Cyclist Killed One Week After DOT Announces Plans to Install Unsafe Painted Bike Lanes to Avoid Removing Free Parking

Mayor de Blasio’s piecemeal approach to Vision Zero is on display in the inadequate bike infrastructure of Southern Brooklyn 
Joseph Cutrufo -
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Statement of Transportation Alternatives Senior Director of Advocacy Thomas DeVito:

“On Sunday evening, a driver struck and killed a 29-year-old person riding a bicycle on Avenue U near East 33rd Street in Marine Park. So far this year, four of the eight people killed riding bikes in New York City have lost their lives on the streets of Southern Brooklyn.This is a tragedy which Mayor Bill de Blasio could have easily prevented with protected bike lanes installed as part of a complete network of cycling infrastructure. 

Despite the huge percentage of New Yorkers who ride bikes, and the proven lifesaving capability of protected bike lanes, Southern Brooklyn residents have little to no access to streets safe for cycling, and they are being disproportionately impacted. At a community board meeting in Southern Brooklyn last week, a representative of the Department of Transportation explained succinctly why the agency would not install safe protected bike lanes in the area: it would inconvenience people who choose to drive cars. “Basically any protected lanes would involve reduced traffic flow or reduced parking,” the representative said. Three years ago, the Department of Transportation cowed out of plans to install protected bike lanes in the very area where this 29-year-old was killed. 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. 

To prioritize the convenience of one population over the survival of another is grossly unfair, and strikingly unethical. Transportation Alternatives calls on Mayor de Blasio to end the two-class system of parking over safety, which encourages the Department of Transportation to regularly place the pleasure of drivers well-above the survival of people walking and people on bikes. The expedited passage and signing of the Vision Zero Street Design Standard, a bill currently before the City Council with 43 co-sponsors, is a key step toward changing this reckless and inequitable status quo.

At least 67 people have been killed in preventable traffic crashes in New York City so far this year, according to the NYPD, including at least eight people on bikes. In the last week alone, at least three people were killed in Southern Brooklyn, four people already in the month of May. The city is on pace to see 22 people killed on bikes this year -- more than double the number killed last year.”