SEE IT! Video Shows Bus Driver Killing Citi Bike Rider
3:11 PM PDT on September 20, 2018
The bus driver did not slow down. The cyclist did not swerve.
These are the unmistakable conclusions from the video of the last moments in Dan Hanegby's life before driver Dave Lewis drove his 50,000-pound coach over the Citi Bike rider that he had knocked to the ground as he tried to pass him on W. 26th Street on June 12, 2017. (See video below, starting at roughly :50.)
The video — a key component of Lewis's ongoing trial — was released by Judge Heidi Cesare on Thursday, against the wishes of Lewis's lawyer. Lewis is on trial for violating Hanegby's right of way, a misdemeanor punishable by just 30 days in prison, though advocates called for a harsher charge. In any event, a guilty verdict would send a larger message to drivers who choose hit the accelerator pedal instead of the brake on narrow city streets. And it would undercut what has become the NYPD's default reaction after collision: blaming the cyclist. The video certainly does that.
In the footage above, Hanegby enters the frame shortly after :50 and is seen biking east on W. 26th Street between Eighth and Seventh avenues. The bus is behind Hanegby as he cycles between a white commercial van parked to his right and a black SUV that was jutting illegally into the narrow one-way street on the opposite side.
Hanegby, who is wearing headphones, travels in a straight trajectory near the middle of the roadway. As Lewis passes, Hanegby's front wheel jerks to the right just before he slips out of view — the video apparently showing the bus clipping Hanegby's handlebars, causing the front wheel to twist right.
A second video from the opposite viewpoint, shows Lewis passing close to the parked SUV on the north side of the street. Despite initial police reports, Hanegby, who was an experienced cyclist, did not swerve, the footage shows. When the bus clipped his bike, he fell to the street, where Lewis ran over him with his charter bus. Lewis continued down the block before stopping.
During the trial, Lewis's lawyer Jeremy Saland blamed Hanegby for the collision, but witnesses rebutted that. Last year, Lanette Perez, who had been riding in the front seat of the bus, told Gothamist that Lewis was to blame.
"We brushed him causing him to loose [sic] control," she wrote in an email to the website."My heart breaks for this man and his family."
Saland objected to the release of the video saying it would bias future witnesses.
"There has been a significant amount of press coverage on this case, and it’s my concern that there could be undue influence on [future witnesses], because objectively, it’s a horrific, horrendous event," he said. "As we know in this particular case, there are strong emotions in the biker community and some of them might be very reasonable… There’s such emotion here this is just going to add to that fodder."
But Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White hailed of the judge's decision to release the tape.
"When a crash victim can't tell their side of the story, we end up with flawed accounts of what actually happened," he said. "Without video evidence, Dan Hanegby might have been just another cyclist being blamed for his own death."
A bench verdict is expected as early as Friday.
— with Gersh Kuntzman
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