Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Bicycle Safety

Daily News to Deceased Cyclists: “Your Fault.”

Cyclists protest on Sixth Avenue following the death of David Smith

Last week, we criticized accounts of the death of 63-year-old cyclist David Smith, who was memorialized Wednesday with a Ghost Bike and a die-in on Sixth Avenue. Though Smith was riding in the bike lane and was knocked into traffic by an illegally parked driver who opened his door in Smith's path, initial media reports portrayed the crash as a blameless "freak mishap."

That was only a taste of what was to come. Here, verbatim, are the first five paragraphs of the Daily News story on Saturday, after another cyclist, Franco Scorcia, was killed at W. 40th and Broadway:

Only one person thought it was still safe for Franco Scorcia to take to the streets by bike - and that was Franco Scorcia.

For years, friends told the 72-year-old Bronx father to "leave the bike alone."

The ex-cabbie's two sons were so worried about their dad they offered him a car.

"We told him so many times, 'Don't ride the bike,'" Scorcia's son, Vito, 37, recalled Friday.

The elder Scorcia brushed such demands aside, saying he loved cycling too much to quit. It was that fondness for experiencing the city on two wheels that cost him his life Thursday night when he crashed into a charter bus in midtown.

Given such a loaded lede, you'd expect some exposition describing the mistakes Scorcia must have made that led to his death. But aside from strongly implying that Scorcia's age was somehow a factor, the article includes no details of the crash, other than to say the bus driver was issued six summonses. Regardless, to the writers and editors of this story, Scorcia's mistake was riding a bike on the streets of New York: "It was that fondness for experiencing the city on two wheels that cost him his life."

As such biased coverage is fairly commonplace, it's no wonder the causes of cyclist fatalities and the lack of consequences for motorists go unchallenged, especially when the driver is the sole living witness.

Negating the Daily News' own follow-up coverage that told of how David Smith was known as a safe rider, the Scorcia article links the two deaths -- not because they were both killed at the hands of drivers, but because they were both "elderly cyclists" who, readers are to presume, had no business being on bikes. In so many words, the piece says Scorcia was asking for it.

On average this year, a city cyclist has been killed about every 16 days. Conveniently for much of the mainstream New York press -- not to mention hostile police, indifferent prosecutors, and reckless motorists -- they can't defend themselves against such charges.

Photo: cultshaman/Flickr

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024

DOT Will Fast-Track Private Sidewalk E-Bike Charging Stations

The mayor announced a new sidewalk e-bike charging station initiative, along with progress on the e-bike battery swap program and more money to FDNY for educational outreach.

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: LEGO Finally Gets It Edition

Streetsblog has had our issues with LEGO over the years, but we're willing to forgive. Plus other news.

July 23, 2024

Speeding Fuels Pedestrian Death Crisis As Council Stalls ‘Sammy’s Law’ Changes

Pedestrian fatalities were up 27 percent in the first six months of the year compared to 2023.

July 23, 2024

Bike Rack Saves Pedestrians in Crash on Busy Brooklyn Street

The white Hyundai involved in the crash has been nabbed 10 times by city speed- and red-light cameras since Oct. 10, 2023, city records show.

July 22, 2024
See all posts