Man Struck in East Elmhurst Was 17th Cyclist Killed by NYC Driver This Year

NYC motorists have struck and killed 17 cyclists in 2016, compared to 11 deaths through August of 2015. NYPD said the most recent victim was biking in the left shoulder of Grand Central Parkway, but the exact location of the crash is unknown. Image: Google Maps
NYC motorists have struck and killed 17 cyclists in 2016, compared to 11 deaths through August of 2015. NYPD said the most recent victim was biking in the left shoulder of Grand Central Parkway, but the exact location of the crash is unknown. Image: Google Maps

Update: According to NYPD collision location data, the crash occurred on Grand Central Parkway near LaGuardia Airport. H/t to reader Jules.

A man hit while riding a bike in East Elmhurst yesterday was the 17th cyclist killed by a New York City driver in 2016. NYPD filed no charges.

According to NYPD, the victim was in the left shoulder of eastbound Grand Central Parkway at around 1 a.m. Monday when an eastbound motorist traveling in the left lane hit him with a Mazda minivan.

The preliminary NYPD crash report said the cyclist “veered into the left lane,” a department spokesperson told Streetsblog. NYPD had no details on the driver’s speed.

It’s not clear exactly where the collision happened. The NYPD public information office said the victim was struck in the vicinity of 111th Street, which runs parallel to Grand Central Parkway for roughly two dozen blocks. Police also said the crash occurred in the 115th Precinct, where 111th Street runs for about six blocks from Roosevelt Avenue to Astoria Boulevard, two blocks to the west of the parkway.

The victim died at the scene, according to police. His name had not been released as of this morning, pending family notification.

The driver’s name was withheld. NYPD normally shields the identities of drivers who kill people unless charges are filed.

DOT has allowed Assembly Member Francisco Moya to block the installation of a protected bike lane on 111th Street. If there was an obvious bike route on 111th, maybe people would be less likely to end up biking on this stretch of the Grand Central Parkway.

Motorists killed 11 cyclists through the first eight months of last year, and 14 total in 2015, according to city crash data.

  • Alec

    never good to blame the victim but who the hell bikes on the Grand Central Parkway at any hour, let alone 1AM.

  • Fed Up

    Probably gonna take 20 dead people for Mayor de Blasio to speak up. Maybe 25. Not sure. Could be 30. Or perhaps 50. We’ll see.

  • Jeff

    It’s certainly not the decision I would make, but it does beg the question, who the hell builds a safe, comfortable, direct route for motorists without building a complementary safe, comfortable, direct route for cyclists?

  • Elizabeth F

    Are you sure the facts are right here? A look on Google Maps reveals an eastbound surface (parallel access) road named “Grande Central Parkway” that would be quite logical to bike on.

  • Alan

    The answer here is the obvious one — Robert Moses!

    (Though the Belt Parkway bike path is decent— Moses just thought of bike paths to be toys, as opposed to practical transportation)

  • Alan
  • Alec

    that’s true today for sure- if they ever extend the hudson bergen light rail, it’d be amazing if they had room for a bike path along side it…

  • Joe R.

    I’ll grant that riding on highways isn’t a great idea but I kind of understand the sentiment behind it. Nothing similar exists for cyclists in this city even though it should.

  • Elizabeth F

    Yes… so was this biker acutally killed on 111th St, but the NYPD reported as if he/she were riding on a parkway?

  • Alan

    Perhaps. I would definitely ride a bike on the left side of this stretch of “Grand Central Parkway”, which appears to be a quiet residential street with no intersections on the parkway side, as opposed to riding a bike on a limited-access roadway in the middle of the night. The surface street does also appear to be signed as “Grand Central Parkway” on the ground.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7328444,-73.8442751,3a,75y,305.24h,84.98t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sKUr0BR6T4lRR2G7WWtvzMQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  • Joe R.

    Probably no number will be sufficient. I’ll bet the politicians are treating dead cyclists as Darwinism in action.

  • Greg Keller

    this is miles from East Elmhurst

  • Alan

    True, neither location we are speculating about appears to be within the bounds of the 115th Precinct. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/precinct_maps/precinct_finder.shtml#

  • RyanMcShane

    That’s a great idea. Perfect spot.

    Written as someone who has occasion, occasionally, to ride south from the GWB all the way to Bayonne, mostly using whatever that fast-moving road is just off the Hudson.

  • Alec

    That’s River Road- and it sucks for cars (too much traffic), bikes (too fast and too narrow) and pedestrians (impossible to cross) alike. There is the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway but it’s frustratingly incomplete with a handful of gaps that force you back to the road. Also, unlike NY’s hudson greenway, this one zig zags the entire way down to Hoboken, jutting in and out, adding at least 30 minutes to the ride.

  • AMH

    It does invite this question, but it does not beg the question.

  • Thank you for mentioning this.

  • AMH

    I wonder if he got lost and followed a street that funneled onto the highway. Streets that suddenly become highways–that’s one of the scariest things about biking in Queens.

  • Jeff

    Ah, thank you!

  • QueensWatcher

    That actually happened to my son once. Police had closed College Point Blvd and when he asked a cop how to get back over to Rego Park instead of directing him through the Park the officer sent him up a road that was actually an on-ramp to the GCP. He ended up near the entrance for the Tennis Center when he called and I was able to drive out there to pick him up.

  • QueensWatcher

    There are a lot of closures in the park because US Open security has gone a bit nuts this year. He might have had a better route closed off and tried this.

  • jeremy

    Again, another case of victim blaming. None of the this makes sense. The location doesn’t make sense (111th and Grand Central Parkway run parallel). Cycling on the highway doesn’t make sense at 1 am. Veering into traffic doesn’t make sense. Each time the preliminary report says that the cyclist veered into the route of a car, it’s usually the opposite that occures.

    Why do they release preliminary reports if it’s not true?

  • ahwr

    https://twitter .com/NYScanner/status/772670128840380416

    Same crash? Does Highway CIS investigate when the crash isn’t on the highway?

  • jeremy

    Probably never

  • Komanoff

    I just spoke w/ an officer at the 115 who dialed up the crash report while we were conversing. He believes, though he was far from certain (and I chose to not try to put him on the record; I didn’t even ask his name), that the fatal crash took place in the vicinity where Ditmars Blvd forms a traffic circle with 23rd Ave or just NE of there, perhaps where “LaGuardia Airport Entrance” on Google Maps, here, https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7700222,-73.8675843,18.29z?hl=en, crosses over the Grand Central Parkway. He confirmed the assumption I stated to him that the crash did not take place on the GCP itself. Yes, I understand that that vicinity is a distance away from where earlier reports placed the crash; no, I didn’t query/challenge him on that disparity.

  • walks bikes drives

    CIS is part of Highway Patrol. So, any crash that occurs in NYC that is investigated by CIS is therefore investigated by the Highway Patrol.

  • sbauman

    I’m having problems finding the boulders that are present in this photo from the Daily News

    http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.2778450.1473079494!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_1200/bicycle-accident.jpg

    That goes for on and off the GCP.

    It does point up the need for including the geographic coordinates in the story and definitely in the collision report.

  • Driver

    It’s stock photo.

    A bicyclist was fatally struck by a minivan while riding along Grand Central Parkway in Queens. (Jasmin Awad / iStock)

  • Cristina Carnicelli Furlong

    I’m wondering if it was something like this: two bike routes converge in Citi Field lot. Sadly, in the lot, one lane goes to GCP, the other on to FMCP..Now, they’ll probably ban cyclists from this connector from Promenade and 34th bike lane into FMCP. Maybe, just maybe they’ll add 111th, and also an off road 114th plan that Qns.Bike has

  • Cristina Carnicelli Furlong

    111th comes in a bit more south than drawing.

  • ahwr

    Ah, thank you.

  • van_vlissingen

    I am no Moses fan. However, he did put pedestrian and bike paths and trees on almost every parkway he built. As I understand it, after he was gone, to add more lanes, these amenities were obliterated.

  • van_vlissingen

    This is one of the main issues in/around Flushing Meadows. Flushing Meadows is built in “the Vleigh” – a ~4 mile long N/S Valley that splits Queens into two. In those four miles, four roads stitch together Eastern & Western Queens – Northern, Roosevelt, LIE, Jewel, Union. The only road feasible &/or legal for cyclists is Jewel. Crossing through the park puts you at the mercy of the all the institutions that have stolen the park land – USTA, Mets, etc. We really do need a comprehensive transportation plan for FMCP.

  • (That’s five roads which you listed.)

    Crossing from one side of Queens to the other on Union Turnpike is not so bad. And it’s legal to ride on Roosevelt Avenue; but the current construction makes riding between College Point Boulevard and 114th Street very unpleasant.

    Also, there’s a way across on Northern Boulevard. It’s a bike/pedestrian path that begins on the north side of Northern a bit west of Main Street, and takes you along Flushing Bay before letting you cut over at the stadium and bringing you to 114th Street and 34th Avenue. (If that was there when I was a kid, I sure didn’t know about it.) The other options are Hillside and Jamaica Avenues, well south of where the park ends.

    But generally you are right about the dearth of comfortable crossings between Queens’s two halves. When I was about 13, I had a bit of a problem there.

    Growing up in eastern Queens, I had ridden often on the L.I.E. service road on that side of the borough, from Main Street out through Springfield Boulevard and beyond. I also knew from being a passenger in cars that the L.I.E. had a service road in western Queens. What I didn’t know was that these two sections of the service road did not connect to one another. (You probably see where this is going.)

    So one day while I was out exploring, I rode west on the L.I.E. service road past College Point Boulevard. Alert readers will know that this puts one on the L.I.E. proper.

    So I stayed in the shoulder and got off at the first exit — which is the Grand Central Parkway! Yikes! So there I am, a stupid fat boy on his one-speed Pierce Arrow, now riding on his second highway of the day.

    I took the first exit off of that, which didn’t come up for quite a while. This put me somewhere near Shea Stadium. And there I saw I had a flat. Lovely. Rather than call my parents and hear anything from them, I just walked through the park, got back to College Point Boulevard, and walked all the way home to Queens Village. That was quite a day.

    Anyway, the Jewel Avenue crossing has been transformed, now that the bike lane has been put in. It’s much less stressful passing those Grand Central entry and exit ramps. That’s the one to take for anyone riding today between eastern and western Queens.

  • jeremy

    I’m puzzled, how can the NYPD not even know where it happened?

    Every day I lose a little more faith in the NYPD

  • Alan

    From this, it sounds like the Belt Parkway bike path is the main one, along with the still-extant LIMP, and perhaps a rebuild of Ocean Parkway:
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303768104577462893808106790
    The Belt Parkway path is quite lovely in many stretches! Just not much use for transportation, other than to the beach. And the intersections with highway off-ramps are pretty awful, and the bridge crossings are narrow and awkward, and much-improved on the Sadik-Kahn era replacements that’ve been finished.

  • Joe R.

    I think the bike-pedestrian bridge on Northern actually existed as early as the mid 1980s. That said, I used to ride Northern straight across a number of times. The bad parts are the viaducts over the GCP near Corona and the bridge over the Flushing Creek right after Main Street. There’s actually a semi-usable shoulder on the GCP viaduct. There isn’t on the Flushing Creek bridge but it’s short enough that cars didn’t get too nervous if they got stuck behind a bike. The remaining part, where Northern Boulevard drops back to street level in between the viaduct and bridge, isn’t too bad on a bike, or at least it wasn’t back then. That said, I never did this route during peak traffic times.

  • van_vlissingen

    Check out the 1944 image of the GCP near LaGuardia Airport here:
    http://www.nycroads.com/roads/grand-central/
    That’s a bike path!
    You’re right about the belt not being ideally situated for transportation purposes… but the same could be said about it’s function for cars too.

  • infinitebuffalo

    Even assuming the call-taker and dispatcher got the location correct…
    the responding officer had to transcribe it into their report
    the typist had to transcribe it from the report into the computer
    the PIO had to read it from the file to the reporter
    the reporter had to transcribe it into their story
    …and that’s even before we get to editors (or the lack thereof).

    it’s a giant game of telephone, and frankly in some ways it’s kind of a surprise we get anything right at all.

  • sbauman

    Check out the 1944 image of the GCP near LaGuardia Airport here:

    http://www.nycroads.com/roads/grand-central/img2.gif

    Here’s the caption:

    This 1998 photo shows the triple-arch overpass crossing the Grand Central Parkway at EXIT 11 (Jewel Avenue-69th Road) in Forest Hills. (Photo by Jeff Saltzman.)

  • ahwr

    Forest hills isn’t near La Guardia.

    https://goo.gl/maps/CbpYjsKqtV42

    http://www.nycroads.com/roads/grand-central/img8.gif

    This 1944 photo shows the westbound Grand Central Parkway near LaGuardia Airport. The pedestrian and cycling trail was removed during the early 1960’s widening project. (Photo by Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.)

    More from nycroads.com and nyc.transit contributor Thomas Scannello:

    What I think is very interesting was that the Grand Central Parkway once had the pedestrian walkways that were subsequently eliminated for the parkway expansion project. Many of the “greenway” advocates today say that it is not right that our parkways and expressways do not have pedestrian and bike paths for non-auto use. What is interesting was that Moses incorporated the pedestrian paths long before the “greenway” movement started, but these paths gradually were removed or fell in to disrepair long after he was gone. I think this is just another example of what a visionary Moses was.

  • Jules

    The NYPD collision data gives these coordinates for the crash, which is in line with what you’re saying: (40.7716414, -73.8728386)

  • Komanoff

    Glad to hear. Can you tell me/us how you tracked down that info? Let’s be sure to loop in Sblog’s Brad Aaron so he can follow up. Thx!

  • Jules

    Sure, it’s here: https://data.cityofnewyork.us/Public-Safety/NYPD-Motor-Vehicle-Collisions/h9gi-nx95

    09/05/2015, 0:48
    If you filter for “Number of Cyclists Killed = 1,” it will be top of the list.

  • Komanoff

    Got it. Calling Brad now. Thanks again!

  • Brad Aaron

    Copy updated. Thanks.

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