Driver Kills Brooklyn Cyclist and NYPD Again Reflexively Blames the Victim in the Press

NYPD cited no evidence that the deceased victim caused the crash, but that didn't stop the department from telling the media he ran a red light.

Atlantic Avenue at Rochester Avenue. Photo: Google Maps
Atlantic Avenue at Rochester Avenue. Photo: Google Maps

A man killed by a motorist while riding a bike in Bedford-Stuyvesant yesterday was the fifth New York City cyclist fatality in the last four weeks. NYPD continued its practice of blaming the victim in the press while citing no evidence that the cyclist caused the crash.

According to NYPD, the cyclist, a 47-year-old man whose name had not been released as of late this morning, was riding north on Rochester Avenue at around 5:49 p.m. when he was hit by the driver of a Nissan SUV, who was westbound on Atlantic Avenue.

The victim was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital.

NYPD withheld the name of the driver, who was identified by DNAinfo as a 19-year-old woman. Police did not charge or ticket her.

The account of the crash NYPD provided to Streetsblog said the investigation was ongoing and did not speculate on what caused the collision. Regardless, police told DNAinfo the cyclist “disobeyed a steady red light,” though they “didn’t specify how they knew that.”

When motorists killed cyclists Corbin Carr, in Manhattan, and Ronald Burke, in Brooklyn, on consecutive days in June, NYPD in each case told the media the victim ran a red. But in neither case could police point to evidence, such as witness statements or video of the crash, to substantiate those claims.

Recently, NYPD blamed cyclists Dan HanegbyKelly Hurley, and Lauren Davis for their own deaths before further investigation revealed that driver behavior was the cause. In many cases police seem to jump to conclusions or rely wholly on the driver’s version of events to shape their initial accounts to the press. Despite the lack of verifiable evidence about yesterday’s crash, the DNAinfo headline and lede paragraph run with the NYPD’s assertion of the victim’s culpability.

Atlantic Avenue consistently ranks as one of the city’s most dangerous streets for traffic crashes, but the section scheduled for safety improvements does not include the intersection with Rochester Avenue.

New York City motorists have killed 10 cyclists in 2017. Tuesday’s crash occurred in the 81st Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Robert Cornegy.