On Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, there's a warehouse that contains thousands of bicycles impounded by the NYPD. Some were confiscated off the streets for routine reasons, say, for interfering with a presidential motorcade. Others belong to cyclists who were injured or killed in traffic collisions—like that of Mathieu Lefevre, who died after he was hit by the driver of a flatbed truck in Williamsburg in December of 2011.

Despite evidence that Lefevre and his bike were dragged some 70 feet by the driver—who sped away without stopping—Lefevre's family and attorney have been unable to get to that bicycle. The warehouse, the NYPD says, was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy, so much so that its contents have allegedly been sealed by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). When it will be opened is anyone's guess, said Steve Vaccaro, the Lefevres' attorney, and the NYPD doesn't intend to help anytime soon.

"EMTs take care of the person, NYPD takes care of the property," Vaccaro said. "Police officers don't really understand as well as they should that they're there to protect the property of a person that can't protect their own property. This is a violation of the trust we put in the police to protect us in that situation."

Why is it so important that the bike be retrieved? Lefevre's family hopes to use it as evidence against the driver, who claimed he didn't notice he'd hit Lefevre and has not been charged with any crime. Vaccaro doubts that this is true, but the bike, which was photographed immediately after the crash, may help prove it.

"The pattern of damage to the bike suggests that for at least a portion of the 70 feet, the steel frame was being scraped on the ground, likely spraying out a shower of sparks," he said, adding that there's also reason to believe that Lefevre may also have become entangled in an attached crane—a crane that the driver did not have the proper insurance for.

Vaccaro said the police have claimed the warehouse was sealed by OSHA, but their unwillingness to provide any paperwork leaves him dubious. A Brooklyn judge issued the NYPD a subpoena in December to retrieve the bicycle, a request they've moved to nullify using the OSHA claim.

"I think it’s crazy that the NYPD, under the pressure of the subpoena and whatever public attention, isn’t even willing to say ‘We’ve begun work on cleaning Kingsland facility and anticipate by end of summer we should have the bicycle," he said. "Meanwhile, the bike is rusting and corroding—it doesn’t pass the sniff test with me that it's been sealed by OSHA."

An OSHA spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, a records storage facility next door has been emptied without incident, said Keegan Stephan, an organizer for the advocacy group Right of Way.

"It seems like the NYPD is using Sandy as an excuse to just wash their hands of all these bikes they have confiscated over the years," he wrote in an email. "They managed to open up the half of the building with the records in it, and they definitely did not just close the car impound in the Navy Yard indefinitely, which was also flooded. The obvious double standard seems particularly egregious to me since many of the cyclists who have lost their bikes forever were victims of crimes, while everyone who had their car towed had committed a crime."

A hearing will be held on Thursday to determine whether the bicycle will be handed over to the Lefevre family, though Vaccaro said the city is now trying to say that different papers are required.

"It's just another banana peel they're throwing at us," he said.