NYPD: No Charges, No Tickets for Bus Driver Who Killed Dan Hanegby

NYPD said Hanegby caused the collision that killed him. Meanwhile, council transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez wants protected crosstown bike routes to prevent future crashes.

The block of W. 26th Street where Dan Hanegby was killed. Photo: Google Maps
The block of W. 26th Street where Dan Hanegby was killed. Photo: Google Maps

NYPD will not charge or ticket the bus driver who struck and killed Dan Hanegby as he rode a Citi Bike in Chelsea.

[Update: Video footage reviewed by Gothamist suggests the bus driver accelerated as he approached Hanegby from behind and struck the bike as he attempted to pass, causing Hanegby to fall. This contradicts the NYPD claim that Hanegby “swerved” while “trying to navigate a very tight space.”]

The department said the victim caused his own death when he tried to avoid a double-parked van as the Coach USA driver overtook him, disregarding the roles of the bus operator and the double-parked driver in the collision.

hanegby-dan
Dan Hanegby

Hanegby was struck at around 8:15 a.m. Monday on W. 26th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, where there are two lanes for parked cars but no bike lanes.

The NYPD account of the crash suggests the bus operator, 52-year-old Dave Lewis of Poughkeepsie, passed Hanegby — who was known as an experienced cyclist — at an unsafe distance. But rather than let the investigation run its course, police commenced with blaming the deceased victim hours after the crash.

Anonymous NYPD sources told the Daily News that Hanegby, merging to avoid the double-parked van on his right, “was looking right as the bus was passing him on his left,” and “struck the side of the bus, lost control and fell under the rear wheels.”

“He was trying to navigate a very tight space,” the police source said.

NYPD further noted that Hanegby was riding without a bike helmet — an irrelevant detail that serves only to shift culpability toward the victim, since adult cyclists are not required to wear helmets in NYC and, as Bike Snob Eben Weiss noted, “in the event a rider is run over by a bus a helmet will offer no protection whatsoever.”

Speaking with Gothamist, an NYPD spokesperson implied Hanegby’s actions precipitated his death, assigning no agency to the bus driver. “Surveillance footage shows the cyclist looking right as he is swerving left,” the spokesperson said. “He is struck by the passenger side of the bus, loses control, falls to the pavement, and is then rolled over by the rear passenger side of the vehicle.”

NYPD tends to blame cyclists for fatal collisions by default, though, as in the cases of Lauren Davis and James Gregg, information provided to the press in the immediate aftermath of a crash is often proven wrong.

After the collision, officers from the 10th Precinct were ticketing cyclists on the same block where Hanegby was killed.

Illegal tour bus traffic has plagued W. 26th Street for months, according to Manhattan Community Board 4 chair Christine Berthet, who said area residents observed NYPD officers ticketing bus drivers on the street in the days before the crash. “Having those buses on non-authorized routes is a major problem,” Berthet said.

City traffic code prohibits charter and tour buses from streets not designated as truck routes, but it’s unclear whether the Coach USA bus involved in Monday’s crash was chartered, as reported by some outlets, or if Lewis was on a fixed intercity route. A Coach USA representative declined to comment on the crash and would not discuss the route Lewis was driving.

State law authorizes the city to regulate intercity bus stop locations, but not the routes that lead to those locations. “At this time, we don’t have any information suggesting that this bus did not belong on that street,” a NYC DOT spokesperson told Streetsblog.

The New York State DOT is conducting its own investigation, according to a spokesperson. “Our objective right now is to gather the facts and try to make a determination what happened,” the spokesperson told Streetsblog. “It can takes months or a year even.”

On Tuesday, City Council transportation committee chair Ydanis Rodriguez joined Transportation Alternatives in calling for protected east-west bike lanes in Manhattan.

  • Reader

    An important companion to this story:

    http://gothamist.com/2017/06/15/citi_bike_video_hanegby.php

    This is a huge scandal and ought to be treated as such by every major news outlet in this city.

  • Brad Aaron

    We’ve updated the story.

  • Ken Dodd

    My god once again the NYPD and DA’s office conspire to commit a gross miscarriage of justice, besmirch an innocent dead man, and do their level best to make sure a severely negligent driver faces no consequence whatsoever for snuffing out someone’s life. At this point I think you’d be hard pressed to deny that they are actively conniving to make NYC roads as dangerous as possible for pedestrians and cyclists. That’s really the only logical conclusion you can come to based on their willful refusal to prosecute anyone for these manslaughters.

    Imagine how different their response to this fatality would have been if the victim had been a cop cycling to work (almost completely unlikely I know). Oh boy you’d see the wheels of justice turning then. They would have had that driver in cuffs as soon as they arrived on the scene, and hundreds of them would have showed up in their uniforms to stare him down at his manslaughter trial.

    What about a petition to get the entire department replaced? I mean the whole thing from root to branch, gutted and replaced with intelligent, honest human beings with a civil sense of justice.

  • Maggie

    I hate how accustomed I’ve become to NYPD’s brutal inhumanity whenever a cyclist is injured or killed.

    Anyway, now I’m wondering what are the legal implications in NYC of passing a cyclist too close on a one-way street, clipping his handlebars and running him over? Is it… nothing?? That can’t be.

    Also wondering: how soon can DOT put the crosstown bike lanes we clearly need in place? The awful part of waiting till someone dies is that nothing that we do now to fix things can make the family whole again. It’s so heartbreaking. We still need an immediate, compassionate policy response.

  • Simon Phearson

    The investigative resources put into play whenever an NYPD officer is the victim of traffic violence – and we do see this from time to time – truly expose the NYPD’s intentional disengagement whenever it’s one of the rest of us.

  • Elizabeth F

    NYPD’s reports don’t seem to ask the obvious question: why was a tour bus trying to pass a bike on one of those streets? There is absolutely not enough space to do so safely. And… if the biker did anything wrong, it was allowing the bus to squeeze past.

  • Steven Craig

    Death by misadventure. Enough space already allotted to bike lanes in midtown.
    Simple enforcement of traffic laws for all vehicles needs to be improved. By the way does the good councilman receive any contributions from the construction companies of these traffic stalling islands and lanes?

  • Or maybe not. gothamist.com has acquired a video and an eye witness that may show the NYPD account of this horror isn’t necessarily true.

    http://gothamist.com/2017/06/15/citi_bike_video_hanegby.php

    Campaign contributions to the “good councilman” are a public record. How about looking up and giving us some facts instead of posting cutesy, snarky innuendo?

    I too remember the perfect smoothness of driving in NYC traffic that ended abruptly and for no other conceivable reason when they put in pedestrian islands and bike lanes.

  • Steven Craig

    Traffic flows on Manhattan avenues was far bettet.
    Now often one lane is opetational with massive bottlenecks. One cannot help but think this is the dot agenda to introduce congestion pricing just as it appears the real estate firm that controls citibike wants either subsidies or a massive buy out by the mta.
    It’s all politics and greed.
    Ask the good councilman.

  • Simon Phearson

    Yeah, follow the money. I’m sure there’s a lot of people getting rich off of painting bike lanes and installing pedestrian islands. Rather than, say, building, maintaining, and repaving streets for cars.

  • Simon Phearson

    Traffic is worse because more people are driving. It’s not harder to grasp than that. None of these bike lanes had to take a traffic lane; it was the insistence on maintaining on-street parking that created any kind of crunch.

  • Joe R.

    I’ve lived in NYC all of my 54+ years. Traffic flow in Manhattan was always bad. The reason has always been the same—not charging enough for parking or entry into Manhattan. If you want free traffic flow congestion pricing is one of only two answers which will enable it. The other answer is to ban private automobiles in Manhattan, which is the solution I personally support. Private autos are what causes most of your traffic congestion, not bikes. Manhattan in easily the most stupid place to drive a private automobile anyway when you have a bunch of other ways to enter the island.

    90%+ of the people entering Manhattan do so by means other than private auto. If you drive a delivery truck or other essential vehicle then you should support measures to make it more expensive and less convenient for those in private autos to drive.

    It’s all politics and greed.

    By the auto lobby which foisted automobiles on NYC in the first place. NYC was never designed for the number of automobiles which currently enter it. You can thank the auto lobby for free parking and lack of appropriate street pricing. Without those things a lot fewer people would choose to drive in NYC.

  • JudenChino

    50,000 Ubers circulating NYC. . . . duh. . .

  • JudenChino

    he awful part of waiting till someone dies is that nothing that we do now to fix things can make the family whole again.

    A whole lot of “memorial” bike lanes. So pathetic this city.

  • I think the TriLateral Commission and Free Masonry caused all the massive bottlenecks.

  • Steven Craig

    Unable to simply state an argument resorting to absurd analogies does not prove your point.
    The bike lanes are a major revenue source for some contractors and citi bike is owned by a major realestate company who hired a former head of the mta to run it. Now citibike is seeking public funding and it may be the mta buys it.
    Just politics and greed.

  • Andrew

    Yes, greed is indeed the word I’d use – to describe someone who unwilling to give up even a small fraction of 1% of the city’s street space to cyclists, in a city in which the majority of residents don’t even own cars.

    Not to mention that your assertion that bike lanes are responsible for traffic congestion is simply not supported by the facts. The congestion that you encounter while driving is almost entirely caused by other drivers. You could be productive by driving less or by advocating for policies to persuade others to drive less – or you can pretend that the problem is somebody else’s fault, which is apparently the approach you’ve taken.

    Incidentally, what does any of this have to do with the bus driver who killed Dan Hanegby?

  • Steven Craig

    I don’t drive. So much for your myopic world view of us v them. The cyclist community is like the mouse that roared taking resources far in excess to its numbers and parading arrogant disdain for civility. It is that attitude of unwarranted entitlement that contributes to unfortnate incidents on our streets and sidewalks.

  • Anon2012_2014

    Simple — need “bumps” between bike lanes and car lanes so that it is clear where the biker is and where the car isn’t. Impatient car and truck drivers don’t see or think — they just want to make it through the next light and they negligently, by accident, encroach on the bike lanes. They routinely speed by at 35 to 40 MPH a biker doing 10 or 15. One negligent nudge on the handlebars and there is a serious injury or in this case death. Those little cement or steel bumps would be a friendly reminder that they are deviating to where they should not be.

    Finally, double parking should be a points violation. That will get the attention of impatient delivery truck and taxi drivers.

  • Steven Craig

    Fine.
    Let a registration fee on
    all bikes pay for it

  • Anon2012_2014

    No problem with that (bikes paying for bike lanes). And licensing for bike riders. But that doesn’t absolve all people from being rude and scaring pedestrians or bike riders. That’s essentially what happened with this driver here — trying to squeeze on through next to a fat dumb and happy bike rider who obviously had no idea he was about to be passed by inches.

    Imagine it was your wife or daughter on that bike next time and you are a stranger gunning it for the traffic light to get home and you scared her and she _almost_ falls as you passed by. You get karma points for protecting the bike riders and pedestrians and lose them for every bike rider, little old lady or tourist (pedestrian) that you scare. Consideration is what is needed in a busy world where getting there is more important that civility. This poor schmuck who was killed was also a father of two and he’s not coming home. That’s the ultimate negative karma.

    Bike riders need to be considerate too (especially delivery people) and not scare pedestrians or cut off cars when the light is not theirs. It’s basic human decency and it is lacking because everyone is in a hurry to get there. Everyone is barreling along at maximum speed. So you’re five minutes late. Big deal. You make the city a better place.

  • Steven Craig

    Agreed

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