Marine Park

Southern Brooklyn streets account for half the cyclists killed this year

May 13, 2019 Noah Goldberg
People have installed "ghost bikes" around the city in memory of killed cyclists. This one is at Church Avenue and Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush. Eagle file photo by Todd Maisel

A bicyclist struck and killed by an SUV Sunday night as he tried to cross a four-lane street in Marine Park was the eighth cyclist killed in New York City in 2019 and the fourth killed in southern Brooklyn.

No bicyclists were killed in southern Brooklyn in all of 2018, according to Vision Zero data. This year, the neighborhood accounts for half of cyclist deaths citywide.

Robert Sommer, a 29-year-old from upstate New York, was trying to cross Avenue U at the intersection of East 33rd Street when a driver heading eastbound in a Toyota Highlander crashed into him and knocked him to the pavement, police said. The bicyclist, who suffered severe head trauma, was taken to New York Community Hospital, where he died. The 20-year-old driver stayed on the scene, and there were no immediate arrests, according to the police.

“That half of the fatalities have occurred in Southern Brooklyn is the entirely predictable result of the city government and local officials abandoning people on bikes here and never taking serious measures to improve the bike network or cycling safety,” the group Bike South Brooklyn said in a statement.

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The group blamed the mayor and Department of Transportation commissioner for failing to provide significant bike lane networks in Brooklyn.

“We have no doubt that if this cyclist was afforded even a sliver of safe protected space on the street, they would be alive today,” Tom DeVito, senior director of advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement.

DOT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

So far this year, only one bicyclist has been killed in Manhattan while six have been killed in Brooklyn, according to Vision Zero data and data from advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.


Cyclist deaths are up citywide in 2019, after 10 — an all-time-low over the past decade — were killed in 2018, according to Vision Zero data.

Eight cyclists have been killed already in 2019, according to Transportation Alternatives.

Update (1:30 p.m.): This article has been updated with the name of the cyclist who was killed.


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