SUV Driver Sends Brooklyn Delivery Cyclist to the ER

Damage to the SUV's windshield shows the force with which the driver hit a cyclist last night. Photo: Wayne Bailey

An SUV driver hit and injured a delivery cyclist at the intersection of Dean Street and 6th Avenue in Brooklyn at around 10 p.m. last night. Photos sent to us by reader Wayne Bailey, who came across the scene shortly after the collision, seem to show that the cyclist was on his way to deliver food when he was hit and thrown over the hood of the car with enough force to shatter the windshield.

The NYPD press office did not have any information on the crash, but according to the Park Slope Patch, police have assigned culpability to the cyclist, who did not suffer major injuries. The driver stayed at the scene, according to Bailey, and the cyclist was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. Bailey said the driver claimed the cyclist “came out of nowhere” and also blamed temporary blue walls around the Atlantic Yards construction site for blocking his vision. We do not have the cyclist’s version of events.

The injured cyclist's bicycle after the collision. Photo: Wayne Bailey.
  • Don’t forget, this happened is at the doorstep of the 78th Precinct, which has a long history of harassing cyclists, so I doubt we will see a meaningful investigation. Thank god the cyclist was not killed while trying to earn his living.

    Definitely a tragic spilling of food too, judging from the photo. Food is more precious than that windshield, I think billions of people on the planet would agree.

  • Anonymous

    Any driver that claims a cyclist “came out of nowhere” should be presumed to not have been paying sufficient attention to the road.

  • making a blanket statement like that is a bit preposterous.

  • NM

    I often agree that “I didn’t see him/her” is code for “I wasn’t paying attention” (or “I was driving a garbage truck that probably shouldn’t be street legal”), but if a cyclist was riding very fast, from the wrong direction, and blocked by a construction wall, well, it’s at least possible he “came out of nowhwere.” Not that we have any idea if that’s the case.

  • m to the i

    It would be nice for police to investigate whether or not speed was a contributing factor to a crash. Not only for this crash but, for example, the driver who drove onto the sidewalk, flipped his car and killed a pedestrian at the Queensboro Bridge yesterday and did not receive any citations and was not charged with any crime.

  • Anonymous

    I have no idea what the specifics of this situation are, and it is really upsetting to have accidents like this take place. Imagine how much safer the city would be if there was a robust network of class 1 bike lanes.

    That said, as a frequent night-time cyclist, and frequent night time driver, I have to get a little bit lecture-y here: I am constantly terrified by people’s assumption that they are visible at night. A crappy little blinking light is not a force field. I have excellent vision and a spotless driving record, but black clad pedestrians and cyclists in NYC with an apparent death wish do constantly pop out from behind parked cars, make sudden u turns, etc.. and even as a driver always on the lookout for bikes I have very nearly hit any number of people over the years.

    People, please, for your own sake:
    1 wear a helmet
    2 have reflective stuff all over yourself
    3 don’t wear all black–I’m looking at you NYC people
    4 make sure your batteries are fresh in your lights
    5 put your lights up high, like on your backpack, but make sure they are shining horizontally
    6 day or night, ride assuming you are INVISIBLE–right or wrong, you will still be the one who pays the price in an collision with a car.

  • Saying that a pedestrian or cyclist “came out of nowhere” is the original preposterous blanket statement. When a human body is thrown around like a rag doll and sent to the emergency room, the public deserves a precise accounting of what happened, not a dismissive cliche that blames the victim.

  • Are these your recommendations for pedestrians and cyclists alike? I do not find them very practical or fair. It is the motorists’ responsibility to drive more slowly at times when their visibility is impaired. We’re all well aware that as pedestrians and cyclists we pay the heaviest price for motorists’ lack of care–nothing in my daily life is more obvious, visceral, and infuriating–but that makes it even more so a personal decision how we dress ourselves. Please stay out of my closet and save your lectures for the those bringing death and injuries upon others.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I agree that many cyclists are not well prepared for night time. The proper comparison is not pedestrians, who are on sidewalks, but motor vehicles, which are required to have bright, highly visible lights.

    My adaptation to riding in winter, when I am often in the dark, is a reflective safety vest with flashing lights from LEDtronics. When you have one of those, it doesn’t matter what you wear under it. I also have the flashing lights, front and rear.

  • J:Lai

    I agree with station44025 regarding cyclists making themselves visible at night. I used to ride without lights until I started driving at night and got a firsthand look at exactly how difficult it is to see a person on a bike at night.
    When I see people riding the wrong way, with no lights, in dark clothing, I am afraid for them.

    I find Nathan’s comment to be entitled and narcissistic, qualities which are just as upsetting when expressed by bikers as when they are expressed by drivers. All road users have a responsibility to behave responsibly, which includes making yourself visible at night.

  • Ty

    As a cyclist in this town, you have to admit that delivery guys give us a bad name! The businesses that employ and allow their delivery people to salmon, ride on sidewalks, ride unlit at night, etc etc etc should be FINED. Don’t fine the poor guy trying to make a living. Fine the business for now providing training and clear requirements for their employees.

  • Driver

    Larry, I disagree about your reference to pedestrians being on the sidewalks, as it is not uncommon for pedestrians to cross or walk in the street with little or no caution. Just this morning, I was driving my truck and someone was nonchalantly crossing in front of me in the dark, under the El, wearing all black/dark brown, and I was barely able to see them. This was not a close call or anything, I saw this guy soon enough, but barely saw him, and I had to slow down as he was crossing in my immediate path and he was not paying any mind to my truck. It would be fairly easy for someone else not to see him, and was the kind of situation that results in the type of pedestrian fatality we can read about here on SB. His actions were careless and foolish.
    To address Nathan’s comment, no this pedestrian did not have to wear special clothes or reflectors, but what he should do is look and pay attention for oncoming traffic which he was not doing. It’s OK to not be visible, but one should act accordingly, not act as if the rest of the wold can see them in any conditions
    The fact that he as the pedestrian would pay the heaviest price for any motorists negligence is the reason HE should be paying attention, even more so than any motorist. I don’t understand how people think it should be impossible for motorists to not see a pedestrian in the dark, yet place no responsibility on a pedestrian that completely ignores a large noisy vehicle with lights.

  • Driver

    That sounds like a slippery slope. By that logic we should be fining the employers of drivers committing moving violations and not the drivers themselves. The problem with that idea is you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. How does an employer effectively control the actions of individuals who are operating autonomously (as in alone on the street) ? There will always be people who don’t follow the rules and take risks regardless of the consequences. How can you justify penalizing an employer for someone else’s actions? Look at motor vehicles. Fines and points for moving violations can be pretty steep, and the consequence lies with the individual. People still do not follow the rules, even when they face the consequences themselves. Why would making someone else liable for their violations make that behavior any better? If anything it would make it worse.

  • Ty

    Driver — If an employer knows that there are repercussions, they will take customer complaints seriously when they call to say “I don’t appreciate your delivery guy riding the wrong way!” and customers will complain if they realize there is enforcement.

    A major issue is that the employers have no incentive to bother training or requiring standards of behavior for their delivery guys. Since there’s no incentive, perhaps the threat of a fine would get them to do what they should be doing already.

    From a police enforcement perspective, the issue is that a lot of these guys won’t have ID, but they will have their employer’s info.

    I don’t understand why you think an employer shouldn’t be accountable for their employees — when their actively working for that employer.

  • Gerald Ross

    Holding the delivery cyclist’s employer accountable is practical and does not have to be overly punitive. I have been president of one of the Lincoln Towers buildings in Manhattan for many years. We deal with cyclists who ride on our sidewalks by locking up the bike and making the employer come and get it. We no longer have a problem of delivery bikers riding on our sidewalks; the inconvenience to the store manager of having to come and retrieve his bicycle gives him an incentive to train his/her employees. It works.

  • It’s also illegal, but who cares right! Laws are for immigrant underclasses.

  • J:Lai, entitled to what? To not being killed by speeding motorists who can’t see where they are going? Yes I’d like that very much. As for being narcissistic, you’ll have to back that up or take it back. I’ve said nothing about myself. I have suggested that all adult New Yorkers are entitled, if you will, to dress themselves in the morning without asking “station44025” for safety advice. You can agree or disagree with that position but it’s got nothing to do with what you think about me, nor are your personality judgments of the slightest interest to anyone reading.

    Responsibility is for what you do to other people. Religions understood this just fine, thousands of years ago. It doesn’t say “thou shalt not die”. It says “thou shalt not kill”. This had been a very simple, obvious, and fundamental element of morality for human society, until it became necessary to absolve killing with an automobile. This idea that we have a “responsibility” to not get killed by others is a total perversion of ethical responsibility.

    And, not surprisingly, this twisted ethics has failed to protect human life (if that was ever its aim). Piling on safety equipment may or may not be a marginally good strategy for an individual, but as a society-wide policy it is an abject failure. One way you can see this is in the correlation of cycling crash-helmet usage and fatality rates (Fig. 3). There is nothing to suggest that lecturing all vulnerable “road users” to decorate themselves with ever more plastic accoutrements is a path to the higher rates of walking and cycling, and lower rates of death while doing these things, that many other localities enjoy. Is that not the purpose of all this?

    It is also worth considering the different pedestrian fatality rates around this country. Are pedestrians in Florida, DC, Nevada, and New Mexico just stupider than everywhere else? Do they need to be scolded frequently, to be told what even animals understand, that they are “the ones who will pay the price in a collision with a car”? Luckily, that is precisely what their motor-powered neighbors do. Every time this comes up, when someone is killed–like, say the Dalai Lama’s nephew or whatever–you get to hear all about the pedestrian was being dumb, has participated in “evolution”, and just generally did not live up to his sacred responsibility to not be run over on our flawless motorways. Apparently, just entering the state of Florida has a degenerative effect on otherwise responsible pedestrians. And when they visit Sweden, they must become agile geniuses.

  • Well J:Lai, I wrote you a lengthy reply last night that is apparently not going to emerge from the moderation queue. I guess the three links did it in, or perhaps the filters do not like spirited defenses of the right for New Yorkers to dress as they please. I’m sure you would have found that comment even more “narcissistic” than the prior one, somehow. How deeply sinful it is to be aware of one’s own appearance and that of others, etc! Have you seen that Bill Cunningham movie by the way? Full of narcissists. Good thing we all live in this buddhist/spartan colony and not some awful place like New York City.

  • Anonymous

    “perhaps the filters do not like spirited defenses of the right for New Yorkers to dress as they please.”

    Hey, you and everyone else has the absolute right to dress any way you want to, but you should realize that you are less visible wearing black at night. That is why ninjas do it. Just physics, nothing personal.

  • Driver

    Now instead of bikes on the sidewalk, the residents of this building probably get spit, or worse, in their food. A good rule of thumb is never screw with people who are handling your food. Ask anyone who has worked in the restaurant industry.

  • Driver

    The businesses will probably just tell the delivery guys to get the deliveries done quickly, and that if they (the business owners) get any fines they (the delivery guys) will be held responsible for the cost and will be deducted from their wages. Legal? Probably not, but it will be just one more abuse of the lower tier of workers in this city/country.

  • Driver

    “I don’t understand why you think an employer shouldn’t be accountable for their employees — when their actively working for that employer. ”
    From an insurance perspective, yes, but from a legal standpoint, not always. If a driver gets a moving violation while driving a company vehicle, who gets the violation? The driver. If an employee commits a crime (assault, theft, urinating in public, etc while working, who should be charges with a crime? The employee obviously. Legally you can’t hold an employer responsible for everything an employee does.

  • Driver

    “When a human body is thrown around like a rag doll and sent to the emergency room, the public deserves a precise accounting of what happened, not a dismissive cliche that blames the victim. ”

    Would you be happier if he said that he did not see the cyclist before he struck him? He used a figure of speech that essentially means just that. Does the wording make much difference? Do you think the driver saw the bicyclist and decided to hit him because it would be too inconvenient to stop? This may come as a shock to you, but there IS the POSSIBILITY that it was the victims fault. I’m not saying it was, but you have to acknowledge that the possibility exists.

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