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.”

  • Knut Torkelson

    Just FYI the link for the Islip bus station (outside of this article) story is broken

  • Daphna

    Very sad. And it’s very sad when community boards in neighborhoods with dangerous streets fight against safety improvements. The DOT would be more willing to propose plans for protected bike lanes or other street safety improvements if the local community boards would endorse them.
    Amsterdam Avenue was supposed to have a road diet from 110th to 155th Street years ago. Carolyn Thompson, the Chair of Community Board 9 Transportation Committee, asked the DOT to come back over and over to her watering the plan down more and more each time. But even after gaining concessions and weakening the plan, she still rejected it and Amsterdam Avenue remains dangerous and deadly. Will Manhattan Boro President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Mark Levine continue to re-appoint Carolyn Thompson and others like her on CB9 who fight street safety improvements?

  • The DOT is under no obligation to win the approval of Community Boards.

    We recently saw some very good comments from a Downtown Manhattan Community Board; nevertheless, these bodies typically are klown kolleges consisting almost entirely of lunatics and half-wits.

    Community Boards are playpens where self-important local busybodies can run around and make noise until they tire themselves out. Their decisions should never obstruct the functioning of our legitimate elected government.

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