Two more city cyclists killed in crashes — one in Greenpoint

July 24, 2019 Noah Goldberg
Ghost bikes across the city mark the sites where cyclists have been killed. Eagle file photo by Todd Maisel
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Two cyclists were killed in crashes with trucks Tuesday, including the 12th Brooklyn cyclist killed this year, police confirmed. The other cyclist was hit in Staten Island.

The riders were the 16th and 17th killed in crashes citywide this year, seven more than were killed in all of 2018.

The 58-year-old Brooklyn rider, whose name has not yet been released, was riding south on McGuinness Boulevard near Norman Avenue in Greenpoint around 3:50 p.m. when he “made contact” with a box truck that was also headed southbound, according to cops. There are no bike lanes on McGuinness Boulevard or Norman Avenue near that intersection.

Safe-street activists faulted street design in the two crashes.

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“A driver killed a cyclist on McGuinness Boulevard, a multi-lane arterial that resembles a highway. These crashes are tragic examples of what happens in a city that purports to welcome cyclists but fails to dedicate protected space for bikes on the vast majority of its streets,” said a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives in a statement. McGuinness Boulevard has two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes with an island in the middle.

In the Staten Island crash, which happened about four hours earlier, teenager Alex Cordero was hit and killed by a tow truck at the intersection of Clove Road and Castleton Avenue.

There were no arrests in either crash. The NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad is looking into both.

A Queens cyclist was also struck early Wednesday morning by a Nissan Rogue and is in critical condition, according to Patch.

The crashes come during a particularly deadly year for cyclists citywide, and in Brooklyn in particular. On June 28, Ernest Askew was struck and killed in Brownsville. Just hours before his July 1 vigil, Devra Freedlander was hit and killed in Bushwick. In 2018, just two riders were killed in Brooklyn, according to city data. In 2017, the year’s total of cyclists killed in Brooklyn was 10.

After the Staten Island crash Tuesday, the mayor tweeted that he would announce an “action plan” to make “streets safer for cyclists and everyone on the road.”

The City Council passed legislation on Tuesday that would afford cyclists the same opportunity as pedestrians at some intersections in the city to get a head start on cars when crossing. The new law allows bicyclists to follow pedestrian signals rather than vehicular traffic signals.

“We know that intersections are the most dangerous place for cyclists and pedestrians. Bike lanes — especially protected bike lanes — are critical for safety, but it is intersections where cyclists and pedestrians are most vulnerable to being killed by motor vehicles,” Councilmember Carlos Menchaca said of the legislation, noting that “Leading Pedestrian Interval” signals had saved lives and reduced pedestrian injuries by 27 percent where they were implemented.

“We are only a little more than halfway through the year, but already 17 cyclists are dead, more than the total, 10, killed during the whole of 2018,” Menchaca said. “As the Mayor himself admitted earlier this month, we are facing a public safety emergency.”

Assemblymember Joe Lentol — who represents Greenpoint — announced Wednesday that he would allocate $1,000,000 in state funds for immediate improvements to road safety in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

“I will be working with the New York City Department of Transportation and advocacy organizations to engineer better patterns for cyclists and motorists to travel on local streets. North Brooklyn needs additional protected bicycle lanes in high usage streets,” Lentol said in a statement, adding that he was “sickened” by the rising number of deaths and injuries of cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

Update (2:50 p.m.): This story has been updated to include a quote and information from Assemblymember Joe Lentol. 

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  1. Ro from Park Slope

    Firstly, condolences to the families of those who have died. Secondly, bicycle-safety must be implemented and addressed by training for those who ride bikes in the streets or bike lanes–learning that pedestrians have the right of way and all traffic rules must be followed, including full stops at red lights and signs.

  2. kevinizon

    Its terrible that bikers are so vulnerable. And also terrible that pedestrians are afraid of them – rightfully so. There is a balance that must be struck, and this has to be worked out via city council hearings, and locals bringing up this agenda to THEIR community board members. The idea of “the government should fix it, we pay our taxes” is simply NOT enough. if you do not participate in the process of decision-making and rabble-rousing within your stretch of the community, do not expect anything at all to change. Period.