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 [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.