Truck Driver Kills Cyclist in Williamsburg, and NYPD Blames the Victim

The police account is reminiscent of previous fatal crashes where police mistakenly said the victim behaved erratically.

Photo: Philip Leff
Photo: Philip Leff

A tractor trailer driver struck and killed a 30-year-old man biking in Williamsburg around noon today, according to NYPD. Police did not release the names of the victim or the driver.

Initial NYPD reports blamed the victim for his own death. Police said he was biking eastbound on Metropolitan Avenue at Graham Avenue when he “lost control and fell from the bicycle” before the driver, also eastbound, struck him.

NYPD’s account is reminiscent of previous fatal crashes where police mistakenly blamed the victim. In June, police said Dan Hanegby “swerved” on his bike before a charter bus driver struck and killed him, but video footage obtained by Gothamist showed Hanegby moving predictably and the bus driver accelerating before running over him. Last year, police said cyclist James Gregg “collided into the rear tire” of the off-route tractor trailer that ran over and killed him on Sixth Avenue in Park Slope.

The victim of today’s crash was rushed to Woodhull Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The driver, 47, stayed on the scene and has not been charged, police said.

Motorists have now killed 27 cyclists on NYC streets this year, including the October attack on the West Side Greenway, compared to 18 fatalities in 2016.

Reader Philip Leff sent in a photo of the truck parked on Metropolitan Avenue on the block west of the intersection where NYPD said the collision occurred (top). The vehicle, registered to Ridgewood-based Brisita Truck Corp., appears to exceed the city’s 55-foot limit for truck length.

In the last two days alone, two people riding bikes have lost their lives in collisions with large trucks. And yet Mayor de Blasio has said nothing about how the city plans to reduce the risk posed by oversized vehicles, at the same time as his administration plans an enforcement blitz of e-bikes, which have not been implicated in any deaths.

The collision today occurred in the 90th Precinct and in the council district represented by Antonio Reynoso.

The last time a motorist killed someone biking in the 90th Precinct, officers responded by ticketing cyclists at the scene of the crash.

You can share your concerns about bike safety with the 90th Precinct’s community council when it meets next, on January 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lindsay Houses Community Center.