Aug. 5, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
The truck driver who struck and killed a cyclist on Vernon Boulevard last year pleaded guilty to violating the victim’s right of way last month.
Frank Alibrandi, the driver, plowed into cyclist Hoyt Jacobs last year as he was making a right turn from Vernon Boulevard on to 41st Avenue. He will appear for a sentencing on September 22.
Alibrandi was turning right on 41st avenue on Jan. 17, 2015, around 7:15 p.m. when he hit Jacobs who was riding north on Vernon Boulevard.
Jacobs was dragged by the truck for 25 feet, and died on the scene, according to the crash report.
Alibrandi was charged under section 19-190, known as the Right of Way Law, which requires drivers to yield to pedestrians and cyclists.
Though his punishment is undetermined, Section 19-190 carries a fine of up $250 and a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.
Albrandi was driving a truck for a private sanitation company, Manhattan Demolition.
Jacobs, 36, was a writer and worked as a tutor at New York City College of Technology.
Soon after Jacobs was struck in early 2015, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a plan to fit more than 200 city trucks with guards between the front and back wheels to protect pedestrians and cyclists from being caught under the truck if struck.
This effort was undertaken as part of the Mayor’s “Vision Zero” initiative, aimed at increasing pedestrian and cyclist safety.
According to the Mayor’s office, trucks are only 3.6 percent of vehicles on the road in New York City, but collisions with trucks account for 12.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 32 percent of bicyclist fatalities.
$250 and 30 days in jail for killing someone? Wow. Jus doesn’t seem right.
Without an aggravating factor to elevate the charge a violation is what it is. Seeing bikers is not always easy (nor pedestrians for that manner) and in the past there have been times when I didn’t know they were there until the last second. Blind spots, darkness, weather, and even those new barriers they put up along Vernon make seeing them harder. I remember this when I bike and use extreme caution.
How about mandating financial restitution to the family instead of adding more people to the ranks and status of inmate? Prison does nothing but create unemployable hardened criminals which are costing tax payers hundreds of billions of dollars annually. This is an indisputable fact. We need better ways to address crime negligence and stupidity then prison.
Vernon Blvd, from Borden Ave to Astoria Blvd is not a bike-friendly roadway and was poorly adapted to include designated bike lanes. It is a hot mess and more accidents will occur if all is kept as is.
There is also very little law enforcement for speeding on Vernon and sanitation/dump/armored trucks often exceed 40+ mph along many stretches of the blvd, running red lights in the process. (where exactly DOES the 108th have any presence?)
That said, if you’re on a bike in NYC you have to be aware at all times of all vehicles around you—whether you’re in a bike lane or not. You can’t assume anything when you’re up against something thousands of pounds heavier than you that cant maneuver or stop fast enough to prevent serious injury. It is a shame a life was lost.
I Bet he didn’t use his signal.