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Citing No Evidence, NYPD Claims Critically Injured Astoria Cyclist Ran Red

35th Street at 23rd Avenue in Astoria. Image: Google Maps

A motorist critically injured a woman riding a bike in Astoria yesterday. NYPD said the victim caused the crash and did not penalize the driver in any way.

The 23-year-old victim was riding eastbound on 35th Street, in the bike lane, at around 12:20 a.m. Tuesday when the driver hit her with a van as she crossed under elevated train tracks at 23rd Avenue, according to NYPD.

The police spokesperson I talked with said the cyclist, whose name was not released, impacted the "front passenger side" of the van. She sustained head and leg trauma and was transported to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition. NYPD had no updates on her condition as of this morning.

Hours after the crash, NYPD told media outlets the cyclist ran a red light. However, the department's public information office could point to no evidence, like video or testimony from witnesses, to substantiate that account.

NYPD is known for adopting motorists' stories as the last word in crashes that leave injured or deceased victims unable to give their version of events. Often, those stories are later shown to be false.

To hear NYPD tell it, people on bikes routinely launch themselves at motor vehicles by blowing red lights at speed. No fewer than six times in the last 16 months, NYPD blamed a cyclist for running a red following a fatal collision, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. In none of those cases did police produce corroborative evidence.

As is typical when NYPD declines to ticket or arrest a motorist who harms someone, the department shielded the identity of the driver in yesterday's crash.

This collision occurred in the 114th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Costa Constantinides.

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