$75K Settlement for 2009 Crash That Killed Westchester Cycling Advocate

Cyclist's death led to Merrill’s Law, NYS's "safe passing distance law"

Merrill's Law was passed by the New York State Legislature in June 2010. It requires motorists to pass bicyclists "at a safe distance" to prevent collisions.
The law was named in memory of Merrill Cassell of Hartsdale in Westchester County. An advocate for safe bicycling, Merrill was killed in 2009 when he was struck by a county bus that was passing him too closely. No charges were brought against the bus driver.

LoHud, 3/8/2019 -- Westchester County will pay $75,000 to settle a lawsuit with the wife of a bicyclist who died in 2009 when he was sideswiped by a Bee Line bus in Greenburgh.

Merrill Cassell was riding on Route 119 near the Aqueduct Road intersection when he was clipped by a bus on the afternoon of Nov. 6. Cassell’s death led to New York State’s “Merill’s Law,” which requires drivers to pass cyclists at a safe distance – although enforcement of the law has often been criticized as lax.

Cassell, a Greenburgh resident who was 66, had worked at the United Nations and was an avid cyclist. Fellow cyclists accompanied the hearse carrying his coffin during his funeral procession. On what would’ve been his 67th birthday, cyclists placed a “ghost bike” memorial at a bus stop near to where Cassell was hit.

His wife filed suit against the county and Liberty Lines, which operates the county bus system, in 2010. The settlement amount was agreed to years ago, but had been tied up in estate proceedings in surrogate court, county attorneys said.

The settlement was approved to finally be paid by the county's Acquisition and Contract Board on Thursday, county attorney John Nonna said.
"He was a very, popular well-known cyclist and it was really sad," Nonna said.

Source: Journal News, 3/8/2019