Julian Smith
24 years old

Although Julian was Susie Smith’s oldest child by one minute, his twin sister, Paula, usually took on the responsible role in the family. “He was a strong headed boy, you would tell him one thing and he’d do another,” his mother said. “But that’s kids for you.”

Julian kept his rebellious streak as he got older, although he “calmed down” a bit. The birth of his daughter, Amiyah, when he was 17, helped. “They were so close, they were best friends,” Smith said.

Julian developed a passion for motorcycles and became a member of the Zero 2 One Hundred motorcycle club. “He told his brother that when he was on the bike everything else disappeared,” Smith recalled. “His problems were gone. It helped to calm him.”

Shortly before he died, Julian had talked to his mom about getting married and having more children. “He was changing his life altogether,” she said. “Before I lost him we were getting so close. That’s what hurts the most. We never got the chance.”

Julian had recently been on medical leave from his job after an accident on his motorcycle. “He had been in physical therapy and was returning to full health,” Smith said. “He was getting stronger and couldn’t wait to get back on the bike again.”

This collision happened on August 27, 2014 near Belt Parkway near the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens. See details in the Mean Streets Tracker.

Mean Streets 2014: Who We Lost, How They Lived

Throughout 2014, WNYC tracked the 265 men, women and children killed in traffic crashes in New York City. In addition to reporting the circumstances of their deaths, we looked at who they were in life: mothers, fathers, grandparents, students, recent immigrants and native New Yorkers. To read some of their stories, click on a photograph.