Cyclists create living wills asking NYPD to investigate their deaths

Riders raise their bikes in memorium of Solange Raulston, who passed away in 2009 at Nassau & McGuinness in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  (Emily Anne Epstein/Metro)
Riders raise their bikes in memorium of Solange Raulston, who passed away in 2009 at Nassau & McGuinness in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. (Emily Anne Epstein/Metro)

Some cyclists are so sure the NYPD would not investigate their deaths in traffic that they are making living wills.

The environmental advocacy group Time’s Up! is collecting the wills on a website, where New Yorkers ask the NYPD to launch a full investigation if they are killed by a car and to make that information public.

About 25 bikers have submitted wills so far, Brooklynite Keegan Stephan said.

“The videos are a little chilling,” Stephan, 29, said.

Stephan created a will, one of many posted on their website.

In Stephan’s video, he says, “I’m making this video to say that if I’m killed by an automobile on the streets of New York City, I would like the NYPD to do a full investigation, and I would like that investigation report to be released to the public.”

He adds, “To me, this is no different than being an organ donor. If something tragic happens to me, I’d at least like it to help save the life of someone else.”

Previously, the NYPD only investigated crashes where the victim died or was likely to die. Many advocates argued that this meant no evidence was collected, even if someone was severely injured or did ultimately die.

Earlier this month, the NYPD announced they would also investigate crashes that involve serious injuries.

Just last week, a cyclist in Astoria was reportedly hit two times by the same van, while he was riding in the bike lane. He escaped with scratches.

Stephan has himself been hit by cars “countless times,” he said.

Recently, he was hospitalized when a car rear-ended him. The police report quoted the driver, who said Stephan turned in front of him, Stephen said, which he said was not true.

“If I didn’t survive, there wouldn’t be anyone around to tell the NYPD or the public that that isn’t what happened,” he said.

He added that making a will had been a “morbid” experience that made him again aware of danger in city streets.

“It’s just a reality check to be biking or even walking in New York City and not realize how dangerous the traffic is,” he said. “You’re kind of taking your life into your own hands.”

Killed by cars

Clara Heyworth, 28, was hit by a car in July 2011 as she stepped across a Fort Greene street to meet her husband, Jacob Stevens. Stevens filed a lawsuit against the NYPD, who he said did not do enough to investigate her case. Heyworth did not die at the scene, but she later died from her injuries. A delay in the investigation meant much evidence was missed, Stevens said, including skid marks, taking photos and finding witnesses. The driver was charged with driving while intoxicated but was not sentenced to jail time.

Mathieu Lefevre, a Brooklyn artist, was killed while on his bike in October 2011 when he was hit by a flatbed truck. His family sued the NYPD to get more information about the investigation into his death. His mother, Erika Lefevre, blasted the NYPD for not giving them any pictures of the crash scene, because the investigator’s camera was broken.

Last year, UPS worker Mike Rogalle died after he was hit by an SUV while walking on Beekman Street. An SUV reportedly lost control and careened into the sidewalk, according to the Daily News.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…