Collision between cyclist and car in Bay Ridge raises concerns

May 16, 2018 Jaime DeJesus
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Another day, another vehicle accident in Bay Ridge.

A 29-year-old man riding his bicycle was critically injured after colliding with a vehicle in Bay Ridge on Thursday, May 10 at around 9:47 a.m.

According to the authorities, the cyclist, who was riding northbound on Ridge Boulevard, collided with a vehicle being driven along 73rd Street, westbound, by a 63-year-old woman.

The man sustained severe trauma to his body and was rushed to NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn where he was listed in critical condition. The driver remained on scene and was also taken to NYU Langone Hospital –Brooklyn for injuries to her face.


The accident happened just two weeks after a 10-year-old boy was struck by a car on 84th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Bay Ridge.

“It seems like we can’t go a few days without hearing about another person being hit by a car,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan, who took part in a rally on Sunday, May 6 with organizations advocating for safer streets. The collision in which the boy was injured was, he stressed, “Especially frustrating because it took place at an intersection which, for years, residents have been asking for help.

“The Department of Transportation must act now and install safety measures immediately to minimize any chance of a deadly incident in the future,” Brannan contended. “Moreover, and I speak as a car driver myself, everybody just needs to slow down.”

Brannan is hardly alone in his concern.

“I live a block away (73rd and Colonial) from the site of Thursday’s crash [in which the cyclist was injured],” said John Tomac. “I probably walk through that intersection five to six times a day. I passed through it probably 45 minutes after the crash while the street was still closed to traffic. There’s a lot of speeding in all directions at this intersection. A lot of it is drivers trying to beat the light.

“Too many drivers turning at this intersection don’t yield for people crossing the street,” he added. “I’ve had a few close calls, including when I’ve been out with my kids. One instance that sticks out in my memory is a guy who nearly hit me to nab the parking spot on the corner.”

“I guess what strikes me is that whenever an accident like this occurs, everybody is shocked and surprised as if it’s like odd occurrence,” added Bay Ridge Advocates Keeping Everyone Safe (B.R.A.K.E.S) member Maureen Landers. “Then they ask, was it the driver, the bicyclist or whatever? The reality is no one should be surprised these incidents occur in our streets.

“Who’s to blame?” Landers continued. “We all are by our reckless driving, pedestrians on their phones, whatever it might be. So I think that I’m just struck by the cycle — somebody is injured and there is shock, concern, blame. And it’s on repeat, without a change in enforcement, behavior and road design. When we have a culture where we are viewing these as isolated incidents, we miss the bigger picture and when we have a culture where we blame victims, we create a situation where we obstruct change and get in the way of it.”

The particular intersection is problematic, Landers added.

“I live on 72nd between Colonial and Narrows, and I know that drivers coming from Third Avenue don’t want to get stuck at that light so they will come as close to the red as possible and at the same time they’re speeding on Ridge Boulevard regardless of the fact there’s a church, an after-school, a library and P.S. 102,” she said. “You would think there would be a natural awareness but it is not the case.”


Dulce Canton of Transportation Alternatives, also chimed in.

“We’re looking to see more complete street improvements, better pedestrian crossings, narrower lanes,” she said. “We went to Albany to lobby hard for more speed safety cameras in school zones. This is a bipartisan issue, a citywide issue. As the city gets more dense, you have more pedestrians, you have more people biking and we want streets to reflect that. They can’t just be designed to favor cars.”

Bay Ridge resident Jean Beeks, who was at the scene shortly after the collision, contended that streets in the neighborhood have gotten increasingly dangerous.

“I’ve lived in a lot of places in New York and Bay Ridge is pretty bad. I don’t feel safe crossing, especially at stop signs,” she said. “[Cars] go really fast and aren’t conscious of their surroundings and there have been a lot of times when I’m crossing the street with my kids and I’m at a stop sign and I have to physically put out my hand and ask them ‘are you stopping because your car is still moving?’”

“This corner is a hot mess and it’s not surprising someone nearly got killed here,” Tomac added.

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