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21 cyclists killed last year, yet only two motorist arrests

Reporter Alex Goldmark, from transportationnation.org does an investigative piece on the pitfalls of pursuing criminal charges against motorists who kill cyclists in NYC and the cultural landscape that is often too quick to blame the victim.

Killed While Cycling: Why So Few Fatal Bike Crashes Lead to Arrest in NYC
By: Alex Goldmark
Published: 4/8/2012
(A “bike lift” in silence during a memorial ride for killed cylists, March 2012 (Photo by Alex Goldmark)

Last year, 21 cyclists died in vehicle crashes in New York City. But only two drivers were arrested and local district attorneys are hard pressed to cite convictions for cyclist deaths. Instead, they say, cyclists and their advocates don’t understand how tough it is to call a traffic crash a crime.

As far as intersections go, Bowery and Delancey is a pretty big one, eight lanes cross six. It’s never really empty, not even at 1:30 in the morning. It was that time of night about four years ago when Rasha Shamoon was fatally struck there by a Range Rover while riding her bike home.

As is standard procedure in traffic deaths in New York City, the police arrived and treated the intersection as a crime scene. They interviewed the three people in the car, but no other witnesses were mentioned in the police report — several people had called 911 from the scene, but we’ll never know if they saw the crash or not. Police determined Rasha Shamoon caused the crash and let the driver go.

read more: here.

1 comment to 21 cyclists killed last year, yet only two motorist arrests

  • Liz

    Parts of the story not reproduced here echoes my initial reaction to this post… that the same lack of consequences exists when a motorist kills another motorist. This is not some sort of anti-bike stance, with lack of respect for cyclists specifically, or refusal to admit the motorist is at fault. There are simply very rarely criminal consequences for the driver at fault if another person (passenger, pedestrian, cyclist) is killed.