NYPD: No Charges for Driver Who Fatally Doored Cyclist Aaron Padwee in Long Island City

It's the second time this year a cyclist has died after a car occupant doored him and thrust him into traffic. By failing to enforce the law against dooring, NYPD is signaling to motorists and passengers that they don't have to look out for cyclists.

21st Street and 46th Avenue in Long Island City. Image: Google Maps
21st Street and 46th Avenue in Long Island City. Image: Google Maps

A driver doored a cyclist in Long Island City yesterday, throwing him into the path of an unlicensed driver in a commercial box truck who inflicted fatal injuries.

The crash happened at around 3 p.m., as the victim — identified as Aaron Padwee by memorials at the crash site — was biking northbound on 21st Street, approaching 46th Avenue.

“Witnesses told police the cyclist crashed into the opened door, flipping over it,” the Daily News reported. “He landed in front of an oncoming truck, which ran him over, cops said.”

Padwee sustained trauma to his head and body. He was pronounced dead at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens Hospital.

Dooring is illegal, because it injures and kills people. But since NYPD almost never enforces the law, even when the victim dies as a result, drivers and passengers have less incentive to watch what they’re doing.

Police filed no charges against the driver who precipitated yesterday’s crash. Dooring has caused at least six cyclist fatalities in NYC since 2012, including two this year, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. NYPD issued a ticket in just one of those cases.

“Police officers think that it’s just as much the fault of the cyclist as of the doorers, which is not the law,” attorney Steve Vaccaro, who represents crash victims, told Gothamist after a driver fatally doored delivery worker Juan Pacheco in Manhattan in April. “I don’t think police officers are taught the law about opening doors unsafely.”

The driver of the box truck was identified as 32-year-old Agustin Osorio. According to court records, police and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown charged Osorio with third degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. For running over and killing a person while driving without a valid license, Osorio faces a maximum penalty of 30 days plus a $500 fine, though such cases are normally pled down to a reduced fine and no jail time.

This fatal crash occurred in the 108th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Jimmy Van Bramer, who has recently waffled on protected bike lane plans for 43rd Avenue and Skillman Avenue.

Like those streets, 21st Street is a known public safety hazard. At least six people have been killed in crashes on 21st Street since 2009. In 2016, after a hit-and-run driver killed Sean Crume, 45, at 21st Street and 30th, Queens Community Board 1 endorsed a “comprehensive redesign of the entire length of 21st Street along Complete Street principles,” but the city has taken no action since then.