NYPD has amended the crash report that wrongly accused Lauren Davis of biking against traffic when she was struck and killed by a turning driver on Classon Avenue the morning of April 15.
Yesterday, Streetsblog published an account from witness Rebecca Ballantine, who was biking on Classon at the same time as Davis and said she was “absolutely sure [Davis] was not biking against traffic.” At the time we ran the story, NYPD’s public information office still said Davis was biking the wrong way when she was struck.
Now NYPD has updated its crash report, according to Nathan Tempey at Gothamist:
A department representative said this morning that investigators have amended their report to indicate that Davis was riding with traffic, and that they are in conversation with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office about possible charges.
While it’s good that police have corrected their mistake and are moving forward with the investigation, much of the damage has already been done. False information permeated the news cycle following the crash, feeding the perception that cyclists are culpable when they’re struck and killed by motorists.
Now the question is: What will NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and Highway Patrol chief Michael Ameri, who’s in charge of the Collision Investigation Squad, do to prevent this from happening again?
NYPD’s premature judgment in this case is part of a broader pattern of police bias in crash investigations, which often leads to press accounts that erroneously blame victims.
One reform was suggested by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — himself a former police officer — at a memorial ride held for Davis and James Gregg, who was killed last week while biking in Park Slope.
Adams called on police to refrain from publicly discussing details of crashes while investigations are underway, according to the Brooklyn Eagle. “We should not assume that the cyclist was always the person responsible for a crash or had accepted the risk simply by climbing on a bicycle,” he said.