Mother Of Slain Brooklyn Cyclist Wants Her Son’s Tribute Sign Back
A grieving mom is devastated that a tribute to her dead son was mysteriously removed from its place on a pole in Williamsburg — the very spot her son was killed by a hit-and-run driver eight years ago next month.
“It’s the last place on earth where our son was, where he existed,” said Erika Lefevre, the mother of Mathieu Lefevre, a 30-year-old artist who was killed at Meserole Street and Morgan Avenue in 2011. “It hurts.”
Does anyone in #NYC know when and why the city took down this memorial plaque at Morgan Ave. and Meserole St.? @StreetsblogNYC @TransAlt @RightOfWayNYC @BradAaron @schmangee @Streetfilms This is my son. He was killed here. What more will this city do to dishonor his life! pic.twitter.com/fG5sMlPykw
— C. Erika Lefevre (CAEL) (@clepsydre) September 13, 2019
City officials say they didn’t remove the sign — and don’t know who did. Neither the Department of Transportation or Department of Sanitation said it took down the memorial sign — which is technically illegal on city property — that the street-justice campaign, “Right of Way,” installed in 2013.
The sign — which reads, “Mathieu Lefevre, Oct. 18, 2011. Age 30. His Light Still Shines” — helped memorialize the young artist along with the ghost bike that remains at the scene. It also stood as a reminder to drivers to slow down and be careful because another reckless driver killed someone there, said Lefevre.
“How important these memorial sites are — they bring honor and dignity to the person who was so tragically killed,” said Lefevre, who lives in Canada. “It’s kind of a reminder for drivers to be careful at those intersections.”
Lefevre says she realized the sign was gone this past June after another cyclist snapped a photo of the bare pole.
Streetsblog visited the corner on Monday and confirmed the sign was missing — as was the implied warning to drivers, many of whom were parked on the green paint designating the unprotected bike lane. The illegal parking forced cyclists to swerve into traffic in the truck-heavy industrial area.
The Department of Transportation installed the Morgan Avenue bike lane a few years after Lefevre was killed, but even with it there, his mother noticed nothing has changed and still fears for other bikers’ lives.
“Every time I’m there I see vehicles parked there, cars and trucks use it as a driving lane, it’s just as dangerous as it was back in 2011 — it’s actually quite scary when I see cyclists coming through there,” she said.
Police never charged the hit-and-run truck driver who killed Lefevre as he was riding home from his art studio on that 2011 day. Cops claimed at the time that the driver never saw or felt the cyclist as the truck’s tires rolled over him — a common excuse that often helps killer drivers avoid being held accountable for their reckless actions while behind the wheel.
And it took bad press, a rally, and a lawsuit for investigators to finally hand over information about the fatal crash to the grieving family.
This is not the first time either a ghost bike or another shrine has been mysteriously or purposefully removed — the family of dead cyclist Robert Sommer blasted the Parks Department back in July for quietly removing a ghost bike for him.
And last November, DOT removed the ghost bike for Madison Lyden ahead of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, somehow misplacing it for over a week.
Most recently, the ghost bike for cyclist Chaim Joseph, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Midtown Manhattan back in February, has also been inexplicably removed.