All Those NYPD Bike Tickets Aren’t Fixing the Streets Where Neftaly Ramirez Lost His Life

Photo: @PatrickGilmour/Flickr
Photo: @PatrickGilmour/Flickr

On Saturday night, Neftaly Ramirez was biking home from work in Greenpoint when he was struck and killed by a private garbage truck operator who kept on driving. The crash happened on Franklin Avenue, a heavily-used link in the bike network between the Pulaski Bridge and the Kent Avenue protected bike lane, despite having no physical protection of its own from car traffic.

So did police go out and try to make the local street network safer for cycling? Nope, they’ve been ticketing people on bikes since hours after the crash happened, in what’s become a ritual of ignorance following every collision that claims the life of a cyclist.

It’s not like bike infrastructure in northern Brooklyn and western Queens is functioning the way it should. Bikeways are constantly obstructed — a problem NYPD could address, if officers weren’t busy fining cyclists where Neftaly Ramirez was killed.

Skillman Avenue by the Sunnyside rail yard feeds into the Pulaski Bridge from Queens. It has bike lanes, but advocates have been calling for protection, not just paint. In the absence of any physical barriers to keep cars out, it’s become a parking lot for NYPD, utility vans, commuter shuttles, and other drivers who feel entitled to illegally obstruct the bike lane:

One block west of Franklin is West Street. The city is building out a greenway segment there, but it’s often a de facto delivery zone:

In these videos, you can see some of the major pathologies in New York City’s culture of disregard for street safety: NYPD’s complete disdain for bike infrastructure, the deference to placard holders, the lack of incentives for delivery fleets to park lawfully, and the absence of a coherent system for commercial loading.

Meanwhile, the punishment for cyclists continues:

  • J

    Meanwhile the Placard Crackdown has punished a grand total of 9 cops for illegal & dangerous parking. Gross.

  • Brad Sutton

    Not to mention Manhattan Ave which runs parallel to Franklin and West. It has bike lanes that become a de facto loading / double parking zone everyday.

    AND Manhattan and Franklin are both truck routes. Can anyone explain why both of these streets are truck routes?

    Would it really be so hard for the city to divide trucks onto one street, build out real protected infrastructure on another and actually start enforcing laws?

  • Brad Sutton

    Forgot to mention, McGuinness Blvd and Provost Street are all truck routes as well!

  • Jeff

    Provost is also an important “I’m gonna beat the congestion caused by my fellow motorists on McGuinness, and if any human being dares get in my way I will kill them” route. In an adult city it would be a through street for bikes only with local access only for motor vehicles as a complement to the motorized mayhem on McGuinness, yet here we are.

  • Adrian Horczak

    Every North-South St is a truck route leading up to the Pu?aski Bridge except for West St. However, West St has a bunch of trucks loading and unloading. It needs a loading zone, and trucks need curbside access, so it’s not a good location for a protected bike lane. The protected bike lane should be on Franklin St because it does not have as much commercial and industrial land use while being a direct link to the bridge.

  • High time the NYC Council provided some oversight and stopped the NYPD from responding to cyclist deaths via reckless driving by cyclist ticket blitzes…..Transportation Alternatives petition here…..

    …..related streetsblogny piece on issue by Brad Aaron……

  • KeNYC2030

    The NYPD’s strategy for eliminating deaths and injuries to cyclists is to get rid of those bothersome cyclists.

  • qatzelok

    It might help if NYPD patrolled central areas on bicycles. This also makes the police more agile and puts them in more direct contact with the general public they are supposed to be serving.