NYPD Tickets Cyclists Where Speeding Driver Killed 14-Year-Old Edwin Ajacalon

The past two mornings, police in the 72nd Precinct were ticketing cyclists on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, two blocks from the site of the fatal crash.

Video still via WCBS
Video still via WCBS

For the past two days, police have been ticketing cyclists on Fifth Avenue and 25th Street in Brooklyn’s 72nd Precinct, just two blocks from where a driver killed 14-year-old Edwin Ajacalon on Saturday.

It’s the same rote protocol NYPD follows after every cyclist fatality: ticket people who are vulnerable to the same type of harm that caused the crash. Similar ticket blitzes followed the deaths of Neftaly RamirezDan HanegbyKelly HurleyLauren Davis, and Matthew von Ohlen. Despite the absence of any data to suggest these bike stings reduce injuries or fatalities, NYPD insists there’s a “strategy” behind them.

Ajacalon, who worked as a delivery cyclist in the area, was riding a bike with an electric battery across 23rd Street at around 5:45 p.m. when he was struck by a 19-year-old male driving a 2017 BMW southbound on Fifth Avenue. Video footage suggests the driver had a green light but also shows him traveling at a high rate of speed entering the intersection.

Joelle Schindler, who commutes to along Fifth Avenue from her home in Park Slope, observed police ticketing cyclists at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street at around 9:45 a.m. yesterday and today. She did not stop to see what police were citing people for, but said officers had pulled over multiple cyclists when she rode by the intersection this morning.

It was striking to see that police response so close to the site where a driver ended Ajacalon’s life, she said. “That ghost bike is now on my commute to work, which is really heartbreaking.”

Video posted by the Daily News and WCBS shows the driver striking Ajacalon at high speed. The 72nd Precinct had ticketed fewer than two drivers per day for speeding as of August, the latest month of available NYPD summons data.

Meanwhile, the 72nd Precinct has bragged on its Twitter feed about confiscating electric bicycles, despite no evidence that they post a public safety threat.

The commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct is Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez, and the precinct community council holds meetings open to the public on the second Tuesday of every month. The next meeting is scheduled for December 12, 7:30 p.m., at the precinct house at 830 Fourth Avenue.

Transportation Alternatives has a petition to demand NYPD stop ticketing cyclists after fatal crashes. So far 931 people have signed.

  • Zero Vision

    De Blasio owns this in every possible way. From his misguided focus on e-bikes to his complete silence in the face of death after death and one botched NYPD response after another. What an utter failure.

  • c2check

    My theory is he has to throw some stupid bones to NYPD since they basically hate him (for bringing attention to legitimate concerns about policing practices)
    Let them do this easy stuff that affects a smaller portion of New Yorkers (even if they’re the most vulnerable) while giving NYPD a pass to ignore those issues that are actually substantiated threats but are more difficult for NYPD to address.
    Get the easy targets. Not that this is just at all.

  • Toddster

    It’s ironic that De Blasio is trying to build a national presence as the antithesis to Trump, because De Blasio is Trump in sheep’s clothing.

    How can De Blasio claim to care about and protect undocumented workers when he, without evidence of harm, cracks down on ebikes, most often associated with undocumented delivery workers. This not only takes away their means of income, but forces them to have interaction with the judicial system where ICE agents are literally standing by to sweep up undocumented individuals.

    Meanwhile he’s passing policies on a whim without any data or ever broad vision.

    Then there’s De Blasio and his NYPD, who he defers to on everything, just as Trump defers to his generals.

    And anytime De Blasio is criticized, he blames the media for how its reported.

    After the 2016 election, I was so proud to be from a place that so soundly rejected Trump, but after the 2017 election, I am no so ashamed to be from a place that has re-elected a taller, poorer Trump.

  • Altered Beast

    Ebikes pose a huge threat! Everyday I bike normally and everyday a ebiker salmons the opposite way in my lane at 20+mph trying to kill me by forcing me out of my lane!

  • Toddster

    The threat is not the e-bike. The threat is the person salmoning, who would most likely be salmoning whether on an e-bike or not.

  • JarekFA

    Take an issue:

    1. Climate Change
    2. Congestion (and the Amazonifaction of retail —> deliveries)
    3. Air Pollution/Asthma
    4. the “Resistance”/Immigrants welcome here.
    5. Vision Zero

    And this policy worsens all those goals in marginal to material ways. The worst part is number 4. Forcing people to pedal all day absent any cognizable or factual basis, is just incredibly fucking cruel. I’m 36 but I still get tired and I only have an 11 mile round trip commute. These e- bike delivery guys sometimes work 12 hour shifts and ride over 60 miles. Many of them are in their 50s. These are real people, with families, which tend to be poor and it doesn’t get more “hard working” then literally being outside all day making deliveries on an e-bike. This will cause real material harm to those low income immigrant families for no reason whatsoever.

    Oh and selfishly: I order a lot of delivery and I don’t live right next to all the restaurants so this crack down will likely impact my food options too!

  • Altered Beast

    True. But a guy salmoning on a 10 mph regular bike is less dangerous than a guy on a 20mph ebikes just like getting hit by a 25mph car is less hurtful than a 35mph car. In fact studies have shown most 25 mph hits to be survivable but 35 mph not. Aldo 99 percent of these salmoners are delivery guys. The threat is delivery guys on bikes but ebikes greater. If you want to be specific.

  • ganghiscon

    What proof do you have that e-bikes are traveling at 20+ mph? They’re likely moving at closer to 15 mph.

  • Danny

    While we’re scapegoating delivery workers, it’s a good thing those delivery guys are on e-bikes. Imagine if they were driving cars! Fifteen minutes or it’s free, right?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Clearly a troll, but not wrong. More weight and speed, more damage. But the difference between an e-bike and a regular bike is small compared with the difference between an e-bike and a 4 wheeled vehicle.

    E-bikes are a solution, not a threat. More range than pedaled bicycles for more people, using less space than four wheeled motor vehicles to move and park.

    And likely to be increasingly important as the transit system shrinks due to Generation Greed’s debts.

    I was in Rome once, and we stayed at the home of a young women who was renting our her place while on vacation. She said she and many people travel around that city exclusively by scooter, because it’s so hard to drive and park.

    But the scooters were bigger, heavier and louder than e-bikes, had to be refueled at fueling stations, and emitted fumes. E-bikes do not.

    We need new technologies like e-bikes to make things better as fast as Generation Greed’s public policies make them worse.

  • KeNYC2030

    So reassuring to see that the NYPD is doing all it can to protect vulnerable street users. Meanwhile, no charges have been filed against Ajacalon’s killer, who ran a light, according to an eyewitness, and was seen on video traveling at high speed. Can you imagine the outcry if the cops protected people who kill with guns to this extent?

  • Altered Beast

    You are a fucking troll. You just said we need ebikes that are threatening civilians lives everyday.

  • Altered Beast

    How about you lazy bums get your own food?

  • Altered Beast

    Uhh. I ride everyday. The most popular ebikes for delivery are the illegal throttle arrow bikes with a top speed of 28 mph

  • JarekFA

    Maybe we should legalize salmon riding or provide accommodations for it since it’s so prevalent. They do that in jurisdictions that want to promote biking, such as in Holland, Denmark and France and which have much better safety records.

    I used to Salmon from FiDi to the Brooklyn Bridge every day because the alternate and legal route was less safe and a long detour. As a result, the city put in a 2-way bike lane in that area to handle all the salmon traffic.

  • Altered Beast

    If u want to put a. 2 way bike lane I wouldn’t complain but as it is now these delivery guys are a menace

  • Tooscrapps

    He is advocating for e-bikes to replace many motor vehicle trips, which are a far bigger threat than any e-bike every will be.

    How many New Yorkers have been killed by e-bikes this year?

  • Altered Beast

    Yes. If they were used in a fucking correct way on the right way of the street. A surgical knife is good when used for surgery not to pick your eyeballs out in a gangfight

  • Joe R.

    OK, but if we enforce the ban on ebikes then we’ll face two possibilities:

    1) The most likely scenario is restaurants won’t be able to deliver. If delivery people have to use “legal” means of delivery then that means more expensive vehicles, plus the expense/hassle of licensing/registration/insurance. Restaurants will have to charge more but their customers would probably be unwilling/unable to pay. End result is no more delivery or even restaurants closing.

    2) The delivery people will switch to scooters or cars. Be prepared to see both driving on sidewalks and going against traffic. The demands of the job are what results in these behaviors. They’ll continue regardless of the type of vehicle. Be prepared to dodge cars driving 30 mph on sidewalks.

  • Joe R.

    Baloney. I out accelerate the usual delivery e-bikes and match them in terms of cruising speed. Typically, they can’t even reach 20 mph. I haven’t seen one yet that was going 28 mph.

  • JarekFA

    No, not a 2 way bike lane. Just straight up make it legal for bikes and e-bikes to go the wrong way. They have this frequently in narrow city streets where cars can’t or shouldn’t be able to go quick anyway and the only vehicles that can move quickly are bikes or e-bikes. So many municipalities just straight up legalize wrong way biking and they set standards on what type of ebikes/scooters can ride as “bikes”

    See here, the sign says one way (except bikes or scooters) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15dc073ff225ee4617fde01c1f0b76ba96ca22c3030f34bd4731c007c94a491e.jpg

  • Altered Beast

    Or these douchebag delivery guys can actually follow the law and not endanger people. How hard is it to go another block and make a turn on a ebike? You aren’t even pedaling! I used to feel bad for them on a regular bike but now they get to have fun on a ebike and just talk on their cellphones all day and dangle their feet off the bike joyfully while not pedaling but salmoning and going on the sidewalk. No pity for these guys anymore.

  • Inspector General

    You just blew your cover. You’re clearly a windshield perspective cop. Only police call people civilians. You were probably one of the ones ticketing people after a car driver killed someone, weren’t you?

  • Toddster

    What? A surgical knife would be great to gouge out someone’s eyes in a gang fight. Eye removal IS surgery.

  • Joe R.

    It’s not hard. It just adds time which they really don’t have. Remember a lot of places have a “15 minutes or it’s free policy”.

  • Altered Beast

    Well their inconvenience is trying to kill me.

  • Altered Beast

    Ok. I used to be able to beat them but the new arrows are going over 20 mph for real. Not baloney. Nobody goes top speed. But definitely 20-25mph

  • qrt145

    I’m with you but I don’t know of any municipality that has straight up legalized wrong way biking. What they do is allow it on a case by case basis. Normally this means that it is allowed on small local streets, just like the one you depicted.

  • Toddster

    Tell that to De Blasio, because cars were his exact solution.

  • ganghiscon

    I ride every day as well and have never seen an e-bike going anywhere close to that speed.

    So to confirm, you’re just guessing? You have no way of knowing how fast they’re going?

  • Tooscrapps

    You said e-bikes are threatening peoples lives everyday. So, I’ll ask it again: how many people are getting killed by e-bikes in New York?

  • Rex Rocket

    Do not demonize ebike riders. We have to support all riders on all bikes until a majority of the automobile traffic is removed from the streets.

  • HamTech87

    Agreed. The one-way direction’d streets in NYC are an artifact of car-only planning. If we’re planning for multiple modes, we should consider returning these streets to two-way — for bikes and perhaps motorists too.

  • BortLicensePlatez

    You pose a huge concern troll threat, which while not as violent as car drivers, is pretty much responsible for the kinds of shit the mayor is pulling now. So thanks, anonymous troll, you’re part of a movement that leads to unsafe streets!

  • kevd

    sounds like the salmoning is the problem.
    20+ mph.
    Give me a break. You sound like you wouldn’t know 15mph if you were going down hill.

  • kevd

    slow respectful salmoning by riders aware of their surrounds isn’t a problem.
    fast, bullying salmoning is.

    agreed – I was surprised to the the “no entry – except for bikes” on one ways in France and Germany. On tiny little streets, too.
    Works fine there.

  • AlexWithAK

    Simple question: would you rather be hit by a car or an e-bike? You are far more likely to be killed by a car. The answer is to legalize and regulate.

  • JarekFA


  • JarekFA

    Well yah, on a case-by-case basis. Where it’d be appropriate. Like every single street within FiDi.

  • “civilians”

  • Vooch

    the data suggests salmoning is a nuisance not a danger

  • Vooch

    definitely a gov’t employee underworked & overpaid

  • Vooch

    violence is a hallmark of gov’t employees

  • walks bikes drives

    I’m all for legalizing, as long as regulation is included. Just because it is electric doesn’t mean it should be treated any differently than a gas powered moped. In the same way Teslas are treated in the same way as gas powered cars.

  • walks bikes drives

    That’s the key – on average. I also regularly break 20mph (not while salmoning, mind you) but will not keep an average speed of 20mph. The fact that ebikes can maintain that 20mph as an average is why they need to be classified as mopeds. That’s what they are – electric mopeds. Yes, they should be legalized, but they should require licensing and registration. I can often break the speed limit while biking – I can build up good speed on downhills and straightaways when traffic allows, but according to my bike computer, I am still only averaging about 12mph on my commutes. And that is with it turning off while stopped. An ebike can maintain much higher average speeds and it fits the name of motor vehicle since it has a motor (electric or not).

  • walks bikes drives

    I have. I typically cruise down 5th Ave near the Met at about 22-25mph if I have the lights in my favor and a clear bus lane. I have been passed on a few occasions by ebike riders while they were not pedalling. Now I can get up to about 28mph on that stretch, but I am spinning at 85rpm in 50-11.

  • walks bikes drives

    But gas power scooters are capable of much higher speeds – highway speeds even. Not the same comparison. Nor should they be treated as such. The DMV has classifications already set that would fit perfectly for ebikes – mopeds. They are the same thing and are just electric versions of mopeds. Just simply treat them like mopeds. Below a certain threshold, they are treated like a bike. Above a certain threshold, different regulations kick in. The mechanism is there. Just use it.

  • Joe R.

    It’s mathematically impossible for e-bikes to average 20 mph when their top speed is only 20 mph unless they can go full speed for the entire trip. That’s pretty much an impossibility in NYC, even in places like eastern Queens at 2AM, never mind in Manhattan.

    I usually average about 14 to 17 mph inclusive of time stopped. However, I rarely need to stop during the times I ride. I would guess an e-bike riding under the same circumstances would average about the same.

  • Joe R.

    Are you sure about the RPMs? I’m doing the math and the only way you would be going only 28 mph at 85 RPM in a 50-11 gear is with 24″ tires. My highest gear is 53-11. At 85 RPM I’ll be doing a bit over 31 mph. I usually keep it on the 42 tooth chainring for most of my riding. 42-11 is good for ~26 mph cruising at a comfortable 90 RPM, or short downhill bursts at higher RPMs. The large chainring is mostly for sustained high speeds over 30 mph, like when I have a good tailwind. I rarely use it.

    Note my 700c x 20 airless tires have a diameter of 25.8″.

  • walks bikes drives

    It’s not about the pure mathematical average. Are you averaging 20mph while moving? Not including stops? While I can sustain a 20+ mph rate on a straightaway with no wind, I will see my speed bleed with any hill. I am never passes on my commute by a pedal bicycle except if that cyclist manages to hit a green light moving at which I was stopped while red. I do get passed by ebikes.


Edwin Ajacalon's uncle, Eduardo Vicente, broke down before he could speak at last night's vigil. Photo: Dave Colon

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