Another Bizarre Victim-Blaming Crash Account From NYPD

When a motorist kills a pedestrian or cyclist, you can count on police to search for an explanation that clears the driver of culpability.

At mixing zones, turning drivers are required to yield to passing cyclists, but not enough do.
At mixing zones, turning drivers are required to yield to passing cyclists, but not enough do.

It happened again. After a turning truck driver struck and killed cyclist Kelly Hurley on First Avenue at 9th Street, NYPD has concluded that the victim caused her own death.

An NYPD spokesperson told the Village Voice that Hurley “slipped off her bike” and “slid under the truck as he made the turn.”

Hurley is gone. She can’t recount her version of what happened on the morning of April 5, so we’re left with what the police tell us. And as is often the case when a motorist kills a pedestrian or cyclist, the NYPD account is a bizarre mess that exonerates the driver.

Detective Ahmed Nasser told the Voice that the motorist was turning left from the right-most lane, which, if true, is a moving violation. Turning motorists are also required to yield to cyclists at the intersection where Hurley was fatally injured, but Nasser offered up a series of conjectures to reach an exculpatory conclusion:

We asked Detective Nasser if the truck driver, a 59-year-old man who remained at the scene of the crash, should have been making sure that he wasn’t turning into a cyclist or a pedestrian in the intersection.

“Well, I suppose you can say one or the other, but it seems like he probably didn’t see her, and she was going up north, he was making a left, he’s actually already into the intersection, he was already making the turn,” Nasser said. “She probably didn’t stop in time, and she slipped and fell under… He’s already in, she tried to stop, she came off the bike, she slipped under the truck.”

Even if the truck driver entered the intersection first, cutting off the path of an approaching cyclist is still failing to yield.

Last spring, NYPD went public with an account of a fatal bike crash blaming the victim, Lauren Davis, for riding against traffic. Afterward, eyewitnesses came forward disproving that claim and NYPD eventually revised its statement — hardly the only time witness testimony or video evidence contradicted the police account.

Twice since Hurley was struck, the 9th Precinct has gone out to First Avenue to ticket cyclists for infractions that had no bearing on the crash.

There are design options at the city’s disposal that could actually prevent similar collisions in the future. In this short video from Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson, advocates remember Hurley and make a simple intervention to get turning drivers to be more careful:

  • david

    I agree but I’ve seen cars run red lights and people turning on red lights as it’s legal in some states.

  • Brian Howald

    I checked all the stores one half north and south of the intersection on both sides. NYPD asked most stores for footage, but all claimed to have no cameras pointing at the intersection. Three ATMs were located near the crash location, but two were offline, and the third has no camera where the one-way mirror is located.

  • Brian Howald

    I take back my last sentence.

    After canvassing the stores near the crash site, one store employee told me a witness account secondhand, that the truck swerved entirely across 1st Avenue from just south of the SE corner to make the left turn.

    I figured the “right lane” comment was incorrect since any driver who attempted such a maneuver would almost certainly be tried for reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter.

  • WarOnMugs

    sounds like a good system. Most of us aren’t so organazized. What’s your workflow for card-clearing etc? Just wipe at the end of each day if nothing happened? Or do you have a seven-day cycle like a convenience store CCTV setup?

  • Gene

    There’s really very little organization involved. 64gb card lasts me 3-4 weeks of 15-min-each-way commutes. I charge it off my computer, so I periodically check how much room is left and wipe it. Or sometimes I just get a fail-to-record error on a ride and clear it immediately after.
    A recording of a ride to work I uploaded to youtube for some reason: https://youtu.be/LhUl8L5ILuo

  • James Simpson

    Again the lines never stop a driver from physically crossing so that seems the most wasteful idea to recreate the lanes with more lattice and warnings, and that the actual drivers are at fault part of the time due to the lines being altered from a linear design concept that relates to their perception of speed and confuses them at times.

    Drivers are moving faster and with more mass, and require the lanes to be made to accommodate this fact. To top it off there is no other way to stop a vehicle when its driver is not aware that you are there.

    Neither can be eliminated to allow the other to take over the whole of the lanes.

    Flow charts show that riders are in a very consistent pace as well, and offer very few breaks in the case of a mass as seen in the picture. This “blockade” of sorts only escalates the congestion and frustration with a clearly slower mass interfering with the alternation of the bikes vs. cars. On top of that the driver seems to be in a commercial vehicle and is given no right of way as others are also closing behind him.

    I would say that there shouldn’t be so much of a 100% authority of right of way if cyclists are not alternating this at intersections, and blitzing through in a mass to try to form a “Chain” or ride as a group.

    Do vehicles do this? Less than bikes. As each is its own contained unit and each relies on the other’s clear light signatures to show their intentions. Bikes don’t do that and they are on the streets……both hands on the wheel, with no signals at all.

    In a city this means that each vehicle and bike is moving forward as much as it is turning, and that fact is not regulated as an alternating factor. Allowing masses at each segment for lights, but then making it virtually impossible for vehicles to turn.

    I see this happening and don’t EVER like being curtailed in a Bike Lane that is a cover for a gutter where every shard and rock gets collected and EVERY grill and grate seems to be laid in the way.

    Now after losing to these obstacles painfully at high speed, the last thing I want is traffic passing me constantly. This “Commuter” effort is great but very few can pace WITH traffic and be able to declare their footprint in traffic.

    The complaint that all riders need safer bike lanes is really from the VERY inexperienced and personal use markets that are literally encouraging a battle and a manipulative argument to spread their enterprises in a viral and unplanned squat of a movement. You can’t ‘occupy’ a bike lane…..but a Work Bike Manufacturer can, and produce bikes and trikes that aren’t so easily pushed around on the streets.

    To me it is like being corralled, and it is as if we are now being paced by a community, that has no respect for the hundreds of professional cyclists and commercial bikes and trikes out there. They set the standards. Everyone else has to keep up or the “Movement” doesn’t happen.

    In all this hype for a cool ride around Hamsterdam….people have clearly ignored the fact they are now moving into a previously established lane and then asking for their own privileges to be given their own division of the city’s blueprint, where the only convenience that has been afforded the city in return is less pollution, but now a newer problem of congestion has literally been formed and a solution has been left as a wondering complaint.

    These professionals are the ones that have launched the industry and they did it in the streets and in the toughest traffic, and they are not begging for a bike lane. They want to be able to navigate through traffic when needed, where a jam causes a delay in the cars and trucks, but not bikes. They want to be able to move through lanes freely as needed and maintain a pace that is equal to or faster than a car in traffic, and they can do it safely to a higher degree than the mass of the riders that are commuting.

    Is commuting by bike the best solution? Or is it becoming an increased liability for the city to try to transform this blueprint so quickly?

    I think that these pro’s and the numerous manufacturers should be used to consult with the city to finally set a standard of delineation of major lanes, and to set up better awareness programs.

    I think that the mass of bike rentals should not become an overcrowding issue and that more focus is made in the mass transit sector. I don’t think that the mass of riders truly see the dangers of riding in the streets in major cities.

    I see the day ahead where an elevated Bike Tram Line is created to carry numerous passengers through large portions of the city to hubs to then connect to ground based rentals.

    I am currently proposing my concepts to CitiBike and they are very interested in getting this solution set up to provide a much safer avenue to provide commuter lines through overly congested areas of the City.

    I want to get as many people into safer modes of transport that are Human Powered and relate directly to cycling routes and hubs of rental stations. I also want to get a series of hubs set up in NYC that provide Work Bike Rentals to the masses and give them the opportunity to really Motivate in town, by navigating with a much more impressive frame working, that holds its presence in the streets against a vehicle as well as pacing with traffic.

    You can’t have a problem that gets ignored and from the last two deaths I have seen reports about, the comments are being touted as reasoning for everything from banning cars in the city, to creating a garden in place of the accident sites as a memorial.

    Now lets be honest folks…..how many hardcore riders do you see this happening to?

    None, because they all focus on their ultimate safety and follow the rules of physics, which says always watch out for the momentum of a mass as the primary law.

    Romulus and Regulus are both needed if you generate Torus Momentus…….

    That’s “Stop and Go” for the English speaking in NYC

  • James Simpson

    opinion and preference IMO…..

    Its safer to GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO and leave them behind ……lol

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