Some Say NYPD Turns Blind Eye to Bike Deaths

Metro NY | October 26, 2011

By Alison Bowen

The mother of a Williamsburg artist killed earlier this month while riding his bike spoke outside 1 Police Plaza yesterday, where she blasted cops for letting the driver who hit her son go free.

Mathieu Lefevre, 30, a Canadian native who lived in Brooklyn, died Oct. 18 after he was struck by a flatbed truck at the intersection of Meserole and Morgan avenues in Brooklyn.

Erika Lefevre, who says the NYPD is not returning her calls, traveled from Canada to speak yesterday, and was joined by advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

TA director Paul Steely White said the NYPD is not aggressive enough in investigating drivers who hit cyclists.

The driver left the scene -- cops told Gothamist that he didn't know he had hit anyone -- and no charges have been filed in the case.

"There's no criminality," an NYPD spokesman told Metro. "That's why they call it an accident."

Lefevre said that, unlike in New York, drivers in Canada are often prosecuted when they hit cyclists.
Last week, a driver who said he fell asleep and did not realize he hit five cyclists was convicted in Ontario of dangerous driving.

White demanded that the NYPD take dangerous driving more seriously. Five cyclists have died since August after being hit by cars.

Nearly 70 percent of fatal car accidents, including instances where cyclists and pedestrians are hit, are caused by a driver who is driving dangerously or illegally, according to a TA analysis of data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

Recently killed

Sept. 2: Nicolas Djandji, 24, was hit by an SUV in Williamsburg.
Aug. 30: Erica Abbott, 29, was hit by a Mercedes-Benz when she fell off her bike in Bushwick.
Aug. 18: Jeffrey Axelrod was killed while riding his bike on Chrystie Street.
Aug. 3: Andrzei Wiesniuk was fatally hit in Ridgewood, Queens.