Bushwick Cyclist Severely Injured by DSNY Driver and Deadly Evergreen Ave. Street Design

A hit-and-run Sanitation Department driver maimed a woman riding in the painted bike lane on Evergreen Avenue, near where a motorist killed cyclist Leah Sylvain in 2016. DOT has not improved conditions for biking on Evergreen since Sylvain was killed.

Evergreen Avenue has two lanes for parking but not enough space for cyclists and motorists to pass safely. Video stills: ABC
Evergreen Avenue has two lanes for parking but not enough space for cyclists and motorists to pass safely. Video stills: ABC

A Sanitation Department driver severely injured a cyclist in Bushwick last night and left the scene. The crash happened on Evergreen Avenue, the street where a truck driver killed cyclist Leah Sylvain two years ago.

The victim, a 25-year-old woman whose name was not released, was biking north on Evergreen near Menahan Street at around 8:40 p.m. when the sanitation worker, driving in the same direction, hit her with a garbage truck.

“Half her arm was hanging off,” a witness told the Post. “It was awful. She was just laying in the bike lane, not really moving.”

The Collision Investigation Squad, which only works the most serious crashes, was dispatched to the scene.

The victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Her condition was upgraded to critical but stable last night, an NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog.

Police tracked down the truck at a sanitation garage on Varick Street and took the driver and a passenger into custody for questioning. No arrests had been made as of this afternoon, according to NYPD.

Sticking to the NYPD’s post-hit-and-run script, police offered the driver a pre-emptive defense, telling the Daily News he or she was “possibly oblivious” to the collision. Most hit-and-run drivers who strike people in NYC are not held accountable in any way.

A query to the Sanitation Department for details on the crash and the driver was unreturned as of this writing.

Evergreen near the site of yesterday’s crash.
Evergreen near the site of yesterday’s crash.

Evergreen Avenue is a narrow one-way street with a painted bike lane. Much of the street, including the site of yesterday’s crash, has two lanes for parking but not enough space for motorists and cyclists to pass each other safely.

Last night’s collision occurred nine blocks from the site where a fuel truck driver ran over and killed 27-year-old Leah Sylvain in June 2016. NYPD and the press publicly trashed Sylvain, claiming she caused the crash, before evidence showed the driver violated her right of way.

DOT has not improved conditions for biking on Evergreen Avenue since Sylvain was killed. In the past, DOT’s answer to bike lanes on narrower streets has been to replace the lane with sharrows while leaving parking untouched.

Update: DSNY sent us a statement:

The Department of Sanitation is fully cooperating with NYPD’s investigation. In addition, the Department of Sanitation’s Safety Division is conducting its own internal investigation.

Per DSNY standard protocol, the Sanitation Workers have been placed on modified duty and are not driving. Further disciplinary action could result pending the outcome of the investigations.

  • Danny

    The roadway on that one block of Evergreen between Grove and Menahan Streets seems slightly narrower than the blocks east and west of it (maybe by a foot or so). It might be that it’s too narrow to fit parking on both sides of the street, a bike lane, and a driving lane.

  • Jeff

    I think that’s the point. We choose to subject people to serious injury and death in order to have parking on both sides of the street.

  • Simon Phearson

    Another day of “incremental progress,” according to the advocates.

  • BrandonWC

    According to NYC Open Data, Evergreen is 32′ to the east of Grove and 30′ to the west. 30′ is standard for this kind of street configuration. https://data.cityofnewyork.us/City-Government/NYC-Street-Centerline-CSCL-/exjm-f27b/data

  • Danny

    That data may be incorrect. According to Google aerial maps, Evergreen is 30′ wide to the west of Menahan, but that one block between Grove and Menahan seems to be about 28′. I’m not able to measure it in real life, but there may be a discrepancy.

  • William Lawson

    Once again: it was not possible for this guy to be unaware that he’d hit someone. He was driving IN THE BIKE LANE and hit a cyclist who was riding IN THE BIKE LANE. Only two logical possibilities exist: either he knew he hit her and fled the scene, or he was so out of it on drink or drugs that he had no awareness of his surroundings. Both scenarios – which are the ONLY possible scenarios in this case – should be sufficient to result in jail and at the very least, the termination of his job. But neither of those things will happen because we have a functionally useless police department and the sanitation department is comprised of coarse minded morons whose only loyalty in life is to their union, even at the expense of human life.

    If the victim or her family is reading this comment: please sue the city. Sue them for tens of millions. If these bastards can’t rustle up the common denency to give us justice against scum drivers like this then we have to communicate to them in the only language they understand – $$$’s.

  • J

    This! A thousand times this. We act as though parking on both sides of the street was a decree from god. It’s not, and there is a choice we can make to value safety over car parking.

  • take
    the
    lane
    never
    drive
    in
    the
    door
    zone

  • Kwyjibo

    “Driving” in the bike lane might well have saved her life.

    F your victim blamey aggro white male VC bullshit.

  • BrandonWC

    It certainly could be wrong. Also Evergreen bends a bit on that block which might pinch things mid-block even if city’s measurement is correct on one or both of the ends. But if the city data is off that could explain why the design was not modified to take into account the narrowness.

  • a) she was doing the “right” thing–the city even has paint there.
    b) doing the “right” thing here–riding in the bike lane–which, opposite to your point, she was in fact doing–led directly to her death. the paint there is both in the door zone and too close to cars/trucks passing BECAUSE THE ROAD THERE IS TOO NARROW FOR A BIKE LANE AND SAFE PASSING. it is literally a death trap. minimum safe pass is 3 ft, which means on that block you either have to ride impracticably close to the parked cars (dangerous as hell to do so) OR you have to ride in the middle of the street, taking the lane. it is clearly safer in every way to take the lane on that block, even though the NYC DOT has put paint there. the paint is wrong.
    c) your “white male VC” comment is not germane here–the experience is the same for all of us who ride on that block, irrespective of gender or race.

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