Ray Kelly: We Investigate Accidents In Case of Serious Injury or Death

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 05:03 PM

NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly (photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Police commissioner Ray Kelly Tuesday affirmed the NYPD's policy about how -- and under what circumstances -- the police department bike and pedestrian crashes.  Transportation Nation first reported  on this back in April.

Kelly was at One Police Plaza Tuesday for the department's annual Medal Day ceremony. In the Q&A afterwards, he was asked by a reporter about this issue. The question came a day after a lawsuit was filed accusing the department of failing to thoroughly investigate when pedestrians and cyclists are struck by cars.

You can read the exchange, or listen to the audio below.

Q: Do you want to respond to transportation advocates who are questioning whether the department investigates deaths (and) injuries of bicyclists who are not likely to die?

Kelly: What is the question? I'm not..what is the question? 

Q:  The transportation advocates are saying the department doesn't investigate deaths...(Kelly: deaths?) involving bicyclists unless the bicyclists are likely to die. Is that something that you -

Kelly: We have a policy for accidents. We don’t have a different policy for bike accidents or accidents involving bicycles. We have -- if people are seriously injured, our accident investigation squad does an investigation.

Q: So they would investigate all accidents involving bicyclists?

Kelly:  Involving serious injury or death.

Q: Serious injury or death?

Kelly: Yes.



Comments [6]

Steven F

Sam, you paint far too optimistic a picture.

There are many fatalities where AIS never shows up, and practically never shows up no matter how serious or egregious a non fatal crash is. Despite traffic law requiring investigation of both classes of crashes. Unfortunately, this has been well documented.

Possibly worse, in terms of crash prevention, is the NYPS systemic refusal to take reports of serious "near-misses" by drunk, drugged, distracted or deliberately over-aggressive drivers. In cases where a driver verbally threatens to "run you down" if you don't immediately do what they demand, the police will not take any report of assault with a deadly weapon.

The logic of this escapes me, because if the same person were to point a gun out of the car and make the same demand, the police would be down on that person like a ton of bricks. Gun bad. Car not bad?

Can Ray Kelly can explain this to me: how a 1/2 inch wide bullet is dangerous to me, while a six foot wide, two ton car uphill of me is "harmless". Most people can aim to kill a lot better with a six foot wide car than they can with a 1/2 wide inch bullet. When Kelly can explain the distinction between guns and cars as deadly weapons, then I will begin to take what else he says seriously.

Only a small percentage of people carry guns, only a small percentage of drivers are repeatedly causing serious crashes. We want both of these off the streets, or at least not carrying guns or in control of motor vehicles. If the police would follow up on reports of grossly unsafe driving, even without there being a crash, they would be finding large numbers of unlicensed, uninsured drivers, in time to prevent deaths and injury, not just occasionally coming to mop up the bodies after the crashes.

Jun. 13 2012 10:56 AM
Steven F

A fish rots from the head.

Kelly may actually know nothing about traffic law and traffic safety; or he may not care that more New Yorkers are being killed by cars than by guns. Yet Kelly persists in expending vast quantities of NYPD time and money stopping people on the mere suggestion of finding a gun, while refusing to allocate the resources to investigate car crashes that could remove the killer drivers from our roads.

If Kelly truly knows nothing about traffic law or safety, he is incompetent and should be replaced. If Kelly truly does not care about stopping the deaths and injuries caused by motor vehicles, this is malfeasance, depraved indifference, and he should be fired.

Jun. 13 2012 10:31 AM

The problem isn't that they don't investigate at all, the problem is that they wait until someone dies, and then 'investigate' days after the accident, after much (if not all) evidence has tainted or washed away.

Jun. 13 2012 10:13 AM
"Transportation Advocate"

Jesus H. Christ, why don't you be a real journalist and own the question rather than framing it as a claim made by "transportation advocates?"

Why don't you present Ray Kelly with some facts -- there are numerous cases where ped/bike deaths were not investigated and where killer-drivers were exonerated almost instantly. These are facts, not claims by "Transportation Advocates." BTW, what the F is a "transportation advocate?" What does that mean even?

Make Ray Kelly respond to actual, unassailable facts and events. And when he makes a claim that is obviously untrue -- as he did in this case -- follow up on that and press him. Obviously, NYPD does not investigate many cases where people have been seriously injured by cars. You know that to be a fact. So, why let Ray Kelly get away with that statement?

I mean, come on WNYC. You guys have access to the commissioner. Gothamist, Streetsblog, "transportation advocates"... these other guys do not have access. Why don't you use your access to press this virtually unaccountable commissioner with some real questions and try to make him answer for this stuff. Be a journalist in the public interest.

What a wasted opportunity.

Jun. 13 2012 09:52 AM

This contradicts what his Deputy Chiefs and other officers said at a February 2012 hearing at City Council. They said that AIS is dispatched *only* in the cases of "likely to die" or fatalities. "Mere" serious injuries do NOT automatically (or at all) get AIS dispatched.

Jun. 13 2012 09:43 AM

It's true! If you're injured or killed by a car while biking or walking the NYPD might investigate the crash for as much as one whole hour before exonerating the driver.

Jun. 12 2012 05:15 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.