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Report: Hit-and-run trucker must have known that he’d killed cyclist!

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The Williamsburg cyclist killed by a truck driver last month was not cruising in the driver’s blind spot, but was actually rear-ended by the trucker, a just-released bombshell accident report reveals.

Bike advocates and the victim’s mother seized on the report as evidence that driver Leonard Degianni certainly knew that he had run down and killed Mathieu Lefevre as he turned from Morgan Street onto Meserole Street at just around midnight on Oct. 19.

Degianni left the scene of the crash, yet was not charged in Lefevre’s death, which has infuriated activists.

“My son is dead, he cannot speak for himself, but I can speak out about how this case has been handled by the NYPD and how the lives of other cyclists and pedestrians can be saved if the laws are enforced making the streets safer for everyone,” Lefevre’s grief-stricken mother said last Wednesday at a protest at police headquarters in Manhattan. She accused the NYPD of “rushing to clear the driver of any wrongdoing.”

The original accident report indicated that Lefevre was in Degianni’s blind spot on Morgan Avenue, but the updated report states that Degianni actually rear-ended the 30-year-old cyclist, who was a major art world figure.

Degianni declined to comment, and a police spokesman had no additional statement about the accident report.

But cycling advocates had plenty to say, stepping up their fight for a crackdown on reckless drivers. Transportation Alternatives has threatened to launch an investigation into department’s traffic-enforcement practices.

“It’s the NYPD’s job to keep dangerous driving in check by holding reckless drivers accountable, but they are simply not taking that job seriously,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “Their cavalier attitude to the epidemic of lawless driving is absolutely unacceptab­le.”

Cycling accidents have steadily risen over the past decade. From 2001 to 2010, 1,754 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in traffic accidents citywide — 60 percent of which were due to a driver’s dangerous or illegal behavior, according to a state study.

And an astounding 142,485 have been injured in crashes over the same period. Few of those incidents have prompted the police to issue summonses to drivers involved in the crash.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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Reader Feedback

ty from pps says:
Hey Gersh, you should have Natalie O'Neill read this article... call it professional development.
Dec. 6, 2011, 8:48 am
manhatposeur from Portlyn Lakes Park says:
Time to go after Degianni and all those reckless drivers who ahve disregard for cyclist.
Time to crckdown on reckless truck & auto drivers and the criminals.
Dec. 6, 2011, 9:18 am
Bklyn biker from Slope says:
Oh, so you are a paper, with journalists and stuff.
Dec. 6, 2011, 10:24 am
SS from Bklyn says:
Aaron, thank you for bringing real reporting to the Brooklyn Paper.

Shame on the NYPD.
Dec. 6, 2011, 10:54 am
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
Very sad! I feel for his family & his friends. Also sad that this city has descended in to a rat hole when it comes to the discussion of biking. People are lossing their lives. Bikes & vehicles are both here to stay. Neither will get rid of the other. Just wondering when a real discussion with real solutions will materialized. I have to point to the DOT for complete lack of leadership.

REMEMBER YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS ARE DYING. GET IT TOGETHER!!
Dec. 6, 2011, 11:07 am
Stan from KB says:
No doubt DeGianni has a cousin or friend who is a cop.
Covering up a homicide for friends and family is a courtesy, not a crime!
Dec. 6, 2011, 11:30 am
Ken from Greenpoint says:
very sad.. at the other hand must cyclist are not following rules at all!!! its about time cops should handle out summons maybe will get a to know how to ride a bike in nyc and to give respect especially for our small children and stop passing wile red flasher of school buses our operation.!!!....
Dec. 6, 2011, 12:06 pm
ty from pps says:
Ken --- !!!! What?!

You read "Cycling accidents have steadily risen over the past decade. From 2001 to 2010, 1,754 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in traffic accidents citywide — 60 percent of which were due to a driver’s dangerous or illegal behavior, according to a state study."

And your reaction is "cyclist are not following rules at all"

Are you related to Natalie O'Neill?
Dec. 6, 2011, 12:19 pm
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
Ken,
I find it incredible that after reading this story, you find it an appropriate time to point out that some cyclists break the rules. When the cyclist breaks the rules and gets hit by a car, he is dead and cannot speak for himself. The NYPD blames the cyclist and moves on. When a motorist breaks the rules and hits a cyclist, the cyclist is dead and cannot speak for himself. The NYPD blames the cyclist and moves on. There is an attitude of blaming cyclists regardless of the situation. You show this attitude and so does the NYPD. This is precisely why the NYPD didn't do a proper investigation in the first place. A man lost his life. Show some human decency.
Dec. 6, 2011, 12:26 pm
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
Prior the argument wasn't about vehicle or bike. It was bike /pedestrian. Unfortunately, an old man in the hood was ran over, fell hitting his head and died. Naturally people were outraged. The City Council approve new law restricting adult bikers from sidewalks. Don't remember the year, but less that 15-20yrs (that facist was still mayor, he called it quality of life law or whatever).

This law was used to harass & booked many in the hood. ( Studies show that most bike riders in this city are minority & poor, not rich, or poor whites like most anti-bike people would have it portrayed).

I've witness over the yrs people jumping on their bikes to ride into the street from the sidewalk & gotten ticketed or arrested.

The bike lobby was quiet. Now it's back battling vehicles, because of poor leadership from City & DOT. The bike lobby should be fighting for lanes at same height as sidewalk, not for street dominance from vehicle.

The comments oo any every story is Bikers do not follow laws, & drivers are evil & malicious murders. Really!
I m not a biker, too dangerous, I love life.
But vehicles re thousands of lbs & fast vs. bike which u pick up & throw over ones shoulders.

Come on let's find some solution, people are dying.
Maybe someday I can experience Brooklyn from a bicycle.
Dec. 6, 2011, 1:34 pm
keith from Cobbel Hill says:
did you realize must of the bikers are low-lifers... that's a fact....
Dec. 6, 2011, 1:58 pm
Gwenever from Burg says:
As an avid rider I hate to agree with Ken who is insensitive, but just this weekend I almost got hit because while in the bike line other stupid riders were riding the bike line the wrong way (which is illegal) requiring me to ride in the road forcing me in the way of traffic.... same with all those damn runners in the bike lane, GET OUT!

either way, cyclist could be better about riding safer on the street, I, as well as many others take our cycling not as serious as we should, as well as the many a**hole drivers that almost hit me daily... Let's all work on this. We are all to blame and can work to make it better.

I am so sorry for the family and friends of this rider and am happy that the police report was revised to show what really happened.
Dec. 6, 2011, 3:40 pm
ch from bh says:
Well THANK GOD that the NYPD is out blitzing Prospect Park for those speedy cyclists.

THAT'S a smart allocation of resources, Officers! Very s m r t.

Makes me feel much safer on the road.
Dec. 6, 2011, 4:49 pm
cs from northside says:
Please, please, please can we educate drivers and cyclists about bike lane rules!!? I am not referring to this specific tragedy....and new info makes it even worse...but I am
amazed at how many cyclists ride the wrong way in bike
lanes....dangerous for everyone!!!! especially pedestrians.
they need better signage.
Dec. 6, 2011, 9:08 pm
Grant from Montreal says:
It is absolutely sick that Degianni isn't sitting in a cell with a vehicular manslaughter charge; the fact that he probably continues to drive and work for his company is even more disgusting.

What company was he working for? Can this company be petitioned to fire this negligent murderer?
Dec. 7, 2011, 7:23 am
Grant from Montreal says:
It is absolutely sick that Degianni isn't sitting in a cell with a vehicular manslaughter charge; the fact that he probably continues to drive and work for his company is even more disgusting.

What company was he working for? Can this company be petitioned to fire this negligent murderer?
Dec. 7, 2011, 7:23 am
Linda from Greenpoint says:
Grant.. it smells you are jobless! just go out of your comfort zone and get a real job will ya?
Dec. 7, 2011, 12:47 pm
mike from GP says:
Linda, wow, those are some pretty hateful comments. You should be ashamed.
Dec. 15, 2011, 6:57 am

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