Lefevre, a 30-year-old artist living in Williamsburg, was struck by a flat bed truck at the intersection of Meserole and Morgan avenues in East Williamsburg on October 18.
According to police, the truck went to make a right off of Morgan Avenue on to Meserole and struck the cyclist. Lefevre died at the scene. The driver, who left the scene after hitting Lefevre, has not been charged.
NYPD tracked the driver down, but he claimed he was not aware that he hit someone. He remains to be charged for leaving the scene of an accident or failure to exercise due care while driving.
Lefevre’s death is the fourth in Williamsburg within the last three months due to a collision with a car or truck.
“The New York Police Department has consistently failed to file charges against drivers for their lethal behavior,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “Even in cases where there is clear wrongdoing, no charges are being filed.”
White rattled off a list of five other pedestrians and cyclists in all the five boroughs who were killed at the hands of a driver, one of which left the scene as did the driver who killed Lefevre.
“There is no other way of killing a person in New York City where saying, ‘I didn’t see her’ or ‘I didn’t see him’ is an excuse,” White added.
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, 69 percent of fatal crashes with known causes are caused by the driver’s dangerous behavior.
Last year, 270 New Yorkers died in traffic collisions and an additional 77,253 were injured. Between 2000 and 2009, more New Yorkers were killed by drivers than by a gun.
“This is an epidemic on our streets and the NYPD is ignoring it,” White said.
Lefevre’s mother, Erika, along with his father and sister had been in New York for about one week at the time of the press conference and they say that they have not been given much information by the NYPD about what happened to their son.
“It’s a huge tragedy and what makes it even worse is that we need to get information, it’s very important to get information from the police about what happened to our son,” she said. “We feel that we have a right to know and that we don’t have to wait weeks.”
Lefevre was an artist who got his start in Montreal. He lived in Williamsburg for a year-and-a-half.
“Our son was a wonderful person, he came to New york to begin his career in New York,” said his mother. “He was not only terrific, he was a talented creative young man, who was well on his way to become a great artist.”
He was one of four siblings.
“He was very charismatic, fun-loving, infectious,” said Lefevre’s sister, Ariane.
Ryan Kuonen, a community organizer for NAGG, said that the organization has received complaints from car drivers, pedestrians and cyclists about truck traffic in the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods.
“This is an issue every single day,” he said. “Our neighborhood has a chronic problem with truck traffic. And they feel because they are the largest thing on the street, they don’t have to behave responsibly. And the NYPD is reinforcing this idea by not holding these drivers accountable.”
Lefevre’s family said that they learned a lot about what happened to their son through the media.
“All we know is what we have read in the papers. This information has been released to the media but it has not been given to us,” said Erika Lefevre. “We asked specifically and the answer was ‘we don’t know.’ That is inexcusable.
“The problem is this lack of communication,” she added.
She noted that Lefevre was a skilled bicyclist who rode all the time. The day of the accident he wore a helmet, but it could not be retrieved by police after the collision. She last spoke to him on her birthday on October 10.
Transporation Alternatives is calling for the NYPD to enforce laws already on the books, such as driving backward. White cited one incident where a driver reversing backward and into a crosswalk ended up killing a 78-year-old woman. The driver was also driving without a valid license, and according to White, the police only cited the driver for an invalid license. No charges were brought against the driver.
TA is also calling for public officials to commit to a goal of zero bicyclist, pedestrian, driver and passenger fatalities and serious injuries on New York City streets.