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Bicycle Safety

The Post’s Highly Selective Outrage About Traffic Violence

The bicycle of the man killed by a reckless East Harlem driver fleeing police. Photo via WPIX
The bicycle of the man killed by a reckless driver fleeing police in East Harlem. Still via WPIX
The bicycle of the man killed by a reckless East Harlem driver fleeing police. Photo via WPIX

Yesterday, a driver fleeing police killed a cyclist on East 129th Street near Madison Avenue. DNAinfo, the Daily News, CBS 2, and WPIX all covered the crash. So did the Post, but the paper reserved its front page for a different bike story, assigning a reporter and photographer to tail Jason Marshall, the cyclist who struck and killed pedestrian Jill Tarlov in Central Park last year.

Their "exclusive" video, shot from the front seat of a car behind Marshall, blew an important story wide open: He took a "risky ride" on a bicycle with his son yesterday and didn't follow the letter of the law. So now we can look forward to a wave of follow-up stories from the Post about the transgressions of drivers who killed pedestrians, splashing their photos across the front page when they double-park or turn right on red. Right?

A few hours after the Post's big scoop, there was an actual case of traffic violence on E. 129th Street near Madison Avenue. A cyclist was rear-ended and killed by a driver who kept going, hitting another car and fleeing the scene on foot with two other people.

NYPD has not released the victim's name, pending family notification, but DNAinfo reports he was a 42-year-old professor and physician who worked at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and received his doctorate from St. Petersburg State University in Russia.

"I looked and saw the guy laying flat out in the street. He had on a white polo. He was on his right side and was completely out. He didn't move one inch. The bike was mangled," Lisa Luis, 35, told DNAinfo. "It was horrible."

The driver kept going, turning south onto Madison Avenue into oncoming traffic, then turning right onto E. 128th Street, also against traffic, and striking a Volkswagen before fleeing on foot.

State courts officers saw the driver run a red light at Bruckner Boulevard and E. 138th Street, then followed. "As of now it does not appear, according to the court officers, that they were 'in pursuit’ of the vehicle," said David Bookstaver, director of communications for the New York Unified Court System. "They say they attempted to stop the vehicle after it dangerously went through a red light. The vehicle fled. The officers say in their statement they did not pursue but came across the vehicle after it was in an accident."

Streetsblog has asked the court system if it has a pursuit protocol for its officers. NYPD "requires that a vehicle pursuit be terminated whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community if [the] suspect is not immediately apprehended" [PDF]. The department has come under scrutiny in the past for pursuits that resulted in deadly or serious crashes.

The driver and the passengers who fled have not been caught as of this afternoon, NYPD said. Maybe the Post can track them down?

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