Trucker Kills Cyclist; Daily News: Are Bikes More Dangerous Than Cars?

A truck driver ran over and killed a 29-year-old male cyclist in Brooklyn this morning, the Daily News reports. According to the write-up, the driver turned right from Metropolitan Avenue onto Gardner Avenue, crushing the unidentified cyclist as he tried to pass on the right side of the truck. The driver did not realize he’d struck someone and had to be flagged down by another truck driver. Police have reviewed surveillance video and will not file charges against him.

The News presents the NYPD’s reasoning like so:

“The bicyclist was at fault,” a police source said. “He should have seen the driver was about to turn. The bicyclist tried to rush by and you can’t do that. The driver had to be going about 5 m.p.h.”

While we soon learn that the cyclist was wearing a helmet, the piece does not inform readers whether the truck driver signaled his turn, whether the truck was equipped with the proper mirrors, or whether the driver should have been able to see the victim before turning into him and crushing his skull.

To cap it off, the Daily News included this poll:

So I guess that’s how to settle the question of what causes crashes. If only there was some rigorous data and analysis the Daily News could get its hands on instead.

  • Anonymous

    Terrible. Just terrible.

    And as for the article–the It Was All His Fault attitude of the article means the comments are a horror show. Not uniformly bad, of course, but bringing out the worst in humanity, that’s for sure, not least in almost everyone’s surreal confidence that the driver was Doing Absolutely Nothing Wrong.

  • Fbfree

    While I’m sure most readers here will know this, but it’s always good to find an opportunity to promote safety with my write in answer to the poll.

    People driving, people cycling, and all other users of roads have a shared responsibility for road safety.  Due to their greater ability to cause harm, people driving have a greater responsibility than people cycling.  Still, we all have responsibilities and they need to be enforced.

  • Eric McClure

    Release the tapes.

  • Kaja

    Passing trucks, or anyone, on the right, is indeed dumb like bricks. But why are the tapes not out?

    I’m gonna assume the tapes show us driver negligence, because I can think of no other reason to keep the tapes quiet.

  • Pollster

    The media barely lives in a “both things can be true” world.  Who knows the full story, but it can be entirely possible that, in this case, the driver was not to blame and that the cyclist took an unnecessary risk that resulted in tragedy.  It can also be true that, in general, trucks and cars are a bigger threat on the road than cyclists weaving in and out of traffic.  Sadly, this poll just perpetrates dangerous myths and does nothing towards finding a solution.

    But, yeah, it’s much more important to sum it all up with the idea that a helmet would have made a difference here.  When a soldier is shot and killed by a bazooka, do reporters ask if the private was wearing a bullet proof vest?

  • Paul in Vancuver, WA

    I was in NYC a week ago and I rode Metropolitan from Kew gardens to Williamsburg.  I admit I did my share  of weaving between cars when traffic was congested.   I also observed all kinds of risky cycling in NY in general and on Metropolitan Ave in particular.  Passing on the right through and intersection is something that must be done with a an extra large dose of caution and awareness of traffic. 

    I won’t let the truck driver off the hook especially with out having facts.  Whether the truck driver was truly ‘blameless” (doubtful) or not, the cyclist’s best chance of avoiding the accident was to expect the truck to turn right whether it was signalling or not and to ride accordingly.  I would not be surprised if the cyclist was indeed actually overtaking the truck on the right at a speed that would not have allowed him to react and if that is the case the accident should be held up as an example of why cyclists need to excercise extreme caution if passing on the right approaching intersections.

    I have read many reports of these kinds of “right hook by truck/bus” accidents including 3 notable fatalities here in Portland OR.  I try to avoid right side positioning along large vehicles.  Although I am still a pretty aggressive cyclist I strongly prefer to pass larger vehicles in particular on the left. 

    The day I rode Metropolitan Ave and another day on Myrtle Ave I recall several times when I cut left across the traffic lane and passed a truck on the left (possibly crossing the center line) to avoid the right hook potential,  I also nnoticed there was a LOT of truck traffic in that area.

    Ride Safely please.

  • we’re losing int eh voting right now. it’s asinine and stupid… but still, S’blog readeres… please flood the link and vote properly.

  • Driver

    “The truck’s front bumper clipped the bike and the cyclist tumbled under the vehicle and was killed instantly, witnesses said.”The area on the side of the front bumper is a blind spot because it is in front of the side view mirrors.  The thing is that when you are in motion, you can see if that area is clear or not before it becomes a blind spot.  But if someone enters that spot from behind while you are moving, you may or may not see them enter the blind spot.  I’m sorry this cyclist was killed, but the cyclists here must know, passing a truck closely on the right at an intersection (or anywhere for that matter but especially where the truck could be turning) is not a good move.  I hope we all take something from this besides “the driver is a killer and must be guilty”.  I don’t think anyone here really thinks the truck driver saw the cyclist and figured I’ll just run him over.  I too think the police should release the surveillance videos when they exist in any fatal accident. 
    That poll is asinine. 

  • Driver

    “I’m gonna assume the tapes show us driver negligence, because I can think of no other reason to keep the tapes quiet.”

    I don’t think they don’t release the tapes from other fatal accidents either.  Releasing surveilance tapes should be an across the board policy.  They should all be a part of public record of some sort (or not be).  Either way it should be consistent, there’s no reason the police should be picking and choosing which surveillance tapes they decide to release. 

  • Joe R.

    Perhaps the truck driver could have done something to avoid hitting the cyclist, perhaps not.  Hard to tell without seeing the tapes.  Nevertheless, the cyclist here violated one of the cardinal unwritten rules about cycling-never pass vehicles on the right when going through intersections UNLESS you have room to manuever out of the way should they turn.  This goes double for large vehicles with blind spots.  About two weeks ago, I passed an 18-wheeler on the right.  He was on Francis Lewis Blvd., in the left turn lane, making a left turn onto the LIE service road.  I was also making the same left turn right behind him.  Because of the size of his vehicle, he was turning rather slowly.  I didn’t feel like waiting until he finished the turn, especially since the don’t walk was flashing, meaning I could get stuck at the light waiting for him (cross traffc here was too heavy to do an Idaho stop were that to happen, and it’s a really long light)  Anyway, I had room to swing into the left lane.  Futhermore, as I made my turn, I swung out as wide as I could.  This wasn’t only to give him as wide a berth as possible, but also to make sure I was well out of his blind spot in case he decided to suddenly gun the accelerator as the light was changing.  In general, I really don’t feel comfortable passing a moving truck or bus on the right unless there’s at least a 10 foot cushion of space.  And I also try to ride the left side of the lane when passing a bus stopped at a bus stop to give a cushion in case it pulls out.

    In the end, safe cycling is all about leaving yourself these cushions of space should something unexpected occur.  If traffic becomes so heavy you can’t, then it’s advisible to either slow down, or stick to passing on the left.  I still don’t think the cyclist here should be castigated.  I learned all these things I just wrote from experience.  At 29, especially if he just started riding a few years ago, he may not have.  That’s why I think it’s imperative for experienced cyclists to teach newcomers what they’ve spent decades learning.  They’ll become better cyclists, and a few lives might be saved. This is just a tragedy all around.

  • Anonymous

    I bike that stretch of road fairly frequently. After biking down the hill on Grand St, which has bike lanes, I’m deposited on Metropolitan Avenue which is 2 lanes wide, plus a lane for turning left along most of the way, and a lane for parking. Cars are fond of cutting me off at intersections. The Daily News might characterize my situation as trying to pass the car on the right, but I’d call the car’s behavior “making a right hand turn from the left lane.”

  • “The bicyclist was wearing a helmet but it wasn’t enough to protect him from the weight of the truck, police said.”

    That is really the stupidest sentence I have read in a long time.

    These people seem to write their stories on killed cyclists from a checklist with nothing on but “Helmet?” and “Possibility of illegal or unwise maneuver by cyclist?” The answer to the first is either an occasion for tragic irony, or satisfied tut-tutting. Both are predicated on a profoundly unrealistic and scientifically baseless faith in the ability of sport helmets to affect the outcome of crashes with multi-ton automobiles. And the answer to the second is literally always yes, it’s just a matter of careful editing.

    That the cyclist was “squeezing” or even “passing” on the right is just another claim without evidence. Maybe the cyclist had been there all along; maybe the truck caught up with him? Maybe traffic was stopped and he did ride by on the right, the same place we’re supposed to be to let cars pass us. Speaking of which, The News’s gruesomely opportunistic poll picks a strange thing to call out: if things happened like they say, doing more of that hated “weaving in and out of traffic” may well have saved this guy’s life.

    I see large trucks taking turns at ridiculous speeds all the time. Inevitably they run over and kill people, mostly pedestrians they haven’t noticed–so, congratulations, it’s technically not murder. You can’t live here without being in their shadow and risking death several times a week. Call it dumb if you want, but what you are really saying is that it is dumb to be on the street at all. And perhaps it is? It is certainly not smart to tolerate the kind of driving we see every day, nor its fatal results.

  • Clarence Eckerson

    Right now I am in Iceland on my honeymoon.  And I am seething at this headline.

    Not knowing the facts of what exactly happened here, it just makes me think…this would NEVER have happened in Iceland.  And I don’t think Iceland is the livable streets capital of the world.  By far.  But even here in the city of Reykjavik about 90% of the streets you don’t even have to worry about a car interacting with you.  I have wandered into the street only to realize there is a car behind me waiting patiently to decide whether I am crossing the road.

    Our city needs to change drastically.  We’ve put a dent in it in the last 5 years, but we still have so long to go unfortunately.  American drivers (and streets) are just awful.  

  • Anonymous

    I guess since no criminality is ever indicated in any accident involving a car or truck killing a cyclist or pedestrian, we can assume that stepped up law enforcement would have no effect, and therefore conclude that cars and trucks simply kill a large number of people as a side effect of their normal, lawful operation. 

    The question is whether our society will shrug and continue to accept this, or do things that are actually proven to improve safety like reduce auto speeds, and build bike and ped infrastructure that prevents conflicts with the lawfully operated death mobiles. It seems like an obvious choice to me, but I’m a bit of a cynic about society’s ability to make logic-based decisions these days.

  • krstrois

    This is awful. 

    We live about ten blocks west of where this happened. In the ten+ years we’ve been here the neighborhood has gone from almost totally industrial to a mix of residential and industrial with recent mega-gentrification. The traffic patterns have not changed accordingly, particularly because Metropolitan, Grand and Johnson are speedways to Queens. This is a bike-heavy neighborhood because of the long distances between subway stations and paucity of bus service. Add constant street harassment and scary-empty nights that deter walking and you’ve got a lot of people who use bikes. Not just kids/hipsters, but workers, too. 

    It’s hard to describe how fast and erratic car and truck traffic is in this neighborhood. And I agree with mikecherepko — I regularly see turning right from the left lane. There is no way to know what happened unless they release the surveillance tape. I’m very sorry for this cyclist’s family. 

  • Unreal

    If this were your brother/husband/son or anyone related to you, would you really want the world to see this horrible accident? I just don’t understand why any of you would think that is something for everyone to see. I guess you are just the sick freaks who get off on others misery. You should be ashamed.

  • Guest

    Rest in peace, Chris. You will be missed.

  • As an LCI, I always teach my students to never pass a waiting vehicle closest to the intersection on the right unless you are absolutely sure you can get in front of that vehicle and into a position that the driver can see you before that vehicle begins to move.

    Unfortunately I beginning to believe that most cyclists cause their own problems on the road.  Just as there is plenty of bad driving, there is WAY TOO MUCH bad cycling out there too. And from my own personal observations New Yorkers are some of the worst at both.

    Also, was there a bike lane to the right of the motor vehicle lane at the intersection?

  • carma

    as a driver and a cyclist, you NEVER pass on the right.  its just one of those rules that you HAVE to know.  theres a reason why its one of the rules of the road.  as unfortunate as this situation is, i am feeling that a cyclist can be a better cyclist if they drive more often and a driver can be a better driver if they get on a bicycle more often.  this way there is more of a mutual understanding of the road.

  • carma

    the NYDN polls are absolutely stupid.  they dont offer a simple YES/NO/UNSURE response, but have to add their idiotic comments which makes the poll completely biased and illogical.

  • KeNYC2030

    Pairing a news story about the tragic death of a 29-year-old cyclist with a poll strongly suggesting that cyclists are responsible for their own deaths is morally reprehensible.  Can you imagine the News running a story about a 5-year-old child hit by a car alongside a poll asking whether children are a menace on our streets?  There is a special place in journalistic hell reserved for the editor who made this call.  

  • No conclusions can be drawn unless you’d be able to analyze the video material, or you’d have been a witness at the scene, consciously seeing the accident while it happened. In Germany, a motorist killing a pedestrian or a cyclist is always found guilty unless there’s proof otherwise. Often drivers end up in jail and losing the license to drive. This does not mean that cyclists and pedestrians should not regard traffic rules. 

    New York City can often be a traffic jungle, with too many dangerous intersections, bad roads, and unclear signals. The car is the king of the road in America, and until that changes (will take for Americans to pay real prices for gas), pedestrians, and above all, cyclists will have to be humble and cautious in traffic. 

    Serious education to both motorists and cyclists can help prevent a lot of unnecessary accidents. I’ve always been baffled by the fact that people with regular driver licenses are allowed to drive pretty large trucks. That would not be possible in Europe. Also many drivers in cities like NYC have licenses issued in other states, where during their lessons they probably had very little, if at all, to do with cyclists using the roads. Drivers from the country and small towns should be required to do additional exams before being allowed to drive in the big city. 

    Cyclists should be educated too. Being a Dutchman, I passed a cycling exam when i was about 9 years old. It always helped me to be very aware of all the dangers involved in traffic. Always give signals, whatever you do. Be visible, and in front of motor vehicles whenever possible. Look around and use your ears. Assessing what’s happening in traffic is as much auditive as visual. Never pass a truck on the right AND left side, at or near intersections. The other day I was cycling on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint, waiting at the right side 10 ft. behind a very long truck at the Greenpoint Ave intersection. The light had been red for a while and the truck was signaling to turn left. Yet, a cyclist (not wearing a helmet) dared to pass the truck on the left side. I tried to warn him but the noise was too loud. If he would have been killed at that very intersection, I would have felt no regret for the irresponsible cyclist. 

    Will Bloomberg’s pro-bicycle policy really succeed, he will have to invest a lot more in education, and not only lay out fancy bike lanes (that often not meaningful connect to each other, and are too often blocked). 

  • No conclusions can be drawn unless you’d be able to analyze the video material, or you’d have been a witness at the scene, consciously seeing the accident while it happened. In Germany, a motorist killing a pedestrian or a cyclist is always found guilty unless there’s proof otherwise. Often drivers end up in jail and losing the license to drive. This does not mean that cyclists and pedestrians should not regard traffic rules. 

    New York City can often be a traffic jungle, with too many dangerous intersections, bad roads, and unclear signals. The car is the king of the road in America, and until that changes (will take for Americans to pay real prices for gas), pedestrians, and above all, cyclists will have to be humble and cautious in traffic. 

    Serious education to both motorists and cyclists can help prevent a lot of unnecessary accidents. I’ve always been baffled by the fact that people with regular driver licenses are allowed to drive pretty large trucks. That would not be possible in Europe. Also many drivers in cities like NYC have licenses issued in other states, where during their lessons they probably had very little, if at all, to do with cyclists using the roads. Drivers from the country and small towns should be required to do additional exams before being allowed to drive in the big city. 

    Cyclists should be educated too. Being a Dutchman, I passed a cycling exam when i was about 9 years old. It always helped me to be very aware of all the dangers involved in traffic. Always give signals, whatever you do. Be visible, and in front of motor vehicles whenever possible. Look around and use your ears. Assessing what’s happening in traffic is as much auditive as visual. Never pass a truck on the right AND left side, at or near intersections. The other day I was cycling on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint, waiting at the right side 10 ft. behind a very long truck at the Greenpoint Ave intersection. The light had been red for a while and the truck was signaling to turn left. Yet, a cyclist (not wearing a helmet) dared to pass the truck on the left side. I tried to warn him but the noise was too loud. If he would have been killed at that very intersection, I would have felt no regret for the irresponsible cyclist. 

    Will Bloomberg’s pro-bicycle policy really succeed, he will have to invest a lot more in education, and not only lay out fancy bike lanes (that often not meaningful connect to each other, and are too often blocked). 

  • Kaja

    The intersection in question has telephone poles at the apex of every sidewalk’s corner. A truck driver would HAVE to use the center or left lanes to make the turn — at the very least, turning left first, then right fairly hard — or else he’d collide with the telephone pole.

    Were this the case, then Chris would’ve been exactly where he was supposed to be by law — in the middle of the right travel lane, passing the truck. (Still a highly dangerous place to be, but, the law says be there.)There are also no stripes on the road of any kind. Not crosswalks, not lane markings.Would someone live there go shoot twenty minutes of video of trucks turning from Metropolitan south onto Gardner, please?Release. The. Tapes.

  • carma

    @twitter-342939148:disqus 

    Actually, to drive a pretty large truck, you do need a CDL.  (commercial drivers license), so its not quite true that any ol’ drivers license will be valid.

    Regarding different state issued licenses.  different states have different takes on the rules of the road for drivers.  thats why an out of state driver really may not know all the rules of the road for other states they are entering.  and an excellent point that less urban drivers will be less aware of city driving considering most of the country doesnt have something called pedestrians/cyclists.  Does it mean they shouldnt drive in the city.  no.  it does mean they better be aware of other things on the road besides cars.

    and yes, cycling education is very important.  Most ppl can ride on an open field.  but riding in traffic does require you additional knowledge of the rules of the road.  something many cyclists lack, which is not helping ppl’s image of cyclists as a whole.  as i said, driver’s need to be cyclists, and cyclists need to be drivers.  its a street for everybody afterall.

  • Anonymous

    A truck likely making a wide right turn, not even the loosest claim that the truck had signaled that turn, and a twenty-nine-year-old dead on the street–but even on Streetsblog it’s a chance for people to wag their finger at cyclists and tell them they need to learn the rules of the road.

    And can I just add that I’ve driven those 24-foot moving trucks four times now in Brooklyn and Queens, and my feeling is that if you’re not checking your mirrors every six seconds–as clearly this guy wasn’t, since he had to be stopped but could see the consequences of his actions in his mirrors–then you’re not driving responsibly.

    A pox on New York City street culture.

  • Driving an RV up to 26,000 lb doesn’t require a CDL in NY as far as I understand. Which is pretty big. The driver is high up, and has to deal with blind spots. 

  • Anonymous

     carma, I have to assume that the driver’s test in New York must not involve much more than filling in your name on a form based on the number of people who are completely unable to parallel park or drive in a straight line.  Also there are the unwritten rules of the road NYC drivers must learn on their own:  the speed minimum is 45mph on all city streets, motorists (esp in Brooklyn and Queens) are only required to wait at a red light for no more than 10-15 seconds and then can either pull ahead, or if there is a vehicle blocking the intersection, honk curse and swerve around the stopped car to run the red light; pedestrians have the wrong-of-way; always fail to signal before making a u-turn, and preferably execute said u-turn with multiple  forward/reverse moves; motorcycles should be ridden in a wheelie whenever possible, and finally, having a large, black SUV, white van, or box truck grants the driver the right to do anything at any time.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “He should have seen the driver was about to turn. The bicyclist tried to rush by and you can’t do that. The driver had to be going about 5 m.p.h.”

    If that is the case, the bicyclist was at fault.  But this assumes that the bicycle came up on the truck from behind, and not the other way around.  It is often the case that motor vehicles come up from behind, then make the turn in front of the bicycle.

    The classic location for this is Vanderbilt Avenue southbound at Atlantic Avenue.  Motor vehicles are trying to make the turn while beating the AA light.  Cyclists might want to beat that light also, because it takes a fairly fast ride to get from the green at Fulton to across Atlantic before it turns red.

    The right move for the cyclist is to move left and take the lane, but looking back more than once I’ve gotten the feeling that I’d be struck from behind if I did by an accelerating motor vehicle.  So I’ve hit the brakes more than once at that spot to avoid being hit be a car rushing up from behind and turning right in front of me with wheels squealing.

  • carma

    @station44025:disqus 

    well, its not THAT bad.  but yeah, in general, getting a driver’s license requires very little driving expertise.  skills tested in NYC when i took the test 17 years ago involved k-turn, turning right, left, and parallel parking.  that was it.  if i recall, you can even mess up 1 category and you can still get a license.  licensing is a joke.

    the exam needs to be MUCH tougher.

    i think how well you parallel park is a good indication of how well you can maneuver a car/truck.  if you cant get into a space properly, it is unlikely you can maneuver your vehicle properly.  a good driver can get into a space in one try w/o bumping the hell out of your bumpers.  even a tight one.

  • Would cab-over trucks, the ones with flat fronts common in Europe & Japan, be safer for bikers, because the truck driver has a better sight of what’s happening right in front of his vehicle? 

  • Lillian

    …accidents happen….and…yes…hat’s one bad story…yet the flip side is….how many people safely ride their bikes in the city on any given day????????

  • carma

    @e858901e0125106c21354f28e9f3d41c:disqus 

    i safely ride and i safely drive.
    how about that!

  • Anonymous

    I won’t comment on this specific crash without more information, but in general, cyclists who suffer “right hooks” may have some of the blame due to lack of defensive cycling, particularly lack of proper lane positioning or passing on the right. However, this does not absolve motorists who fail to signal, turn from the left lane, or pass cyclists and immediately turn into them.

    We really need more safe cycling education. Not only for the cyclists, but also for the drivers, so they understand the cyclists’ point of view and can interact with them better. Unfortunately, it will take decades for such a campaign to take full effect, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start.

    For the same reason, cyclists should also know how to drive motor vehicles. In practice, that is often the case already. It is much easier to find a cyclist with a driver’s license than to find a driver who knows how to cycle in traffic. There are exceptions, or course, such as children and some adult city dwellers who have never driven in their lives. But it is more important to ask drivers to learn about cycling because they are operating the more dangerous machine and therefore have a larger share of responsibility.

  • Zeroproof

    I’ve been doing long haul trucking for 33 years AND I’m an adventure cyclist. Anyone on the right side of a truck is in his blind spot. AND ANYONE WHO TRIES TO MANEUVER BETWEEN A TRUCK AND A CURB IS COMMITTING SUICIDE.

  • Robert

    here’s a headline for your next car wreck that results in a death: Motorist Kills Self & Family in Fiery Wreck; Is Driving More Dangerous Than Walking?

  • I’d like to know more on how the police determined that the cyclist was trying to pass the trucker on the right.  If actually true then the cyclist was at fault.  But if the trucker actually performed a “right hook” (partial pass on the left then turn to the right), the circumstances would look quite similar.  Often all the police do is ask the only participant alive what happened which of course provides a bias view of the actual incident.

  • Brent Hugh

    Trucks swing left before making a right turn, particularly on city streets with a tight turning radius.  

    This can fool even experienced bicyclists into thinking the truck is turning left, giving them the impression it is safe to pass the truck on the right.

    After two experienced cyclists were killed in Missouri in this situation–moving up to the right of a heavy truck, which the cyclists almost certainly assumed was turning left–we put together this illustration and fact sheet about this issue:

    http://mobikefed.org/2006/08/bicyclists-how-to-avoid-being-hit-by-a-turning-truck.php

  • “If this were your brother/husband/son or anyone related to you, would you really want the world to see this horrible accident?”

    Absolutely. And certainly if I’m killed in traffic, I want all available evidence to be public, as it is with any other violent death. This misplaced sense of propriety (so exclusive to vehicular crashes, and so convenient to anyone who may be at fault in them) is a large part of what allows our macabre traffic system to continue to crank out its victims.

    There must be transparent investigations after all deadly crashes, to make the streets made safer for everyone. The covering up that some characterize as respectful discretion doesn’t affect me one way or the other when I’m dead; it’s the trucks barreling down on me while I’m still alive that I’m concerned about.

  • Not related to this traffic death but to the poll: A lot less people will cycle illegally if street design in NYC respected the reality that cyclists think like pedestrians in terms of efficient course-plotting, and so it is natural for them to use streets two-ways when possible. It is not just natural but the right thing to do. Sadly the big one-way Avenues and  crosstown streets in Manhattan impede this. They need to be returned to their original two-way design, whatever the cost in lost parking places and so on. 

    Related to this traffic death: In the newest signalled intersections in the Netherlands (and also e.g. Münster, Germany) motor vehicles and bicycles have dedicated signals so that things like this do not happen. Especially where heavy vehicles are allowed. This works better than extra mirrors and so on.

    While it is totally unclear if it is related to this incident, the USA has a huge deficit in cycle-education for children, but of course many don’t have insurance and suffer in so many other ways…

  • Mary2000

    Thank you

  • Guest

    Chris Doyle was the cyclists name and if you had the privilege to know him you’d know that the world has lost a really decent human being. Don’t be so sure about the competency of the NYPD and what they are claiming. They knew who he was and had other specific information about him the minute they arrived on the scene thanks to the ID Chris usually carried. Still, it wasn’t the NYPD that notified his family of this tragedy. When he didn’t show up for work on Tuesday his friends got worried. So worried that they contacted his family and made dozens of calls to authorities. All of them said they’d never heard of Chris Doyle. It wasn’t until Tuesday evening, only after Chris’ family made many more calls, did they learn what happened to him. More than ten hours had passed since Chris was killed and the NYPD hadn’t even tried to find his next of kin or someone who knew him. That’s what passes for police work in the NYPD. RIP Chris, we miss you. Things aren’t right without you here.

  • Guest

    he was the best dude i knew

  • Joe R.

    @Green_Idea_Factory:disqus 
    You’re correct to point out infrastructure as being the primary reason all groups behave badly.  From a cyclist’s point of view, one wants to interact with cars as little as possible, and slow/stop as little as possible.  And in places like the Netherlands the infrastructure facilitates exactly that.  The latest trend is routing bike paths under motor vehicle junctions so bikes don’t need to stop.  At places where space doesn’t allow that, bicycles are often given priority over motor traffic via detectors which flip the light green before the bike reaches the intersection.  And in general bikes are segregated from motor traffic as much as possible.

    Compare all that to what we have in NYC.  Outside of the buffered bike lanes, there is no physical separation from motor traffic.  Even the buffered bike lanes cross paths with motor traffic every 250′.  And then you have loads of traffic signals, which if obeyed both delay the cyclist, and put them right in the midst of accelerating auto traffic (and cause them to breathe noxious auto exhaust while waiting for the light).  All of these factors cause cyclists to both disobey the laws and thread their way through the mess that is NYC streets any way they can.  While we can all argue fault until we’re blue in the face, if we had better infrastructure, Chris would never have been in a position to begin with where he could have been crushed by a truck.

    Sadly, based on the comments streams I see at major newspapers regarding anything related to cycling, many people just don’t get it.  I hear stuff like cyclists won’t deserve their own infrastructure until they obey the law, and yet the very reason many disobey the law is precisely because of existing infrastructure (and also antiquated traffic laws which fail to take into account the limited power reserve a cyclist has).  The only way we’ll stop reading sad stories like this is when those in charge realize bikes and motor vehicles really can’t mix well on streets designed primarily for cars.  If in the end this means some parking space must be given up, or perhaps the bike lanes must be routed where they won’t intersect car traffic at all, or even that maybe some streets should be closed to cars entirely, so be it.  The end result would be a safer, saner city which benefits everyone.

    RIP Chris.

  • Joe R.

    @Green_Idea_Factory:disqus 
    You’re correct to point out infrastructure as being the primary reason all groups behave badly.  From a cyclist’s point of view, one wants to interact with cars as little as possible, and slow/stop as little as possible.  And in places like the Netherlands the infrastructure facilitates exactly that.  The latest trend is routing bike paths under motor vehicle junctions so bikes don’t need to stop.  At places where space doesn’t allow that, bicycles are often given priority over motor traffic via detectors which flip the light green before the bike reaches the intersection.  And in general bikes are segregated from motor traffic as much as possible.

    Compare all that to what we have in NYC.  Outside of the buffered bike lanes, there is no physical separation from motor traffic.  Even the buffered bike lanes cross paths with motor traffic every 250′.  And then you have loads of traffic signals, which if obeyed both delay the cyclist, and put them right in the midst of accelerating auto traffic (and cause them to breathe noxious auto exhaust while waiting for the light).  All of these factors cause cyclists to both disobey the laws and thread their way through the mess that is NYC streets any way they can.  While we can all argue fault until we’re blue in the face, if we had better infrastructure, Chris would never have been in a position to begin with where he could have been crushed by a truck.

    Sadly, based on the comments streams I see at major newspapers regarding anything related to cycling, many people just don’t get it.  I hear stuff like cyclists won’t deserve their own infrastructure until they obey the law, and yet the very reason many disobey the law is precisely because of existing infrastructure (and also antiquated traffic laws which fail to take into account the limited power reserve a cyclist has).  The only way we’ll stop reading sad stories like this is when those in charge realize bikes and motor vehicles really can’t mix well on streets designed primarily for cars.  If in the end this means some parking space must be given up, or perhaps the bike lanes must be routed where they won’t intersect car traffic at all, or even that maybe some streets should be closed to cars entirely, so be it.  The end result would be a safer, saner city which benefits everyone.

    RIP Chris.

  • Dustin

    I loved him more than I can say.  I just wish I would have gotten a chance to let him know.

                                                                                 -dustin, his little brother

  • kevinizon

    I live in the Land of the Insane Biker, aka Williamsburg.

    I’m a biker too, yet I cannot get over what I see time and again: bikers zipping  the wrong way up the street into traffic (and against what would be a bike lane), paying no attention to lights, pedestrians, autos, or other bikers.

    Its dangerous for motorists, bikers, pedestrians.  The argument that bikers need to keep their inertia? That’s a fine one until, like Chris, they’re quite dead.  The idea that bikers should have their own rules and just kinda zip around is actually terrific — if you’re five years old.  Otherwise, it can be, clearly, pretty dangerous out there.

    The infrastructure thing is going to like everything: slow going.  In the meantime, bikers have to be alert, wear a helmet, obey traffic signals, ride with traffic, don’t hotrod, and be considerate of autos, pedestrians and other bikers.

    Sorry that this nice person died. But while they’re working on the infrastructure, its time for bikers to ride responsibly too.

  • Morris Zapp

    Keeping in mind that we live in a state where unwittingly crushing another human under the wheel of your vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong (toothless vulnerable user laws notwithstanding), I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the cyclist was at least partially “at fault” in this case.

    Here’s why: The cops are talking. If the evidence revealed run-of-the-mill driver negligence with no contributory action on the part of the cyclist, NYPD wouldn’t be saying shit.

  • Going Going Bike

    Nothing surprises me anymore about NYPC and their war with cycling from all the stories we hear over in the UK

  • dporpentine

    The following is *not* a comment on this person’s death, which is simply a tragedy. End of story.

    But if I read one more “it’s the infrastructure” comment, my head is going to explode.

    Infrastructure is a real problem. And the indifference political leaders and the general public show to the death and dismemberment of pedestrians and cyclists is inhuman (or very human, which is probably worse).

    But Neighbors for Children Riding in Traffic and Seniors for Watching People
    Get Slaughtered If It Will Save One Stupid Parking Spot have done a good deal to tie the hands of the infrastructure fairies. And I feel perfectly confident that the next mayor–no matter who it is–will remove some high-profile bike lanes somewhere in the city during the first three months of office just to score cheap points.

    So stop fantasizing about infrastructure solutions. Start changing your own behavior and start demanding others change theirs. Because when I’m on the street, all I see are irresponsible actors: drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, one and all.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

After NYPD Blamed the Victim, Brooklyn DA Will Reconstruct Lefevre Crash

|
Months after NYPD blamed cyclist Mathieu Lefevre for his own death, prosecutors with the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes continue their investigation into the crash. Meanwhile, the Department of Motor Vehicles has suspended the license of the truck driver who police say fatally struck Lefevre, then left the scene. Hynes’s office has retained […]

Off-Route Semi Truck Driver Kills Cyclist in Park Slope [Updated]

|
Cyclist killed in Park Slope when he “collided into the rear tire” of tractor-trailer on 6th Ave: NYPD. pic.twitter.com/0KjFtYL1nD — Andy Newman (@andylocal) April 20, 2016 Update: Times reporter Andy Newman tweeted a DCPI notice concerning this crash. NYPD identified the victim as 33-year-old James Gregg. Police say the truck driver and Gregg were traveling […]

One Month After Fatal Bike Crash, NYPD Hasn’t Answered Key Questions

|
NYPD’s F.O.I.L. Unit denied a request for information about the crash that killed cyclist Solange Raulston in December, citing an ongoing investigation after published reports indicated that the driver had already been cleared. On December 13, Solange Raulston was struck and killed by a truck driver as she was biking on Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint. […]