Cyclist Erica Abbott Killed in Williamsburg [Updated]

Erica Abbott. Photo via Daily News

A 29-year-old woman was killed Tuesday night while riding her bike in Brooklyn.

Erica Abbott was traveling southbound on Bushwick Avenue at Powers Street when, according to police and media reports, she fell into traffic and was run over by the driver of a Mercedes.

The Daily News says Abbott was riding near a construction site when she “suddenly lost her balance near a pile of loose wood on the street after a car horn honked and she turned her head.” An NYPD summary of the crash simply states that Abbott “fell off of her bicycle.” The driver, an unnamed 34-year-old woman, was traveling in the same direction. She remained at the scene.

Abbott was pronounced dead on arrival at Woodhull Hospital. According to NYPD, “There is no apparent criminality and the investigation is ongoing.”

Gothamist reports that Abbott was a dancer with an MFA from SUNY Purchase. She was the third known city cyclist killed this month. On August 2, Chris Doyle was hit by a truck driver less than a mile away from the Abbott crash site. Jeffrey Axelrod was run over by a cement truck at Chrystie and Delancey Streets in Manhattan on August 18. No charges were filed in the deaths of Doyle or Axelrod.

Update: A reader contacted Gothamist with details regarding conditions on Bushwick Ave.:

I’m not sure if this information will help with anything, I just picture some idiot commenting and saying “who drives a bike through a construction site.” I live on Bushwick Ave and there is a new condo building going up. There were 2 wooden barricade type structures to block off an area. They were both in the street next to the sidewalk, but one blew over with the storm over the weekend and was in the way of any biker or car for that matter. I have no idea why it wasn’t picked up Monday or Tuesday. I can see how you wouldn’t even see it if on a bike. It would put you into harms way if you were trying to swerve around it. Now we have lost someone and an ugly condo is going up. Really not fair.

  • Thanks. Corrected.

  • Thanks. Corrected.

  • Morris Zapp

    Reacting to loud or unexpected noise is a human reflex. And the entire issue is beside the point, other than that horns should be quieter. 

    If reports are to be believed, again we have a person who made a split-second error and paid for it with her life. Not because (or not only because) of a car horn, but thanks to a system that exacts the death penalty for what in any sane environment would constitute a minor and harmless lapse in judgment. And on top of that she’s blamed for it. 

    Riding legally isn’t enough. Wearing a helmet isn’t enough. The only good cyclist…

  • Elizabeth Agee

    I am so sad and so sorry to hear about Erica’s death.  I have to say, though, as a driver, I am terrified by the way bicyclists have become in this city: taking wild chances, not following traffic lights or other road signs.  I know it is very admirable and much  more ecological to ride a bike but the reality is that it is a very dangerous activity.  A bike rider is just so vulnerable when it comes to tons of metal moving around. Of course, as car drivers we have a responsibility to all those walking or bike riding but the danger cannot always be avoided.  Actually I am surprised that more folks have not been killed.  
    s is just so hard to hear and so unbearably sad.

  • Anonymous

    @694f2ab8c4df7a18942a2d7c02ad4776:disqus I appreciate your comments, but I don’t think you understand the fundamental problem: many, many accidents involving cyclists could be avoided if (a) infrastructure changes (often very cheap ones!) supported cycling and (b) *drivers* took fewer chances, obeyed more traffic laws (especially speed laws and signalling; not double parking, passing only when allowed–I couldn’t possibly list all the lawbreaking I see in my first few minutes every day), and just generally acted like they’re aware that they’re operating the most deadly thing most of them will ever touch. 
    In other words, the dangers of cycling and walking in this city actually could come a whole lot closer to being entirely avoided if the city and its drivers decided to change things. But they don’t. They, like you, blame cyclists first, and then treat accidents like they’re the result of some squabble among Greek gods.

  • Mister Bad Example

    This is typical—a motorist startles a rider, and the
    road is in such poor shape, the rider loses control. Probably happens a lot
    with less deadly consequences.

    Bloomberg got half of the job done here—he’s let the bike lanes go
    forward, and cycling is an up-and-coming player in the commuting mix for the
    city. I can’t imagine a new mayor being able to roll back all the street
    infrastructure. And there’s no getting around the fact that either the
    city gets lots of people on bikes or the city doesn’t move—with both
    auto traffic and mass transit over capacity now, there’s no way to put
    more people into the system or deal with population growth.

     

    So the second part of the biking renaissance has to start
    now—that’s getting the law enforcement entities to stop saying ‘dese
    tings, dey happen’ when cyclists or pedestrians get killed by inattentive
    drivers. And frankly, I’d start by make honking at a cyclist for no
    especially good reason a ticketable offense. I’m tired of having
    speedsters lean on the horn as they go past. The applicable law is 1234—it
    entitles us to the streets. It’s time to ticket motor vehicle miscreants
    when they ignore it.

  • krstrois

    The next CB 1 meeting is on Sept 14 at 211 Ainslie St at 6:30 pm. I don’t know how they work, but I think it’s time I find out. See some of you there, hopefully?

  • Bushwickian

    Actually, @cc36704b289cbef0ac72a06121c6c6d8:disqus, you should probably also go to the police precinct community council meeting. That’s your real opportunity to get in the cops’ faces and ask them what they are doing to keep bike riders safe and to properly investigate these fatal and injurious crashes. They need to hear from lots of angry people right in their own police stations. Otherwise, they will continue with their business-as-usual bullshit of blaming the victim and writing all of these fatalities off as “accidents.” Whoops! Sorry! Just another dead girl.

  • Anonymous

    I went to college with Erica and I’m very sad today. She was an amazingly sweet person, and a very good friend to all who knew her. I can picture her right now in my head, and she is smiling. That’s just the way I remember her. My prayers and support are with her family and close friends. What a sad loss.

  • Pa14519

    It was no construction site just thei barriers in the rd to save parking spots!!!!!!!! For where they where working behind a fence past the sidewalk. Erica was a victim…….. of. Deglence. God rest her soul

  • My friend witnessed this accident as it happened and after he told me I actually went into the bathroom stall and cried a little for her. I felt compelled to look it up just to know who she was. It really saddens me and my condolences go out to her loved ones. 

  • Jenniebean81

    I went to school with her….RIP Erica…You will be missed by many.

  • Nicmerallen

    When are we going to make our streets safer for cyclists? I’d love to ride a bike in this city but it’s simply not safe enough. Absolutely no reason to lose people as young as 29!

  • benbo

    I feel like we have
    made so many strides over the past years in terms of infrastructure, but
    the culture on the streets hasn’t changed at all and it’s the thing I
    notice most when I visit other cities. In cities like Portland it feels
    like cars pass with care, possibly because most drivers know what it’s
    like to ride a bike and know that at any moment you may have to dodge a pothole or construction debris. The fact is that if the driver of the car had been
    going 30 miles per hour and giving the cyclist space, this crash would likely have not ended in death and may not have happened at all. I just found out that I also knew the cyclist who was killed
    earlier this month- Christopher Doyle.  He used to come to Brooklyn Critical
    Mass and Time’s Up events many years ago.  Like Erica, he was an experienced cyclist and knew what he was doing.  I seriously doubt the versions of story that say that he was trying to pass a truck on the right, but I guess we’ll never know what happened.  These recent deaths make me feel really sad and like nothing has really changed in the last five years.  My heart goes out to Erica’s family and friends.

  • Okatt

    this is terrible news.  and in no way am i blaming the victim. but i am scared sh@tless to ride a bike in NYC.  just feels very dangerous to me and I’m not sure if there really is a way to make it less dangerous.  

  • HipHip1079

    I am shocked and devastated to learn of Erica’s tragic death. We were friends in High School and she was one of the sweetest girls I knew. My heart goes out to Erica’s family and friends. As a cyclist myself and someone who knows many cyclists in NYC, I urge everyone to practice extreme caution when biking on city streets. Clearly it is very dangerous and there is no fool-proof way to avoid accidents like Erica’s.

  • Dougjp55

    I am so sorry to hear of this. I knew Erica when she was with ACF and had lost touch with her. And I appreciate the reader update about the conditions and the comments about biking in NYC and driver behavior (or lack thereof.) My son lives a little farther east and bikes frequently and it scares me no end.
    Erica you will be missed by your many friends.

  • Yasser

    Who drives a bike through a construction site?

  • I knew Erica and she was a sweet, intelligent, and gifted person.  I live right around the corner from the scene and not only have the roads been scraped to be repaved, leaving more pot holes than usual, but there there has been debris all over the neighborhood from this weekends storm, so this could have happened to anyone riding through this zone.  
    It just saddens me this news has hit so close to home.  Erica will be terribly missed.
    For those leaving insensitive comments or asking “who drives a bike through a construction zone?”, first, show some freakin compassion and respect, then do some homework on the location before posting.  The “construction zone” mentioned is on the corner of Grand and Morgan, not Bushwick and Powers.

  • Driver

    This was a terrible tragedy.  I really wish other drivers would be much
    more cautious around vulnerable street users.  Unfortunately we live in a
    city of mostly assholes; drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.  And
    yes, drivers are without question the most dangerous of the bunch.  Enforcing against dangerous driving is important, but what is even more important (and much more difficult) is changing people attitudes and mindsets about considering more than just themselves. 

    “Who drives a bike through a construction site?”
    Probably no one.  The question is, why is there construction debris in the street?

  • Chris

    First my prayers go out to the family and friends of Erica. Another  sad tragedy in this wonderful city. She sounds like such a sweet well intentioned person. 

    Second, I love this blogs advocacy for safer streets, but I do find the aggressive anti-car stance to be overdone. Why the need to point out it was a Mercedes? Does that somehow make it more evil that its an expensive car? Why the knee jerk assumption that its always the driver of the cars fault. You do this blog an injustice because you erode your credibility. 

    Lets wait for the facts; from the first reading this sounds like an unfortunate tragedy where fault is not obvious. 

  • dporpentine

    @aefd4144162cc47b1ff35f12a68bc92d:disqus

    Lets wait for the facts; from the first reading this sounds like an unfortunate tragedy where fault is not obvious.

    The thing is, we’ll never learn the facts. There will be no investigation. No information will ever be disclosed. There appears to be a civil suit coming, but that almost certainly won’t reach a trial. Someone’s dead and we’ll never know why. And because we’ll never know why nothing will change.
    I don’t know what you’re thinking of exactly when you talk about an “aggressive anti-car stance” but I know I take one. And I know that mine is the result of actually being out on the road on a not-car almost every day. It’s the result of knowing that cars tailgate bikes all the time–not allowing nearly enough space for (to choose one option among many) bad road conditions that a driver wouldn’t have to worry about but for a biker could lead to something fatal. And for me it’s the result of the discussion being wildly skewed toward blaming bikers–at the expense of such more-than-equal culprits as drivers and infrastructure.

  • Chris

    Dporpentine
    The first point is fair, although in this case I presume the construction company will be the target of lawsuit. 

    I am both a driver and a pedestrian, much more the later. I am all for safer streets. I am not for always blaming the driver, which is what I think this blog tends to do. I have had enough reckless bikers dart in front of me to recognize not all cyclist are saints and not all drivers are sinners. I have also had plenty of cyclist blow through red lights and put me and my friends at risk. Erica was clearly not at fault but neither is it clear that the driver was either. The reality is cars are part of the landscape, its a question of how to integrate them more safely. 

    Why the mention that it was a Mercedes? That is just pointless propaganda that erodes the credibility of this blog. 

  • Morris Zapp

    @Chris Your fixation on the make of vehicle, a detail reported both by
    media and NYPD, says more about your credibility than anything else.

    An innocent person is dead. Your pseudo-devil’s advocate bullshit adds nothing to this discussion. 

  • Joe R.

    @aefd4144162cc47b1ff35f12a68bc92d:disqus It’s very rare that there isn’t someone or something at fault when things like this happen.  Agreed that it’s unfair to automatically blame the driver without more facts, but note that in many countries when a motorist hits a cyclist or pedestrian they’re automatically at fault.  The rationale here is if you’re driving on roads where there are likely to be vulnerable users who are sometimes unpredictable, then it’s incumbent to drive in such a manner that you can avoid collisions under all circumstances.  Generally this means keeping your speed to 20 mph, perhaps even 10 mph near places with children.  That in turn means designing streets likely to have vulnerable users so it’s either very uncomfortable or impossible to drive much over 20 mph, especially at intersections.  Narrow lanes, roundabouts instead of traffic lights, and speed humps all facilitate this goal.  NYC chose to go the other direction, with many streets having wide lanes, and grossly overusing traffic lights, which are basically the equivalent of air traffic control for cars, in that they allow cars to travel at dangerous speeds, lulled into a false sense of complacency by a string of greens.  This system is both dangerous and non self-enforcing.

    Many things could have caused this tragedy.  I suspect road debris, poor road condition, and poor street lighting to be high on the list.  Those three have been the cause of 95% of my falls.  It’s relatively easy for competent cyclists to avoid colliding with motor vehicles, providing they can remain upright.  The problem is the piss poor condition of so many streets means a cyclist can often go down under the wheels of motor traffic through no fault of their own.  That actually seems to be the cause of the majority of bike fatalities lately, not cyclists “blowing through red lights”.

    Sad to say, I do agree here with dporpentine in that we’ll likely never know the facts here as there will never be a thorough investigation.  It seems every dead cyclist is treated as just the cost of doing business here.  Why we as a nation routinely accept the carnage caused by motor vehicles, as if it’s inevitable, is beyond my comprehension.  We were actually applauding the decrease in traffic fatalities last year because it was something like ONLY 35,000.  If 35,000 people died on airplanes or trains, you can be sure the NTSB would have been all over it, and as would Congress.  But with motor vehicles, having one 9/11 every month is just business as usual.

  • dporpentine

    @aefd4144162cc47b1ff35f12a68bc92d:disqus I ride a bike, I walk, I take public transportation, and I drive. On this blog and out in the world I am as law-abiding biker as it is humanly possible to be. Signalling, full stops at every red, for the full cycle, every time, no matter where or when.
    I am also, for better or worse, a regular scold of cyclists who behave badly–not least because I’m more likely to suffer real injuries as a result of their bad behavior. I’m also a scold of pedestrians, who generally do not seem to grasp just how easily they can endanger my life when I’m on a bike.
    But the reality is that humans on bikes and humans on sidewalks and crossing roads are almost always the ones who get hurt, not the ones who do the hurting. It’s humans operating motor vehicles who do the overwhelming amount of actual damage. The conversation needs to shift to stopping the people who do the damage. And that means calling out drivers.
    As for the Mercedes bit, if that’s all you’ve got, you’ve got nothing.

  • dporpentine

    Grrrrr: cannot edit may last post. “On this blog” belongs to the part about “a regular scold” not the “law-abiding” bit.
    Sorry about that.

  • Chris

    Joe R
    Again, I am not laying blame with the biker, I am frustrated when I read this blog (and other cycling blogs) where blame is automatically assigned to the driver. As a pedestrian I do advocate the law being protective of pedestrians first, cyclist second, and drivers third (if a car hits a pedestrian the car is at fault until facts prove otherwise, etc)

    I was not saying this was a case of a cyclist “blowing through red lights” but using that to say as a pedestrian much of what scares bikers about cars scares me about bikes; I have been hit by bikes not following the law. The point is not 100% of car drivers are reckless and not 100% of bikers are innocent. 

    I to agree with dporpentine; although I have more faith in the legal system that if there was blockage of the road due to spilled construction then the family of Erica will have recourse. 

    Changing the system (ie working for greater integration of pedestrians and cyclist into the US) is my goal. I don’t think its well served by hyperbola, which I think this blog and other bike advocacy groups often engage in. 

    We are much better served by highlighting the absurd system that we live in; http://usa.streetsblog.org/2011/07/14/mother-convicted-of-vehicular-homicide-for-crossing-street-with-children/

  • Chris

    dporpentine
    I walk roughly ten miles every day, commuting to work and back in NYC. I can tell you that its my experience that  you are in a minority if you are a biker that follows road rules. 

    The odd thing is its seems to be a mostly NYC thing. Almost every European city I have been cyclist are respectful of the law and integrate much better with pedestrians. 

    I hope its just an evolving stage, that as better bike lanes and laws are integrated into the city that the biker culture will shift towards being more aware of pedestrians (and pedestrians will be more aware of bikers)

  • Joe R.

    @aefd4144162cc47b1ff35f12a68bc92d:disqus I don’t necessarily agree with everything which is said on this blog, but I do agree with the overriding goal of reducing the carnage due to motor vehicles.

    A bit part of my problem with your comments about cyclists going through lights or otherwise not obeying the law is your failure to take into accout the infrastructure which encourages this.  For starters, NYC grossly overuses traffic lights. These lights are timed for car speeds, assuming they’re synchronized at all.  Many also have very long red light phases.  End result, on many roads a cyclist stopping and waiting out each light can’t go more than 2 or 3 blocks without stopping and waiting 60 or 90 seconds.  That reduces average speeds to walking speeds or less, effectively making cycling pointless.  It gets worse.  When you wait at a light, you breathe carcinogenic car exhaust.  And you’re stuck in a pack of accelerating motor vehicles jockeying for position when the light changes.  That means a cyclist must do a full power acceleration from 0 to 20 mph in about 5 or 6 seconds each time they start out, in order to avoid being run off the road.  Even Lance Armstrong can’t manage that every 3 blocks.  In short, here the law and infrastructure makes cycling more dangerous, far less efficient, and much more time consuming.

    You say cyclists in Europe are more law abiding.  Sure they are, because bicycle routes there are laid out so there are a minimum of mandatory stops.  Roundabouts are used at intersections instead of traffic lights.  It’s easy to get most cyclists to comply with red lights if they hit one every 5 miles.  That’s not a huge burden in either time or energy.  It’s near impossible to have much compliance when you hit lights every few blocks.  And you need to make a distinction between cyclists speeding through reds without looking, versus carefully passing them only after they ascertain if it’s safe to do so.  It’s the former which justifiably annoys pedestrians, including myself.  Most people have little problem with the latter, even if it’s still technically illegal.

    The same line of reasoning applies to sidewalk riding.  Many cyclists ride on sidewalks simply because they don’t feel like playing a game of chicken with motor vehicles, one which they’re sure to lose if they play it wrong.  In fact, most “illegal” cycling is the end result of cyclists doing their best to avoid situations where a momentary lapse in judgement, or a mistake in bike handling, can be fatal.  For example, I’d much rather pass a red light, and go around a construction zone while the cars behind me are still waiting at the light.  In general, passing lights lets cyclists use the roads during the time when they’re underutilized by cars (i.e. the gaps between the packs of cars which are the end result of using traffic lights for traffic control).  The less cyclists and motor vehicles are in close proximity, the safer it is for both.

    You should know I often disagree with people here who want to ticket motorists for every infraction.  In my opinion, if you need to ticket motorists or cyclists to get them to do what you want, then it’s only because you have poor infrastructure and/or possibly bad laws (i.e. a good case can be made for letting cyclists treat red lights/stop signs as yields).  Good infrastructure is self-enforcing, in that it makes dangerous behavoir either very uncomfortable or impossible, and also lets each group do what is most natural.  Some say “bikes flow like water”.  That means laying out bike routes so cyclists can stay in motion.  It also means mixing bike and motor traffic as little as possible.  On those roads which are shared, motor traffic should be constrained to 20 mph by design.  NYC has the traffic safety problems it does because we’re still largely doing things as if it’s the 1960s.

  • Driver

    Signaling when there is no one nearby or waiting out a red light when there is no danger (to yourself or others) is useless and seriously diminishes one of the main advantages of riding a bicycle.  It also kills the free spirit aspect or riding a bicycle.  I miss the good old days when you could pretty much do whatever you wanted (not menacing pedestrians though) on a bicycle and the only real penalty was injury if you put yourself in harms way. 
    Stopping for a 4 way stop sign when no one is already stopped or crossing is also a waste of time and energy.  The agility of a bicycle provides such an advantage in navigating safely (if one chooses to be safe) that following the rules of the road to a T is pretty asinine. 

  • Driver

    Joe, I’m 100% with you about sidewalk riding and passing reds to get ahead of traffic, but I disagree with you about poor infrastructure design as the cause of poor driving habits.  Too many people, and this includes but is not limited to drivers, are selfish and grossly inconsiderate, and some are downright reckless, and as a result they put others at risk.  The problem is not the infrastructure, the problem is the mindset of many drivers.  Changing infrastructure of strictly enforcing traffic laws does not change this. 

  • Joe R.

    Driver, my point is infrastructure is the cause of a lot of bad habits, such as motorists speeding “to make the light”.  I don’t disagree that selfish, inconsiderate people are also responsible for the dangerous conditions on the streets.  I sometimes wonder though if the constant frustrations poor infrastructure puts them through caused them to become that way.  People in general can deal with occasional interruptions in what they expect.  The flip side of that is many people become raging lunatics when they become frustrated at every turn.  I think that’s a big part of the problem.  During rush hours motorists encounter obstacles nearly every block.  If it’s not a red light, it might be a double-parked car or a jaywalker or a school bus.  End result is they start trying to gain time any way they can, even doing nonsensical things like trying to gain a place in the queue at a red light.  None of this behavoir is logical.  It’s just the end result of crowding plus infrastructure which puts everyone at odds with each other.  If there’s any one thing I might suggest doing, it’s designing things so trip times are more predictable.  If people know they’ll get to their destination in x minutes most of the time, and cutting corners won’t shave much time off, then they’ll behave more sensibly.  Who knows, perhaps the motorist in this accident didn’t want to slow and let Erica take the lane because it might have caused her to miss the next light or two or three?  Without excusing it, this “my time is more important than your life” mindset could easily be partly the end result of NYC traffic/infrastructure.  In 33 years of riding if there’s any one thing which stands out in my mind, it’s the dangerous driving which is the end result of unpredictable trip times, caused in large part by traffic signals and/or congestion.  Really, the most sensible course of action here is to discourage unnecessary driving so that those who must drive encounter fewer frustrations.  It’s no secret that in places where traffic usually flows freely motorists behave better.

    On another note, I HAVE noticed that people in general are more selfish than a few decades ago.

  • Driver

     Infrastructure really doesn’t have much to do with the problem.  I will give you a perfect example.  People talking on the phone or texting while driving.  We all see people doing it, and we all notice them because they drive like the drunks of decades past.  People who do it KNOW they get caught off guard weaving out of lanes or driving unusually slowly, oblivious to their surroundings.  This is a common disregard for the inherent responsibility of driving, and one that usually has nothing to do with frustration with driving time (talking on the phone in a freeway traffic jam is a bit different). 
    You often refer to driving in the sense of Manhattan or DT Brooklyn traffic jams.  In our neck of the woods in Eastern Queens, traffic is much more bearable, almost negligible on many of the side streets.  On major thoroughfares, lights are often timed to make traffic flow, and the consistent timing of the lights makes driving times predictable (whether they make traffic flow or not) for almost any route a driver may frequent. 
    In Manhattan on major avenues, lights are often timed consecutively to facilitate an approximately 25 mph flow.  Despite this constant and dependable timing, you will find people trying to speed ahead of the dictated flow, almost and in some cases actually running red lights before they turn green.  I see this even in the wee morning hours when there is almost no traffic. 
    Joe, I do a lot of driving in many different parts of the city, and for the most part, travel times are generally predictable and constant.  There is a big difference between people wanting consistent travel times, and people thinking they are the only important person in the world and that everyone else should get out of their way.  In my travels, I see too much of the latter.

  • Chris

    Driver”I miss the good old days when you could pretty much do whatever you wanted (not menacing pedestrians though) on a bicycle and the only real penalty was injury if you put yourself in harms way. “I am afraid a lot of cyclist have the same mindset; but no matter how hard you try to not menace pedestrians that type of thought ends up doing so. 

    Joe R
    Thanks for your very thoughtful response. While I understand that bad infrastructure might make it frustrating to follow traffic rules, I still don’t think it excuses the behavior I often encounter as a pedestrian. My frustration is that its gotten worst over the last few years as the new bike lanes have increased cyclist traffic.  Most new cyclist are thoughtful and careful, but there is still a core group that has Drivers mentality (good old days, do pretty much whatever we wanted). 

    As a driver I cringe everytime I see a cyclist without a helmet, on a bike at night with no reflective gear or lights. Drive down Atlantic ave in Brooklyn any night, you will pass about five of them. Its scary behavior….

  • Driver

    Chris, I pretty much grew up on a bicycle, and used a bicycle as my main mode of transport during my late teens.  I never had a problem with pedestrians or cars, and I’m reasonably certain they did not have a problem with me.  A little common sense and consideration goes a long way in preventing conflicts. 

  • Ticked OFf

    You dumbasses. You didn’t know her, and now you never will. For days I”ve sat here ready your stupid comments about cyclists. I don’t live in NYC but live in NY. Yea, I hate it when a cyclist is acting stupid and not using paths desgined for them, but actually down the middle of the street, holding up traffic, because everyone is too afraid of passing them properly. As far as Erica goes. She was an experienced cyclist. This was a tragic tragic accident. Not one to be drugged through the comment page with all of your stupid idiotic comments. i”m sick and tired of the crap I’ve been reading and have kept my mouth shut long enough. Her funeral will be held here in Rochester and over 6,000 people are to be expected. How do you like that for someone “who was an idiot riding on the roads of NYC” You dumbasses. You people are to fault. You’re in such a damn hurry to get to NOWHERE it sickens me. Stop posting these posts unless you are one that had the altimate privilege of knowing her. You’re all stupid as far as I”m concerned. What the hell is wrong with you people.I”m so glad I don’t live anywhere near NYC, it only confirms what i already knew. You’re all rude as************!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    JoeR is right, but probably too nice about it.  Following traffic regulations to the T makes cycling more dangerous in NYC, and that is the the main reason people don’t do it.  Ft. Hamilton Parkway?  Damn right I’m on the sidewalk.  Fact: If Erica had been on the sidewalk she’d be fine right now.  This incident has really disturbed me since it happened because I think of the countless scrapes I’ve had over the last 20 years where it could have been me. 

    Saturday, I signed the TA petition for more bike lanes, and they took the chance to give me a scoldy little lecture about how, by signing the paper, I was committing to riding in dangerous traffic, getting mixed up with huge trucks’ blind spots and people making left turns at every red light, riding in the door zone, and taking a long detour through 3 intersections with heavy traffic to reach the other end of my own residential block–i.e. always following the law. 

    Trying to create some connection between whether cyclists idiotically abide by laws made for cars and how much they “deserve” bike lanes makes no sense at all.  I fail to see any relationship, other than as a talking point for people who oppose cycling in general and bike lanes especially.  Nor does some kind of binary logic where if a cyclist isn’t following every single rule then they deserve punishment, bodily harm, or death.  Validating this logic with phony “pledges” is a political dead end, imo, because it implies the the laws and the roads are adequate exactly the way they are, and that we can therefore get by without doing anything.  There should be more bike lanes (and different laws) precisely because the status quo is NOT adequate.  Stay out of trouble, everyone, even if it means getting a few tickets.

  • dporpentine

    @SB_Driver:disqus When were these good old days, when bikers could break the law and somehow only threaten themselves? When were bikers immaterial beings? When did they have the roads entirely to themselves? Tell of these days of yore! How I long to hear!
    And @station44025:disqus Thank you for refusing to pledge to be concerned about the safety of others! You are awesome! I look forward to you “staying out of trouble” by riding up to me as I’m waiting at a light–you, completely unconcerned that the light is about to change because you’re too liberated to look at lights! Those are in Laws for Cars Land and that’s too square a place for you! So you don’t register that I’m going to start once the light goes green. But that’s what I do: move forward as you try to scoot past me on the right. And you crash into me and I fall to the left, getting run over, my head crushed under the wheels of a car. I’m liberated from my body and can live in the great world remembered by Driver!
    Yes, bikers making up the rules of the road to suit themselves is the way cycling can move forward as a widely accepted activity! It will put an end to the *totally false* narrative that . . . uh. . . bikers make up the rules of the road to . . . uh . . . suit themselves . . . wait, something’s not working here . . .

  • dporpentine

    @SB_Driver:disqus When were these good old days, when bikers could break the law and somehow only threaten themselves? When were bikers immaterial beings? When did they have the roads entirely to themselves? Tell of these days of yore! How I long to hear!
    And @station44025:disqus Thank you for refusing to pledge to be concerned about the safety of others! You are awesome! I look forward to you “staying out of trouble” by riding up to me as I’m waiting at a light–you, completely unconcerned that the light is about to change because you’re too liberated to look at lights! Those are in Laws for Cars Land and that’s too square a place for you! So you don’t register that I’m going to start once the light goes green. But that’s what I do: move forward as you try to scoot past me on the right. And you crash into me and I fall to the left, getting run over, my head crushed under the wheels of a car. I’m liberated from my body and can live in the great world remembered by Driver!
    Yes, bikers making up the rules of the road to suit themselves is the way cycling can move forward as a widely accepted activity! It will put an end to the *totally false* narrative that . . . uh. . . bikers make up the rules of the road to . . . uh . . . suit themselves . . . wait, something’s not working here . . .

  • Driver

    Breaking the law and being safe are two independent actions.  You can break the law and be safe, and you can follow the law to the letter and still be unsafe.  
    There’s a reason so many cyclists don’t follow the rules of the road.  Because they are not designed for and are not practical for cyclists.

    “When were these good old days, when bikers could break the law and somehow only threaten themselves? ”
    Before the cops had a hard on for ticketing cyclists. 

    “When did they have the roads entirely to themselves?”
    I never said they did.  I used my common sense to ride around efficiently and avoid conflicts with other street users, and I still do it, just much less frequently.  And now I also have to look out for cops. 

  • Johanna Clearfield

    Biking in Brooklyn.  Dead in Brooklyn.  Marty Markowitz, Mrs. Chuck E. Schumer, Neighbors for a ‘better’ bike lane, Can we please keep our lanes?
    http://parkslope.patch.com/blog_posts/biking-in-brooklyn-dead-in-brooklyn-the-last-word

  • dporpentine

    @SB_Driver:disqus First: Name one thing that I do that is any objective sense unsafe as a result of following the law. One thing.
    Second: You dilated on the glorious time in the olden days when a biker could somehow break the law with no penalty but possible injury to himself or herself. That could only have happened when no other users were on the road. Hence, my comment.
    And pover’uomo! You have to think about cops! That probably distracts you from your ultra-safe regimen of making up the rules of the road as you go along! Of course, you could stop worrying about them and be less distracted if you obeyed the law, but . . .

  • Anonymous

    dporpentine: You should get together with the honking, screaming driver who was getting out of his car to fight me because I was waiting for a light in the bike box until he saw me going for my krypto last week.  You two can work it out/get in touch with your inner rage.  Congratulations for hijacking a thread about a cyclist being killed in traffic to one where you rant incoherently about cyclists being a menace.  I’m with TickedOff on this one.  Goodbye!

  • Brittany

    alot of the bicyclists riding around brooklyn are arrogant and stupid. They are not careful of their surroundings and of traffic nearby. The construction company should have absolutely cleaned up the debris or at least checked up on the site without question. But to blame them for the accident is stupid and wrong. Hundreds of bikers ride on that very same road every day, all day long, including the days before Erica’s accident. this was the first reported accident. If Erica had been more careful and “awake” while riding her bike on a super busy street in brooklyn maybe this would not have happened.

    Personally speaking, I would NEVER EVER swirve into traffic especially if my back was turned to the cars no matter what it was. I would STOP, turn and look and then start biking again. Common sense. What do you people honestly think is going to happen if you swirve into oncoming cars? Bike vs Car who will win? Obviously. So all you know it alls bitching about the construction site unsafe blah blah blah, shut the hell up. Open your eyes while your riding your bike, and use common sense. Guarantee things like this wouldnt happen.

    I’m not insenstive. I’m being real. It’s sad the woman died without a doubt but you gotta look out for yourself in this world, no one else is gonna look out for you. Stop riding your bikes in lalaland.. and pay attention to your surroundings, you’re not invincible. This brooklyn, not neverland.

  • Samantha.

    I ride my bike everyday for the last 3 years since I moved to Brooklyn. You have to be on point every single second of that bike ride. There are angry drivers, broken roads, pot holes, objects in the street you name it. You need to realize where you are and ride safely, consiously, and smart. Whether in a car, bike, skates, or motorcycle, swirving into traffic is never a smart idea- cars crash, bikers, skaters fall and could get fatally injured. Drive Safely always no matter how experienced you are.

  • Totally Disgusted

    I CAN NOT believe this person wrote this. This is totally inhumaine. How dare you write something like this. I only pray to God that someone you love does not end up DEAD because of an accident. I not only have had one, but several people I love die at the hands of others. Drivers tend to be so inpatient, rude and definately distracted by what ever else they’re doing, except paying attention to the road. I do not live in NYC, but I do live in the NY area. My God man, what type of person write something like this?

    MelG (unregistered) wrote: This is what happens when one those stupid brooklyn yuppies decides to ride their bikes around probably stoned, definitely thinking they own the road. What can you do? Move on, one dumb biker less on the road.

  • dporpentine

    @station44025:disqus Poor guy. I hurt your feelings, didn’t I? Sorry about that. Best to go back to stroking your “krypto” and imagining how everyone else is mad, mad, mad.
    And you’re with TickedOff? You think bikers shouldn’t take the lane if it holds up precious motor vehicles?

  • dporpentine

    @station44025:disqus Poor guy. I hurt your feelings, didn’t I? Sorry about that. Best to go back to stroking your “krypto” and imagining how everyone else is mad, mad, mad.
    And you’re with TickedOff? You think bikers shouldn’t take the lane if it holds up precious motor vehicles?

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