Gothamist: New Video Shows Brooklyn Cyclist Moments Before Death, May Prove NYPD Wrong

Ghost Bike

A newly released surveillance video of Mathieu Lefevre moments before his death has surfaced, illustrating the inaccuracy of the NYPD investigation. 


Yesterday would have been Mathieu Lefevre‘s 31st birthday, had he not been killed by a flatbed truck driver who left him for dead on a Williamsburg street one night last October. On the eve of this sad milestone, the NYPD filed court documents revealing that the case was officially closed, back on January 4th. The main investigator handling the case for the NYPD Accident Investigation Squad, Detective Gerard Sheehan, says Lefevre was at fault for attempting to pass driver Leonardo Degianni on the right. Today, an attorney for the Lefevre family released this surveillance video, which he says proves that Lefevre was “in no way at fault.”

Steve Vaccaro explains:

The suggestion that Mathieu Lefevre was in any way at fault for the fatal crash demonstrates once again the lack of understanding of the rules of the road among NYPD officers, including, remarkably, members of the Accident Investigation Squad. NYPD seems to be relying on VTL Section 1123 in claiming that Lefevre should not have attempted to pass the truck on the right. But Section 1123 expressly allows passing on the right when there is enough unobstructed room in the roadway for two lanes of traffic.

Having viewed the videorecording of the crash, it is clear that there was room not only for a lane of motor vehicle traffic (the one the truck was in) and a lane of bicycle traffic to pass safely on the right, but there was in fact enough room for two lanes of motor vehicles, which is more than Section 1123 requires in order for a cyclist to pass a motor vehicle legally and safely on the right.

Moreover, the truck driver violated the law not only in failing to signal his turn, but in failing to make the turn as close as practicable to the right-hand curb, as he was required to do under VTL Section 1160(a). The truck driver appears to have been on top of the double yellow median on Morgan Avenue prior to making the right turn onto Meserole. For this reason, there was ample room for Lefevre to attempt to pass the truck on the right pursuant to Section 1123. Lefevre would have been prohibited from crossing the double-yellow median to pass the truck on the left, and (since the driver didn’t signal or in any other way indicate he was about to turn) Lefevre is completely blameless for this crash.

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