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Bicycle Safety

Trucker Kills Cyclist on Ninth Avenue and 29th Street

12:33 PM EDT on August 10, 2006

Bike_Fatality2.jpg

A cyclist riding a red mountain bike was killed on Ninth Avenue and 29th Street at about 10 am this morning. The cyclist, a courier working for Urban Express, was traveling southbound in the right lane of 9th Ave. A 10-wheel truck carrying construction materials was driving in the lane to his left. At 29th Street, with the light green and both vehicles moving, the trucker made a right turn, directly into the path of the cyclist. With no no safety plating to prevent the cyclist from falling beneath the wheels of the truck, he was crushed and killed. Witnesses describe the crash as "horrific." Couriers at the scene say that the cyclist's name was Darrell.

Transportation Alternatives' Graham Beck was on the scene and he said the crash looked like a "classic right hook." The drivers of these big tucks have a big blind-spot along the right side of their vehicle. They can't see much of anything on that side of the truck. Unfortunately, this does not prevent them from often making fast, aggressive right turns at crowded intersections. The "right hook" is a common way for pedestrians and cyclists to die on the streets of New York.

Be careful out there, folks! According to the Department of Health, heavy vehicles are twice as deadly to cyclists as cars. One-third of bike fatalities involve heavy trucks even though they represent only one-sixth of vehicle miles traveled in the city. Physically-separated, protected bike lanes on New York City streets would likely prevent many of these crashes from killing cyclists. But until the day comes when New York City makes the streets safer for bike commuting, you are completely on your own out there. Stay away from the passenger side blind-spot of these big trucks and assume that the drivers have no idea that there are people riding bikes on the streets of New York City.

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