NEW YORK — The driver of a charter bus that fatally struck an investment banker riding a Citi Bike in Manhattan last year, marking the first death involving the city’s bike-share program, was found guilty of failing to yield the right of way, a misdemeanor.
Dave Lewis was also convicted of failure to exercise due care, a violation, at his bench trial involving the death of Dan Hanegby, 36, of Brooklyn, who was riding in the Chelsea neighborhood when he collided with the bus, fell from the bike and was run over.
Lawyers for Lewis, who remained at the scene, noted that Hanegby was wearing headphones and was “completely and totally unaware” of his surroundings. They called his death an unfortunate accident.
“There was ample time and ample location for this bicyclist to pull over,” defense lawyer Jeremy Saland told the judge.
Prosecutors argued that Hanegby had the right of way.
“The defendant thought that the cyclist should move over, not that he himself should have slowed down,” Raffaela Belizaire said.
Bicycle advocates supported the verdict.
“Drivers are rarely held accountable for recklessly taking lives on New York City streets,” Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, told The New York Times . “All too often, police hastily exonerate drivers while erroneously blaming bicyclists and pedestrians for their own deaths.”
Lewis faces up to 30 days in jail for failing to yield the right of way and up to 15 days for failure to exercise due care when he is to be sentenced Oct. 22.