we all just become more proactive, self-aware and considerate when out in public regardless of whether you are walking, cycling, driving or whatever you do?? The cyclist vs. pedestrian vs. motorist war is not achieving anything.

Jul. 07 2012 11:43 AM
NYC_BIKERS_DON'T YIELD for Pedestrians from NYC

NYC bicyclists are the rudest most self entitled nastiest group of people I have ever observed.
I walk brooklyn bridge all the time. Signs says bicyclists should yield to pedestrians/go slow.
They don't go slow. They don't yield. Whistling or bell ringing or shouting is not yielding.
I don't want to hear your bell or your whistle. What right do you have? No car driver could do that and get away with it.
I am sorry our society hasn't created the ideal way for you to commute b ut it doesn't give you the right to create a horrible experience on the bridge for walkers.
A lot more people walk the bridge than bike the bridge. It is very unfair for bicyclists to have their own lane. Bicyclists are no more environmentally friendly than walkers.
Please ban bicycle riding on the brooklyn bridge- there is not enough room for a bicycle path.

Apr. 20 2012 10:40 PM
Tony from Brooklyn

Dboy: motorists arent ALL lousy drivers. Neither are all cyclist. And just because pedestrians have the right of way, doesn't mean the privilege doesn't get routinely abused.

Here's a scary observation... The bike share is coming this Summer. Soon there's going to be more cyclists with little to no experience riding around the city, out of towers and tourists with different road rules. It's going to be an interesting summer.

Apr. 16 2012 11:59 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

Sorry Art. You are taking some of my comments out of context.

Bridges have lanes for a reason. We need the momentum to make it up a hill. This comment was in response to the comments that the pedestrian side gets congested it should be forgiven if somebody blindly strays into the empty cycling lane. Doing so is unsafe to everyone. Personally I use the Manhattan bridge which is far less congested than the Brooklyn Bridge. The seperate lanes are there for reasons that might not be obvious to pedestrians.

We can't stop on a dime is in response to everyone that feels its ok to crowd a cyclist when they are moving. Here's an experiment. On your next walk count the number of times pedestrians are being unpredictable. Jay walking is obvious, how about parents pushing strollers between parked cars, craning their necks (and inadvertently edging junior into traffic). How about the group (two or more) people walking side by side forcing people to step into the street to get around them. Or the guy who suddenly changed direction or stops in their track. Not to mention the smart phone users. How about the pedestrians that feel since they have the right of way they can dawdle across the street holding up a line of cars hoping to make the light? You can argue this but pedestrians have a responsibility to cross the street as quickly as possible.

I'm asking for a little consideration all around. I've been stopping for lights since the ticketing blitz started.

Apr. 16 2012 11:46 AM
Mary Conrad from Middlde Village

On a quarter of a mile walk in my Queens neighborhood yesterday, I saw one bicylist run a red light and another weave in and out of four lanes of traffic on Woodhaven Blvd.
Woodhaven Blvd!

Apr. 13 2012 07:55 AM

As a pedestrian , I feel far more threatened by bikes than cars. Cars don't ride on the sidewalk, don't ride the wrong way on one way streets, or routinely go through red lights or other traffic signals. Cars are obliged to have license plates, lights, and horns. Do NYC bicyclists need lights or bell/horns? If not, why not. If so, who is enforcing this? If there were license requirements, overall enforcement would be much easier. It is the wild west at dusk when the delivery men are in their peak period, but plenty of other violations take place all the time--even in bike lanes.

Apr. 12 2012 07:56 PM
Lucinda Hughey-Wiley from Park Slope, Brooklyn

Twenty-some years ago I rode my then-two-year-old on the back of my bike from one end of Park Slope, Brooklyn to the other, about a mile away. I obeyed all the traffic laws. I did this to get her to day care so that I could get to work, at rush hours. The drivers of cars were unbelievably rude, honking as if I had no right to be there, though I always stayed between the moving cars and those that were parked. But so many close-calls came from parked cars wherein drivers suddenly opened their doors to leave their cars -- and I couldn't tell they were in there because of the tall head rests. And I've seen close-calls of the same type to other bikers recently, wherein drivers who are about to become pedestrians are not checking their side-view mirrors for cyclists. Wham.

Apr. 12 2012 01:28 PM

Motorists ARE NOT ALL lousy drivers!!!

If this is your consistent experience then what does it say to you (idiot)???

EVERYONE is a crappy driver??? REALLY???

How 'bout cyclists are not easy to spot from a motor vehicle?? Maybe... the larger the vehicle the more difficult to see a cyclist???

Maybe reconsider your reasoning, reduce your sense of entitlement and reposition yourself on the street to avoid being crushed!!

Apr. 12 2012 11:51 AM

art525 from Park Slope ~

As a cyclist, I TOTALLY agree!!

Apr. 12 2012 11:43 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Tony from Brooklyn- It sounds like you want carte blanche. You complain that-"It takes more effort to start a bike from a full stop than it does to keep moving." My response? Awwwww. Such a shame. And you say (and I've heard other bikers say it as a artionale)-". A cyclist moving quickly cannot stop on a dime, cannot suddenly swerve out of the way, also due to physics. Trying to stop suddenly can result in the cyclist being thrown over the handle bars or off the bike." My response? If you don't have full control of your bike then you have no business being out on the street. And as for your comment- "Getting off and walking the bike kind of defeats the purpose of going out for a ride." Once again Awwww. Such a shame. So I guess because it might inconvenience you we all have to deal with your inconsiderate behavior toward us huh?
Just because you might be inconvenienced in actually being expected to stop, just because you can't control your bike and just because it's no fun to walk your bike we should all have to deal with your being (in your words) "inconsiderate of the other people in the city". Not to mention dangerous.

Your comment is a perfect example of the sense of self entitlement demonstrated by too many (though not all) bikers.

Apr. 11 2012 03:34 PM
Tony from Brooklyn

This is possibly going to add more fuel to the other side but there are some things that should be pointed out to the non riders out there. It takes more effort to start a bike from a full stop than it does to keep moving. As a pedestrian, how would you feel about breaking your stride every time some one else gets within arm's reach. Cyclist have to race up hills and. Ridges in order to maintain their momentum, otherwise the effort is very very tough (and I'm in good shape). A cyclist moving quickly cannot stop on a dime, cannot suddenly swerve out of the way, also due to physics. Trying to stop suddenly can result in the cyclist being thrown over the handle bars or off the bike. Getting off and walking the bike kind of defeats the purpose of going out for a ride.

We were all taught to look left, right, then left again before crossing the street and then doing so in a timely fashion. Too often, pedestrians cross using only their ears (anybody remember the complaint about electric cars being too quiet that pedestrians don't realize one is bearing down on them until it's too late). Too often, pedestrians are milling about off of the corner curb trying to get a jump on the light, which also happens to be the space I need to make the right hand turn.

A poster comments that a cyclist sped between her and the cab that suddly stopped for her (I'm sure he signaled too)oblivivious that they were both crossing into his path by their actions.

Just because the pedestrians have the right of way, it shouldn't give them carte blank to act completely unaware of the surroundings and inconsiderate of the other people in the city

Apr. 11 2012 10:14 AM
tom LI

If you're on two wheels you're a target. Either blatantly or "accidentally" - as most car/truck drivers are lousy drivers and prone to not paying attention to whats around them. As a motorcycle rider, I experience all the same problems as bike riders...more so since I'm in the middle of traffic and not on the fringes.

Whats silly is that there is not a negligent homicide law involved when someone breaks a traffic law and kills someone. If I dump toxic waste in my yard and a neighbor dies, I'm not simply and ONLY guilty of dumping toxic waste..!!

Apr. 10 2012 06:24 PM
Darcy from Brooklyn

As a bicyclist, pedestrian and driver (at times), I see it from all sides. MANY cyclists are arrogant, entitled and unsafe. No helmets, wearing headphones and/or sometimes texting on their phone. That to me is simply ridiculous. Drivers on the other hand, do use their vehicles as weapons and often are not paying attention or texting. Pedestrians in general are the worst in my book. With everyone on their phones NOT EVEN LOOKING when they walk into the street, it is amazing that more people don't get hit. As a cyclist, I use my bell and even yell for people to move out of the way of course when appropriate, but mostly I get yelled at. Not all cyclists, drivers and pedestrians are to blame. There are a some of us who abide by the laws, and are aware that our behaviors may indeed affect others around us and act accordingly. Then there are the rest of the people.

I don't think simply enforcing more tickets is the only solution (though I think it would help in many cases), but it is also about taking personal responsibility. Don't expect anyone to stop for you, look when you cross the street (these are fundamental lessons that haven't changed), be aware of your surroundings, and use your friggen turn signals!!! Protect yourself (by wearing a seatbelt and/or a helmet) and protect others by acknowledging that you are not the only one who is trying to get somewhere at any given time, nor is there anywhere that you need to be that is important enough to potentially harm another human being. Seriously!

Apr. 10 2012 04:12 PM

I cycle 4,000 miles a year in London and people make all the same complaints in London that people are making on this forum about New York cyclists. There are claims that cyclists are uniquely lawless, should be licensed and pose a special danger to pedestrians.

Yet, in 2010, a particularly bad year for cyclist on pedestrian fatalities in Great Britain, there were four fatalities after collisions with bikes - 0.22 per cent of road fatalities. Simple physics (as I point out at mean it's profoundly unlikely light, slow-moving bicycles will kill as many people as heavy, fast-moving cars.

According to the report, the police think you need to have broken two laws in NYC to be liable for causing a cyclist's death. That strikes me as absurd - not that the Metropolitan Police in London are much better at this kind of thing.

The truth is there's substantial prejudice in many parts of the world against cyclists simply because they're different. I make the case here - . I certainly find it telling that a discussion about why motorists are killing cyclists with impunity has turned into a discussion about cyclists' perceived shortcomings.

Invisible Visible Man

Apr. 10 2012 01:46 PM

Peter from Manhattan ~

You forgot one:

Williamsburg hipsters are disallowed bicycle ownership in most European cities.

Apr. 10 2012 12:19 PM
Peter from Manhattan

Edward from Washington Heights,
European cities do many things that make it easier for everybody to get along. Here's an incomplete list:

* Safe biking lessons in elementary schools.
* Driving lessons that emphasize sharing the road.
* Almost everybody uses all available modes of transportation. Most people have a bike and a car. There's no hostility between drivers and bikers because everybody's a driver as well as a biker.
* Bike lanes that are physically separate from car lanes and that are a joy to use, unlike our narrow, pothole-ridden bike ghettos that mostly serve to put bikers in the door zone.
* Traffic lights that are timed to untangle cars, bikes, and pedestrians (look up "leading pedestrian intervals", for example), sort of like the nicely designed new traffic lights on Broadway between Times Square and Columbus Circle, and very much unlike the lights around, say, 125th St and Riverside Drive, which are clearly designed to corral NJ commuters and are just atrocious for bikers and pedestrians.

Apr. 10 2012 12:14 PM

The ABOLUTE most dangerous place for a cyclist or pedestrian is the West Side Hwy bike lanes or Central Park, on the weekends. As a cyclist, I have seen more serious, bloody accidents in both these places than any other place/time in the city!

Guess what? No cars in either of these places/times.

Apr. 10 2012 12:10 PM
sharon from harlem

as a cyclist, pedestrian, AND motorist i can tell you that the biggest problem is when people don't LOOK. in all 3 categories of locomotion, but especially pedestrians. however i happen to be traveling at the time, the person with the right-of-way is paramount. but, should you feel the need to jaywalk or weave around cars, i say go for it, IF YOU *LOOK* FIRST and REPEATEDLY. i see peds, bikes and cars moving into areas where we all cross each other, blind as bats and staring at the ground! your right-of-way is meaningless if you do not LOOK first in case that needs to be negotiated. i see peds waiting for that 'walk' signal, and the second they see it they jump into the road, often with stroller in front of them (!) without even bothering to look at the cars in the street. only brakes stop cars, not red lights.

also, bike lanes are patently ridiculous. yes you read that correctly. they put bikes into the least visible place on the road, and relegate them to that one area, which everyone knows does not facilitate the most efficient movement through the city. bikes have the right to a full lane, and the presence of bike lanes makes motorists think they do not. everyone complains about bike messengers, etc., and while i don't excuse them running over peds *who have the right of way*, i would point out that while you're waiting for that delivery of documents or food or whatever, you wanted it 15 minutes ago and the only way that happens is for bikes to be able to pursue the fastest possible route.

my advice to all 3 groups would be to get your head out of your ass/ smartphone/ dashboard and LOOK. and LOOK again. and LOOK again. as a ped or biker, assume you are invisible and take steps to BE SEEN. respect whoever's right-of-way it is, and LOOK around AGAIN.

Apr. 10 2012 11:53 AM

Electric "bicycles" are NOT bicycles - they're MOTORCYCLES with electric motors!!!

These things are OUT OF CONTROL!!!

No lights, no helmets and ZERO consideration of any modicum of traffic rules!

AND, these guys ride ALL directions in the BICYCLE lanes and on the sidewalks!!

Apr. 10 2012 11:51 AM
Peter from Manhattan

Wow, bob from flushing's comment was a real eye-opener. As a biker, I've had many a driver pass me and immediately make a right turn in front of me (the infamous "right hook" that is one of the main killers of bikers everywhere). Before reading bob's comment, I thought they were just being obnoxious, but now I realize that they really have no clue.

So, just for the record, the person going straight has the right of way; it doesn't matter whether it's a pedestrian in a crossing or a biker in a bike lane.

Apr. 10 2012 11:48 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

How do cities like Amsterdam, Paris and London handle bike riding in city? Do they have better ideas?

Apr. 10 2012 11:47 AM

As much as I HATE the idea of the added bureaucracy, cyclists should probably be required to be licensed. At least everyone on the road would then be required to know the rules of the road.

Apr. 10 2012 11:30 AM

I've been a cyclist in NYC for at least 20 years. The last ten years include frequent trips over the WB bridge.

I am also a motorist and a pedestrian.

Two years ago I was T-boned by a van rushing through a recently changed light at Delancy and Essex - one of the deadliest intersections in the city. The motorist was cited. Despite shattering the windshield with my head (helmet SAVED my life), it is STILL bicyclists and device-adeled pedestrians that scare the SH*t out of me!!

The problem, I'm sorry to point out, is the obnoxious sense of entitlement that both bicyclists and some pedestrians maintain. Yes, you're probably doing the right thing - but, youve got to obey the rules of the road. You're altruism does NOT entitle you to ride like an ass!!

As a cyclist/motorist I can tell you, for sure: I DON'T ALWAYS SEE YOU. Especially, when you're where you're not suppose to be or doing something you're not suppose to do!!

Your self-righteousness is great and maybe even justifiable but, your little sociopolitical statement ain't gunna do you any good if you're DEAD!

Put a helmet on your hipster head, install brakes on your little circus BMX bike or your fashionable "fixie" and, be CONSIDERATE!!!

Meanwhile, the cops could pull their heads out of their collective asses and actually enforce the bicycle lanes!!! That means ticketing MOTORISTS who stand or otherwise use the lanes!!! Bicycle lanes do us absolutely NO good, if their not EMFORCED!!

Apr. 10 2012 11:23 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Michael In Brooklyn from Clinton Hil- It is more likely that the biker came up on the right on the driver's blind side and the driver turned without seeing him. l see bikers do that all the time and a few people have mentioned esperiencing the same thing here. ANd by the way the very fact that the driver drove only a coupld of blocks and parked tells me that he didn't know he had done anything and hadn't seen the biker. He made no effort to escape.

Apr. 10 2012 11:08 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Nina form the East Village- that is a big part of the problem. You hit your bell instead of your brakes. Bikers without bells yell instead of slowing down or god forbid stopping. There is a scientific law that a biker in motion tends to stay in motion. This is a perfect example of the sense of entitlement I referred to earlier. Yes you have your bike lanes. But that doesn't give you total authority. I was always told that pedestrians always have the right of way. I have been on the Brooklyn Bridge on numerous occasions, particularly holidays when the walkway is mobbed with tourists. Their enjoyment of the experience is greatly marred for these visitors by their constant attempt to consciously stay out of the bike lane even though the crowd of pedestrians can be huge. And still bikers race across the bridge in their bike lanes yelling at the crowds as they go. Thy have their bike land and gosh darn it you better stay out of their way. When it is crowded like that a courteous and civil person would analyze the situation and realize that they have to adapt and maybe just maybe walk their bike across the bridge. But no it's their bike lane and they're not going to give an inch not have an ounce of accomodation. And as someone else noted here, if you yell at bikers for running red lights and rushing through crowds of pedestrians legally crossing the street thire reflexive repsonse is to make that rudest of suggestions, the one that ends with you.

Apr. 10 2012 10:59 AM
Kevin from Brooklyn

On March 8th of this year I was a pedestrian crossing the street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and I was hit by a bicycle while I was in the crosswalk. The bicyclist was going the wrong way on a one way street! I was knocked unconscious and luckily there was a passerby (not the bicyclist) who called 911. I lost my memory of the accident and the two hours before the accident and the 5 hours after. I woke up in the trauma center of the hospital having no idea how I got there. The next day, I was shocked to find out that although the police created an "aided card" the bicyclist wasn't even issued a ticket for going the wrong way on a one way street when he hit me! In the last month, I've been watching bicyclists here in Brooklyn. They go the wrong way on one way streets AND they ride there bikes on the sidewalk. They just don't seem to care.

Apr. 10 2012 10:59 AM
Marcy Feller from UWS

How about cyclist licenses and license plates for bicycles? My partner was mowed down by a cyclist as she stepped off the curb to enter a cab that had stopped for her. A cyclist sped between the cab and the line of parked cars (why?) and both of them ended on the ground. The cyclist was a delivery man, claimed not to speak English and of course had no license by which to be identified, and consequently, there was no recourse.

Apr. 10 2012 10:58 AM

I live in Rockland County where cyclist are prevalent on RT 9W (which is really a highway and not a country road). As a local driver, these cyclist continue to be a source of great frustration because they simply do not obay the laws ofthe road. They ride 2 and sometimes 3 across busy dangerous roads, endangering drivers and themselves.

If the laws of the road were enforsed, and bike riders were stopped and ticketted for their inappropriate riding habits, they may begin to ride more carefully and safely through neighborhoods that they are not familiar with.

Apr. 10 2012 10:54 AM
The Truth from Becky

Put some real laws on the books and the punishments will stick!! Share the road.

Apr. 10 2012 10:53 AM
Michael In Brooklyn from Clinton Hill

That Williamsburg story makes no sense. If a driver passes a bicyclist, then proceeds to turn without checking for the cyclist and while not signaling, then how is this not negligence on the part of the driver?

Instead, it appears the police were blaming the cyclist for passing a vehicle that was not signaling a turn on the right.

Well where else should have been?

And this goes to the women from the upper west side ... Turning is not something you do blindly. A driver, like the cyclist, must engage situation awareness when on the road.

Apr. 10 2012 10:53 AM


Apr. 10 2012 10:51 AM
Matt from NYC

Brian, I ride my bike all over the city but still I feel cyclists should be penalized for traffic violations (many of which I no doubt commit). They should be expected to stop at traffic lights and not go the wrong way down a one way street. And the worst part is that many cyclists feel privileged for whatever reason. They ride down the roads weaving through the cars and when they brush someone or a cabbie cuts them off, they yell at the other person as if it is their responsibility to take care. Also I see people all the time zip down fifth, through a red light and into the line of pedestrians, it is so dangerous. And on first and second avenue where the bike lanes are, they just cruise by and yell at pedestrians who are not paying attention as if they can't slow down.

Apr. 10 2012 10:51 AM
steveh from NYC all over

It would be good to know how many times the caller has had to jump out of the way of an oncoming car,
or one that suddenly came out of nowhere.

Even more interesting is how suddenly there are fewer automobile accidents, and people are driving more carefully, just as
there are more bicycles on the roads....
.........Clearly bicyclists are making the roads safer....
... drivers are being more careful.

Conclusion, more bicyclists are needed.

Apr. 10 2012 10:50 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

I'm a bike rider. But most (not all)of the accidents I see are caused by bike riders. They whip through red lights, go against traffic on one way streets and go full speed through groups of people crossing streets. Riding a bike in NYC is dangerous. But bike riders have to realize they are responsible for many of the problems. Even I, on my bike, have to watch out for bike mssgrs(the main culprits)as well as trucks, cars and taxis

Apr. 10 2012 10:50 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

Ever since the bike ticketing blitz, I've been trying to comply with the laws more (stopping at red light even if there are NO cars or pedestrians around). I've also put a bell on my bike and have been using the bell more than screaming out to people. I find that nobody responds to the bell. Personally I hate when a cyclist races past me from behind without some kind of warning. So, on my approach, I'll ring the bell several times letting the pedestrian hear me approaching - but 9 times out of 10, nobody looks up.

Apr. 10 2012 10:49 AM
bobw from manhattan

clearly, PEOPLE must have mutual respect, no matter what mode of transportation they use in the city. as a pedestrian, i have to deal with bad cyclists. as a cyclist, i have to deal with bad pedestrians. as a driver -- well, i'm not worried about getting killed by a cyclist or pedestrian, no matter how inconveniencing they can be. people need to give right of way to those in the right. pedestrians need to stay out of the bike lanes, cyclists need to stay off the sidewalks, and cars need to be more careful around cyclists and pedestrians, since a couple of tons of steel moving at 30+ mph can be fatal to those without the protection of steel and airbags surrounding them.

Apr. 10 2012 10:49 AM
inferring from occlusion of background from Suffolk

I really wish cyclists wouldn't ride on Long Island in black clothing without lights or reflectors at night.

Apr. 10 2012 10:49 AM
David from Stuyvesant Town

Yes, it MIGHT be that per capita, per foot of roadway, cyclists break more laws in NYC than drivers. MAYBE. But the reason that everyone has close call stories with cyclists is because they're more perceptible. A breathing, flesh and blood bike operator brushes past you. You notice. But get on a bike in NYC and you will see that there are close calls perpetrated by drivers EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME, but pedestrians don't carp about it because they don't notice them. They don't pay any attention to the guy driving aggressively while texting--THAT'S A CLOSE CALL, and bike haters don't complain about it, because they dont notice how rampant it is. Or the motorized red light runner. Happens ALL THE TIME in Manhattan. THAT'S A CLOSE CALL, but bike haters don't carp about it because they don't notice it. Instead of noticing the 2,000 to 12,000 pound menace doing 40 miles per hour, they notice the 200 pound menace doing 18 miles per hour. It's a failure of human perceptions.

Apr. 10 2012 10:49 AM
Jane Rubinsky from Manhattan

I'm a middle-aged woman who both walks and bikes frequently around the city, and I find that there is a certain hostility toward female cyclists of a certain age (even more than toward others). I always look before walking across a bike lane, but I find that many pedestrians often stand right in front of a bicyclist, almost as a challenge. The other day, when I politely asked a group of people not to block the bike lane as I was approaching, one guy yelled after me, "Hey, get a car!" My response, yelled back: "Hey, get a brain"!

Apr. 10 2012 10:48 AM
Steve from Staten Island/Manhattan

As I cyclist I have to point out a probable cause of some bike pedestrian accidents. There are bikes that have a cult following called "Fixies". Single gear and NO BRAKES. You stop the bike by reversing your pedaling....very ineffective. It is ILLEGAL to ride a bike without at least one brake. I have seen police near Rockefeller Center giving tickets out to cyclist going through red lights when no traffic or pedestrians are around. When I pointed that bikes without brakes are clearly a bigger danger, he said he would take it up with his commander....he didn't know that. Tickets written for lack of brakes probably don't generate as much money for the city.

Apr. 10 2012 10:48 AM
Sondra from New Jersey

Bicyclists totally flout the law and while, of course, the don't deserve to be hit, they certainly endanger themselves and pedestrians by their behavior. In midtown, I cannot count the number of times I have stepped out to cross at the crosswalk when I have the light and a cyclist has sped past going through the light in the wrong direction! And, many times, I've had cyclists yell at me in this case! Not to mention when they ride on the sidewalks!

Apr. 10 2012 10:47 AM

If you kill a cyclist in Florida can you claim self defense?

Apr. 10 2012 10:47 AM
Lamar from Manhattan

I have ridden my bike in NYC for over 40 years and have been hit by cars several times and fortunately, I was able to walk away with none or minor scrapes. I am also an amateur bicycle racer; both provide me what I consider superior bike handling skills and street smarts. I am also a motorist for over 14 years driving in NYC. I am torn because as a cyclist, and a motorist, I have to be mindful of new and careless drivers, as well as unmindful pedestrians. I do not believer harsher penalties will be enough as a deterent because it would require jury trials where once cooler heads are established, blame will be hard to adjudicate.

Apr. 10 2012 10:47 AM
Ellen Novack from Tribeca

I was in Copenhagen last summer, where there are tons of bicycles riding fast, but because the cyclists must obey the traffic laws, pedestrians and cars know where they are and can count on them stopping at lights and staying in certain lanes. I think that's finally the only way bikes, cars and people can co-exist safely.

Apr. 10 2012 10:46 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Right on Rob and Hugh. The solipsism of bike riders is maddening.

A cyclist whacked me in the back while riding the WRONG way on a one way street in Lefferts Gardens. He yelled at me for not looking where I'm going.

Apr. 10 2012 10:46 AM
John from NYC

The bicyclists who deliver food in Manhattan have these battery-powered bicycles which is another concern for pedestrians since they are riding at a high speed. These food establishments need to emphasize safety to the delivery staff.

Apr. 10 2012 10:46 AM

More red-light cameras, please! Auto-ticket is the way to go. No officers needed - and a big revenue-raiser. Not to mention ultimate fear to run a red light.

Apr. 10 2012 10:46 AM
Lindsey from Brooklyn

New York is a city that is famous for aggressive, angry drivers. Why would anyone expect that the same city's cyclists would be any different?

This shouldn't be a drivers vs. bikers blame game. EVERYONE needs to slow down and be more considerate.

Apr. 10 2012 10:45 AM
JT from Manhattan

I'd like to know about those cases where buses make a turn on pedestrians in the crosswalk or cyclists who have the right of way, then it's reported that the bus driver didn't see them.

If a vehicle (like those double-decker buses) gives such poor visibility, why is it legal for use on the roads?

Apr. 10 2012 10:45 AM

The last caller just complained about having to stop or slow down for a cyclist when making a legal turn from the left or right turn lane. This happens to me all the time. The cyclist is in the right or left lane in this case and, therefore has the right of way. Would she complain about having to stop for a car on her left or right in a similar situation? The speed of the cyclist is irrelevant.

Apr. 10 2012 10:45 AM

In Holland, a good biking nation, drivers' training includes awareness of bicycles on the road, and teaches rules and guidelines for avoiding accidents. I think we'll be safery when we instruct drivers that they share the road, and give strategies to deal with multiple-vehicle traffic.

Apr. 10 2012 10:44 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Word for word everything that both the woman and the man have said in the opening minutes appy to bikers and pedestrians. The bikers have to be held responsible for accidents in which they injure pedestrians. There were four serious injuries in which bikers hit pedestrians in the period of a month last summer in Prospect Park. One woman was in a coma for a couple of months and another suffered brain injuries. The biking publicf including Transportation ALternatives hasn't addressed that issue at all. Bikers response is that traffic lights should be removed from the park(???) and that cars should be removed from the park. It must be noted that the accidents all happened when cars were banned from the park so they didn't play any part in them. What it shows is that bikers don't express any concern for pedestrians but only pursue their own interests.
I also wonder how many of the bike car accidents are caused by irresponsible bikers who never stop for red lights. They never follow traffic rules they rush through throngs of pedestrinas crossing with the lights. There was an outcry about a biker who was hit and killed in an intersection by the Atlantic Yards. BIkers wanted the dirver prosecuted. But surviellance videos showed that the biker had run a light and ridden right into the path of the SUV. ALso the fatal accident in Williamsburg was the result of a biker passing a large truck at night in it's blind spot and the truck turned right. You can't ignore laws and ride recklessly and expect someone els to be held accountable. Bikers have a large sense of entitlement. I would like to say it's not all bikers but really when was the last time you saew a biker sstop for a red light. Except when they were prevented by traffic going in the other direction. And when that's the case they stop in the crosswalk. There was even an editorial in the Daily News by a bkier explaining why they didn't have to stop for red lights. Really?

Apr. 10 2012 10:44 AM
Dianne from Upper West Side

A dear friend was hit by a restaurant delivery man on a bicycle and died later from the injuries.

I know this is different from non-commercial bicyclers, but those restaurant delivery guys scary. They don't usually wear reflective gear, don't have lights, etc.
Can't we at least get bicyclers to wear reflective gear, have lights & horns - to warn us that they're coming?

Apr. 10 2012 10:43 AM
rachel from Manhattan

I think bike riders should be expected have licenses just as driver's do.

Apr. 10 2012 10:43 AM
Mike from Manhattan

Two Questions:
When I was learning to drive in the Midwest, there was an unbreakable rule: The pedestrian has the right of way. Is a pedestrian was caught jay-walking they might be ticketed, but they still had the right of way over a motor vehicle. Is this not true in the state of New York?
Yesterday the police representative said that "society had made a judgement" in favor giving the benefit of the doubt to motor vehicles because there must be two violations before an accident between a motor vehicle and a bicycle could be classified as a crime. (He was vague enough in this pronouncement that he might have also been referring to a car hitting a pedestrian.) Is that a statute or proprietorial practice?

Apr. 10 2012 10:43 AM
Lin from NYC

How could this man say that it is not as scary being hit by a a bike than by a car? It is obviously different but if one is hit by a bike the result can be death, broken leg, hip
etc; also, bikes are very often on sidewalks and coming from behind us. Which brings me to skateboards and scooters and how many times little children (with parents and/or nannies right behind them) are gleefully careening down the sidewalk (and building

Apr. 10 2012 10:41 AM
Audrey from Brooklyn

As a cyclist, I am waaaay more afraid of hitting pedestrians that cars hitting me. Pedestrians are much more careless since they feel like they have the right of way. In general though I think in order for us to earn respect, we have to obey the laws. I see bikes run lights in front of cop cars and the cop cars do nothing. Pedestrians though, stepping out onto the street on the curb so they can look to see if they can jaywalk are much more dangerous to themselves and cyclists than cars are to bikes.

Apr. 10 2012 10:41 AM
bob from flushing

Hey, I was about to make a right turn on a street in Brooklyn Sunday when two bicyclists who had been riding behind me and to my right rode right in front of me as I was turning as though they somehow had the right of way because they were on bicycles.

These accidents are not always the driver's fault. And, yes, cyclists should receive tickets for actions that violate traffic law and simple common sense.

Apr. 10 2012 10:41 AM
Ellie Schweber from Riverdale

A friend of mine was killed two years ago when she needed to swerve to avoid an open car door and was then crushed by a bus. I wonder if there was any acknowledgement of fault in that case. This person was a strong advocate for bike commuting as well as removing lead from schools.

Apr. 10 2012 10:41 AM
Nina from East Village

As a daily bike rider in downtown Manhattan, I can testify to the fact that not only are cars a danger to cyclists, pedestrians are! And more-so!

In fact, far more dangerous than motor vehicles, are humans with ipods or texting while wandering aimlessly into bike lanes. Two good friends of mine have been in accidents with pedestrians in the bike lane on the westside highway, when people just spontaneously veered into the paths of their bicycles, without any warning. Is the cyclist at fault? I don't think so!
As a cyclist, I am acutely aware of all cars, cabs, taxis, other bikes and pedestrians around me. However, it seems that pedestrians are blithely unaware of where they are walking. I frequently ring my bell furiously to no avail, and the pedestrians glare at me as if I'm in the wrong. It's absolutely infuriating.

Apr. 10 2012 10:41 AM
Janet from Manhattan

What about NYPD enforcement of traffic laws for cyclists, who consistently and aggressively ignore them. The only reason more pedestrians aren't injured by cyclists is that we've reluctantly come to the realization that we no longer have a right of way, and that we have to practice "defensive" walking. It is of course tragic whenever a cyclist is injured or killed -- but why don't they take some responsibility for their own safety at least.

Apr. 10 2012 10:41 AM
Tasha from Atlanta, GA

The bike vs. car issue is a problem on many streets around America.
My brother was struck and dragged by a woman in an SUV after she ran a Stop sign in front of a bank parking lot.
He received a nice settlement because her survived, but suffered tremendously during the healing process.
I still think she should have received some punishment from the police. She didn't even get a ticket!

Apr. 10 2012 10:40 AM

Bicyclists may not be killing pedestrians, but there have been critical injuries, including several in Prospect Park. I was crossing — at a crosswalk, with the light in my favor, with my 6 year old — and a bicyclist tore through the crosswalk, barely missing us. When I yelled that this is why people want to crack down on bicyclists (no harsh language on my part), she turned around and started hurling swears at us, though _she_ had run the light and the crosswalk.

Bicyclists do themselves no favors by riding so viciously aggressively against pedestrians.

And pedestrians are a problem when they cross against the lights.

The big difference — cars are used like weapons by drivers. Not so bicycles, not so walking.

Apr. 10 2012 10:40 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

So cyclists routinely break every traffic law in the book - blowing red lights and riding the wrong way - resulting in countless pedestrian injuries, and this guy wants to make that behavior acceptable?

Apr. 10 2012 10:39 AM
john from office

So anytime there is an accident the driver has to be arrested?? because it involves a bike?? The police are correct, thats why they are called accidents. So bike riders are now a protected class?? Will they now be hate crimes against bikeriders ??

Apr. 10 2012 10:38 AM
Rob Westchester from westchester

We are all sorry that people have died.

The fact is, these cyclists are often extremely reckless and, yes, these accidents are preventable - preventable by the cyclists. They generally ride with a certain kind of arrogance and obstructiveness while the hog the road, and not share it.

They want drivers to obey laws while the *share* the road, but the rarely obey traffic laws - stops signs, red lights, occupying the road.

The issue of comparative negligence applies. Law enforcement likely uses this notion while trying to ascertain if a crime has been committed by a motor vehicle driver.

Apr. 10 2012 10:37 AM

Please look at rate of fatal motorcycle crashes with cars that result in arrest of drivers. How does this rate compare with the bike/car numbers that you are reporting.

Apr. 10 2012 10:36 AM

How about enforcing moving violations instead of doing what the NYPD does 99% of the time — writing parking tickets and harassing people of color?!

The city has laws against mere speeding or running a red light. Why not a law against simply hitting a bicyclist, at all?

By the way, this greatest of all cities routinely cuts and trashes the white memorial bikes.

Apr. 10 2012 10:35 AM

How about pedestrians?

Apr. 10 2012 10:33 AM

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