NYPD: No Charges for Driver Who Fatally Doored Delivery Cyclist Juan Pacheco
Dooring is illegal, and has caused at least five cyclist fatalities since 2012. But NYPD isn't ticketing drivers who do it.
A driver doored delivery cyclist Juan Pacheco in Morningside Heights last week, causing fatal injuries. NYPD filed no charges and issued no tickets.
Pacheco, 57, was riding east on La Salle Street near Broadway at around 9:30 p.m. on April 20 when a 40 year-old man in a Nissan minivan opened the driver’s door into his path, according to Gothamist and the Daily News.
Police told the News Pacheco hit the door and “was thrown from his bike onto the roadway.”
Pacheco, who worked for a Mexican restaurant near the crash site, was transported to Mount Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital in critical condition. He died Monday.
As is typical when a motorist faces no penalty after taking a life, NYPD shielded the driver’s name.
Dooring is a traffic infraction under state law. Attorney Steve Vaccaro, who specializes in traffic violence cases, told Gothamist the driver might also have been charged under the city’s Right of Way Law, though he knows of no instances of NYPD applying that law in crashes caused by dooring.
“Police officers think that it’s just as much the fault of the cyclist as of the doorers, which is not the law,” said Vaccaro. “I don’t think police officers are taught the law about opening doors unsafely.”
A witness told the Daily News the minivan “was jutting out from the line of cars” on La Salle, which could have contributed to the crash.
Dooring was the primary factor in at least four other cyclist fatalities since 2012, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. NYPD is known to have issued a ticket in just one of those cases — to a cab driver, for discharging a passenger in a bike lane.
City motorists have killed at least four cyclists in 2018, matching the number of deaths during the first four months of 2017. Drivers killed at least 28 people riding bikes last year.