NYPD in Default Victim-Blaming Mode After Yellow Cab Driver Kills Cyclist in Chinatown

NYC motorists killed four people riding bikes over a 15-day period in June and July. In every case, NYPD said the victim ran a red while citing no corroborative evidence.

Canal Street at Bowery, where a yellow cab driver killed cyclist Edouard Menuau. Photo: Google Maps
Canal Street at Bowery, where a yellow cab driver killed cyclist Edouard Menuau. Photo: Google Maps

Edouard Menuau, a cyclist struck by a yellow cab driver in Manhattan in June, died earlier this month from injuries caused by the crash. NYPD filed no charges against the driver and told the press the victim ran a red light. Menuau was one of four cyclists killed by drivers and blamed by NYPD over a 15-day span in June and July.

NYPD told DNAinfo Menuau, 59, was biking east on Canal Street at around 6:44 a.m. on June 26 when he crossed Bowery against the signal and was struck by the cab driver, who police said was traveling north on Bowery in a Ford SUV.

Menuau, who according to DNAinfo lived at the New York City Rescue Mission shelter, was transported to Bellevue Hospital. He died on August 14.

“Police didn’t say how they knew the cyclist disobeyed the traffic signal,” DNAinfo reported.

Menuau, Corbin Carr, Ronald Burke, and an unnamed 81-year-old man were fatally struck by motorists while riding bikes in Manhattan and Brooklyn in separate crashes between June 26 and July 11. In every case, NYPD told the press the victim caused the crash by running a red but cited no evidence, such as video or witness statements, to substantiate the department’s account.

In cases where the victim is no longer alive, NYPD often accepts the driver’s version of events as the final word on how a collision occurred. The department’s practice of concealing crash reports makes it all the more difficult for the public to discern fact from speculation. In several cases, the NYPD account has later been proven false, but by that time media attention has usually faded.

Because he was not charged or ticketed, the cab driver who killed Menuau — a 67-year-old man whose identity was shielded by police — faces no sanctions from the Taxi and Limousine Commission. TLC-licensed drivers have killed at least eight people walking and biking in 2017, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. NYPD filed charges against two of those drivers.

Canal and Bowery, at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, is the site of more serious crashes than 90 percent of Manhattan intersections. A recent DOT project improved pedestrian crossings on the east side of the intersection, but both streets still carry high volumes of motorized traffic that stream across the free Manhattan Bridge, with no provision for safe cycling.

Edouard Menuau was killed in the 5th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Margaret Chin.