A man from Queens who was critically injured when a car hit him as he cycled in a bike lane has died from his injuries, according to authorities.
The 18-year-old victim was reportedly riding northbound on 29th Street when he began to cross Queens Plaza North in the bike lane near Queensboro Bridge. As he crossed the street, a westbound car hit him. The victim struck the vehicle’s windshield before falling to the ground. He was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital and treated for severe trauma to the head. The vehicle’s driver remained at the scene and was not charged with any crime.
The accident comes in the wake of the establishment of a new Right of Way charge that is part of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero program to prevent traffic-related deaths throughout the city. The charge has been invoked over 30 times since it took effect in August 2014. Under the policy, only New York Police Department Collision Investigation Squad (CIS) officers can make arrests using this charge, but they are only called to the scene if emergency responders declare someone dead, close to death or critically injured. If this does not happen, precinct detectives handle the situation.
Thus far, three dispositions have taken place from this new law. They all ended with fines, but no jail time for the offending drivers. Some activists are calling for CIS officers to be called in more frequently on cases that may not be life threatening, but might be life altering in their impact. Prosecutors also believe this would enable them to pursue charges more effectively.
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