Memo to New York Post: Dooring Is Illegal, Not a “Freak Accident” [Updated]

Not everyone at the Post is a party to reflexive victim-blaming. The embedded description of this photo reads: "The scene where a bicyclist was killed after a driver accidentally opened the door of his car striking the bicyclist and sending the bicyclist hurling into the handlebars which cut open his neck." (h/t ##http://www.streetsblog.org/2012/06/18/memo-to-new-york-post-dooring-is-illegal-not-a-freak-accident/#comment-561498745##IsaacB##)

Update: The victim has been identified by NY1 as Tskaka Cooke, 39. The Times-Ledger also filed a report on the crash.

The New York Post story on the crash that killed a cyclist in Fresh Meadows this weekend is a textbook example of press corps victim-blaming.

Here are the facts of the crash, as related in the Post and by FDNY: At approximately 8:11 p.m. Saturday, a cyclist was impaled on the handlebars of his bike when a driver opened a car door in his path on Union Turnpike near 178th Street. The victim, in his 30s, was taken to a hospital and died from his injuries.

“The handlebar went right through his jugular,” said Jackie Brocchini, 42, of Whitestone.

“The blood was pouring out like a fire hydrant,” he said. “I started saying the ‘Our Father’ over him in the street.”

Post reporters Aaron Feis and Kirstan Conley completely overlook the fact that opening a car door in front of a cyclist happens so frequently that there is a law against it. Instead, the story says the victim was killed in a “freak accident” when he “slammed into an open car door.” If you look at the online version of the story using the Readability browser plug-in, you get the original headline: “Biker dies ramming into car.” The piece is so poorly done that Post readers, not known for their empathy toward cyclist and pedestrian victims, are pointing to its flaws in the comment thread.

NYPD has issued its boilerplate “No criminality suspected” statement. An NYPD spokesperson offered no further details on the crash.

This fatal crash occurred in the 107th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Michael Coyle, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 107th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the precinct, 71-01 Parsons Boulevard. Call the precinct at 718-969-5973 for information.

The City Council district where this crash occurred is represented by James Gennaro. To encourage Gennaro to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-6956 or  jgennaro@council.nyc.gov.

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