Last month, police arrested the driver of a coach bus that was involved in a June accident in Chelsea that led to New York City’s first fatality of a rider on a Citi Bike. The 52-year-old bus driver was arrested on Halloween for a violation and a misdemeanor that occurred on June 1. The driver was released the same day without having to post any bail.
A former sergeant in the Israeli army became the first bicycle rider to be killed on NYC streets while using a bike from the Citi Bike ride-share program this past summer. The deceased man hailed from Tel Aviv and was employed by Credit Suisse as an investment banker.
The bus driver’s attorney stated that his client was “distraught and deeply saddened” over the man’s death and also for the pain of the survivors. He claimed that the incident was “a tragic accident . . . not a crime.” He went on to deny that his client had been either reckless or negligent.
The arrested man was the driver of a commuter bus. At the time of the fatal accident, he was driving westbound near 8th Avenue on 26th Street when he spied the Citi Bike rider in the center of the road at nearly 8:15 a.m. He reportedly honked the horn at the cyclist, but because he was wearing headphones, the rider may not have heard the noise.
The bus driver attempted to pass the cyclist, then felt “something” and “heard a commotion.” When he checked his mirror, he glimpsed the man down on the ground, the court papers detail.
According to authorities, the bicyclist got wedged between the bus and a parked car. Losing his balance, he fell off his bike and tumbled under the wheels of the rear portion of the bus. Despite being promptly taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment, the cyclist was pronounced dead.
The bus driver stayed at the scene to await the police.
If he is convicted of the most serious charge — causing physical injury by failure to observe the right of way — the bus driver could serve a month in jail. He is also charged with failing to exercise due care.
Regardless of the outcome of a criminal case, injured parties may still pursue justice through the Manhattan civil courts.
Source: New York Post, “Bus driver charged in first Citi Bike fatality,” Rebecca Rosenberg, Oct. 31, 2017