Borough Park

Two more cyclist deaths in Brooklyn this week

May 16, 2019 Noah Goldberg

Three cyclists killed in Brooklyn in the past week have brought the number of cyclist fatalities in the city so far this year to 10 — the same number the city saw in all of 2018.

Eight of the 10 deaths have been in Brooklyn, and five in southern Brooklyn alone.

A 16-year-old bicyclist died in Borough Park after he got “doored” by a parked car Wednesday evening. On Thursday morning, cops announced that a cyclist had died from injuries sustained in a Saturday crash in Crown Heights. They are the second and third bikers killed from Brooklyn crashes this week.

Kenichi Nakagawa, 22, was riding south on Brooklyn Avenue toward the intersection of Dean Street in Crown Heights Saturday around 5:20 p.m. when he biked through a red light, according to cops. A 66-year-old driving a Toyota Sienna east on Dean Street hit Nakagawa with his car, knocking him to the pavement. He suffered traumatic injuries to the head and died at Kings County Hospital three days later.

Rebecca Baird-Remba came upon the scene Saturday after dropping off her own bike to get fixed on Nostrand Avenue. She saw EMTs working on Nakagawa.

“The injuries weren’t that obvious but clearly he had some internal injuries. It just seemed horrific,” she said.

She also spoke with a man who lived down the street. “The impact was so loud that he heard the SUV hit the kid. He was like, ‘I heard this crack sitting in my house and I came out and the kid had flown across the street,'” Baird-Remba said.

Yisroel Schwartz – a teenager – was killed Wednesday evening in Borough Park when he swerved to avoid getting hit by a car door whose passenger was opening their door. He could not avoid it.

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Nakagawa and Schwartz were the seventh and eighth cyclists killed this year in Brooklyn, with five of the 10 citywide riders killed in southern Brooklyn, leading pro-bike advocates to call on the city to make the borough’s streets safer to ride.

Robert Sommer was struck and killed in Marine Park on Sunday while trying to bike across a four-lane street.

No arrests have been made in any of the three cases, and police are still investigating.

“While the City’s approach to reducing fatalities has yielded real results over the past five years, it is abundantly clear that the scattershot, one-off approach to Vision Zero has reached a point of diminishing returns, and New Yorkers are dying as a result,” wrote Thomas DeVito, senior director of advocacy at the group Transportation Alternatives, in a press release.

DeVito cited examples like the “preemptively watered down” Bay Ridge bike plan as results of “leadership failure,” calling on the City Council to pass street design legislation that would include additional protected bike lanes, visibility measures, automated enforcement cameras and more.

Update (12:00 p.m.) — This article has been updated with quotes from Rebecca Baird-Remba and a statement from Transportation Alternatives. 

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