Saturday, May 13, 2006

So much going on the good and the tragic

What a crazy weekend so far for bikes!! Wednesday night the 6th annual bicycle film festival kicked off a party at Union Pool in Williamsburg with the bands Aa, Matt and Kim, Home Video. All the heads were representing, riders for Blacklabel, Film makers, messengers...
A flyer for the Sunday's Memorial Ride:

Mother's Day, May 14th, is the memorial ride for Andre Anderson. What happened to Andre is really tragic and sensless.
Here is the Proper text of the press release which explains this unjust situation:

On September 24th 2005, 14 year-old Andre Anderson
was killed on Shore Front Parkway at Beach 77th St. in Far Rockaway, Queens, by Jose Vicens , 23, of Rockaway Beach, Queens, behind the wheel of his Lincoln Navigator. Andre was struck from behind and killed while riding his bike on a neighborhood street near his home a little after six o'clock on a Saturday evening.

The Wave newspaper wrote "Jose Vicens, 23, was behind the wheel of a 2003 Lincoln Navigator last Saturday just after 7 p.m. when he struck Andre Anderson, 14, who was pedaling a bike down the middle of the eastbound lanes near Beach 77 Street, according to police sources. Vicens tried to pass to the right, but the boy swerved into the right hand lane. Vicens countered to the left -- but not in time. Anderson suffered massive head trauma and bleeding. His small bicycle was crushed . […] Vicens remained at the scene until police arrived. He was not issued any violations and is not charged with any crime in connection with the accident. An official police statement said there was no criminality in this incident and that an investigation is ongoing."

According to Jose Vicens's
statement, he saw Andre in time to take not just one evasive maneuver, but two. However, there is no evidence in the police accident report that he applied his brakes ("no skids") or honked his horn to alert the bicyclist of his presence or of his actions. Instead, he tried to pass Andre to the right (!) and then to the left to finally rear-end him and kill him.

You would think, since the car driver was BEHIND the cyclist and acknowledged seeing him, and also since the speed limit is 30 mph and the car driver admitted driving above the speed limit (35 to 40 mph) that he would at least be slapped with something. Think again. Also, there is no proof in any of the police reports that he was administered a Breathalyzer. So, on a nice wide street with no indication of other traffic present (witness statement), a car driver was strangely unable to avoid fatally striking a cyclist, even though, by his own account, he saw the cyclist.

What makes Andre's death more senseless is that the "man" who killed him has never been charged with anything. Instead of rushing towards the front of his car to see if the cyclist he just hit was ok, he rushed towards the back of his car to his friend's SUV who was driving just behind him and who came to his rescue by giving a corroborating statement about young Andre swerving between the lanes. Unfortunately, the statement the police never took is the statement of a witness that puts the blame on the driver, not on the cyclist. Fortunately, that witness came forward and gave her information to the family who has unsuccessfully been trying to press charges.

What makes Andre's death more painful is his killer's utter disrespect for human life. It only takes a little computer savvy to find out a lot about Jose Vicens, thanks to his My Space account: his heavy drinking , his hobby "sending bikers flying in the air" and his feelings " sucks about the paper [The Wave article] and shit, but ya know none of that shit wont matter in 5 years." What is also troubling when you peruse those pages is that some of his friends are Police Officers that seem to be exhibiting the same destructive tendencies and whose My Space account pages are incompatible with the restraint which is expected of them while in uniform.

What makes Andre's death more of a shame is that according to Right of Way ( Andre's death falls into recognizable patterns, in accordance with their year 2000 analysis of cyclist deaths in New York, that Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has shown no interest in investigating Andre's death, and that the DoT has not taken any action to make sure that nobody else dies there by installing speed bumps and traffic lights.

To lose someone so important and valuable because of the recklessness of another person without just consequence is unbearable and unimaginable. Seven months have now past and this tragedy is yet to be thoroughly investigated. The District Attorney's office was informed of the accident the night of the occurrence and decided that there was no criminality to the actions of the driver. How is it possible that a conclusion could be arrived at without having allowed time for the investigation to even begin?


Anonymous Mark Davis said...

where and what time will the ride be?

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That there is sociopathic human garbage driving cars and other sociopathic human garbage who are police officers is a reality of our world..and should be always in the mind of any cyclist.

10:40 AM  
Blogger ewe said...

as an NYC biker, this is extremely upsetting. Hell as a fucking human being this is upsetting. bikes and peds are treated like second class citizens in this city. It's time we did something.

5:32 PM  
Blogger sucka pants said...

Save yourself, slash an SUV.

3:29 PM  
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