UPDATE: Cyclist Killed By Hit-and-Run Truck in East NY

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

SB Donation NYC header 2A 21-year-old cyclist was run over and killed by a hit-and-run truck driver early Friday morning in East New York.

Details are scarce, but police say that MD Rajon, 21, was riding eastbound in a painted bike lane on Pitkin Avenue at around 1 a.m. when a white truck also traveling eastbound on Pitkin ran him over as he tried to turn right onto Atkins Avenue.

The driver of the truck fled, according to police.

Rajon is the 11th cyclist to die in New York this year.

“The investigation remains ongoing,” the NYPD said in a statement.

The intersection of Pitkin and Atkins is basically a gateway to danger in East New York: At Atkins, six people have been injured in crashes since January, 2017. And there have been injuries at each of the next 12 eastbound blocks in the same period, wounding 34 people in total, nine of whom were pedestrians and four of whom were cyclists.

Transportation Alternatives’ Co-Interim Director Marco Conner issued a statement on Friday morning that referenced the ongoing carnage on New York City streets.

“This morning’s deadly crash … marks the fourth traffic fatality involving a bicyclist or pedestrian in Brooklyn this week,” Conner said, referring to the killing of 71-year-old Pinchos Kreiner in Borough Park. On Tuesday, the hit-and-run death of 57-year-old Francine LaBarbara in Gravesend, and the death of film shoot “conehead” Pedro Jimenez, 63, in Cobble Hill.

“East New York, like many predominantly low-income communities of color in New York City, has no protected bike lanes,” Conner added. “Pitkin Avenue, where Rajon was struck, has a conventional bike lane, consisting of nothing more than a painted line to separate people on bikes from general traffic.”

He also referred to some victim-shaming that has been published in other media reports that suggested that Rajon was partly culpable for his own death because he was riding on an electric bicycle.

“It clearly makes no difference how a bicycle is propelled when large, multi-ton vehicles are added into the equation,” Conner said. “People who use e-bikes are just as vulnerable to the dangers of reckless driving as people who ride regular bikes.”

And he added a reminder: “The people killed this week were going about the business of everyday life in New York City — working, commuting, returning home from shul. They died because of reckless driving and streets where pedestrians and people on bikes are an afterthought. … Life-saving measures, like protected bike lanes, must be applied as a matter-of-fact, not sporadically as has been the case for years.”

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