Local Pol and Cyclist Group Want More NYPD Accountability for Fatal Traffic Crashes

Believing that the NYPD has withheld information about fatal traffic crashes, Brad Lander and Transportation Alternatives have filed "Friends of the Court" briefs.

A local pol and a cycling advocacy group are calling for more accountability from the NYPD when it comes to investigating fatal traffic crashes, as well as those that result in serious injuries.

Transportation Alternatives and Councilmember Brad Lander, D-Park Slope, filed Amici Curiae (“Friends of the Court” briefs) in support of the Lefevre family’s lawsuit against the NYPD for allegedly withholding information about the death of their son, Mathieu Lefevre, who died in October after being hit by a truck while he was riding his bike in Williamsburg.

“I was shocked to find out that only 19 detectives citywide, along with a handful of supervisors, are responsible for investigating hundreds of fatal crashes occurring in New York City each year—and that there are literally none for thousands of non-fatal accidents that result in serious injury or paralysis,” Lander said in a statement about his brief. “It is time for the NYPD to tackle serious traffic crashes with the skill and determination merited by what is the number one cause of death for children ages one to twelve in our city.”

When the NYPD does not release the details and other information about these types of accidents, the families of traffic fatality victims are not able to get closure, Transportation Alternatives’ executive director, Paul Steely White, believes. 

“The NYPD’s unwillingness to turn over information to the families of crash victims compounds their suffering,” said Paul Steely White in a statement. “By releasing information in dribs and drabs, the NYPD is literally adding insult to injury. There is no acceptable justification for stonewalling victims’ families.” 

According to Transportation Alternatives, the group submitted six Freedom of Information requests to the NYPD in August 2011, to seek information related to the investigation of crashes that were reported in the media. The group said that they have not received any documents from the NYPD.

Councilmember Steven Levin is also trying to reform the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad, which he said only go to the scene of an accident only if “a person dies or is likely to die,” he said at a Community Board 6 meeting last week.

“Those people with broken backs, necks and hips are not investigated,” he said during the meeting.

Levin sent a letter to the NYPD Commissioner, Ray Kelly, to request that police to reconcile their investigation response and suggest legislation.  

“There is obviously serious physical injury that do not involve death and need to be properly investigated,” Levin said.

Last October, Mathieu Lefevre was killed by a flatbed truck driver who, according to police reports, did not signal his turn at the intersection of Morgan Avenue and Meserole Street in Brooklyn. The driver parked the vehicle a few blocks away and walked away, but was not charged with fleeing the scene or reckless endangerment.

Last week, the Brooklyn Paper reported that the driver was not charged, because police say Lefevre was partly to blame for the accident— as he was supposedly attempting to pass the truck on the right.

Peter March 24, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Ok, you don't like bicyclists, we get it. What you posted has *nothing* to do with the fact that NYPD doesn't enforce traffic laws in this neighborhood, or this city. Speeding and reckless driving by cars is endemic in this town, and NYPD does nothing about it.
Parksloper March 24, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Joanne and Michael Padwee, I agree 1000%. If bicyclists want to bike around with cars and interact with pedestrians plus have more bike lanes installed then they need to adhere to the same standards as drivers ie tests, license plates, insurance etc.
David Z. March 24, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I agree 1000%. If motorists want to drive around with bikes and interact with pedestrians plus have more car lanes installed, repaved, plowed, painted, and maintained then the need to stop killing hundreds of and injuring thousands of people every year. Why, some of them aren't even licensed and still get behind the wheel and kill people. What winds up happening? Just a $500 fine!
Marine June 13, 2012 at 01:29 PM
@Peter,everybody that is critical of cyclist hates them. I ride daily and I have to admit that some cyclist are idiots. Yesterday AM I was watching a news report on the Bike lanes on 2nd Ave. I saw at least 5 cyclist leave the bike lane and go out into traffic around the right side of left turning cars,without looking or signaling. We can't keep pointing our fingers at cars and pedestians while not taking responsibility for our actions.
Marine June 13, 2012 at 01:33 PM
How old are you David Z.,12???


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