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Bicycle Safety

Fundraising Campaign Set Up to Aid Family of Fatally Doored Cyclist

Hugo Garcia was doored and then run over on Third Avenue on New Year’s Day, 2019. Photo: Garcia family

Friends and family — and customers — of the cyclist who was fatally doored on Third Avenue in Brooklyn on New Year's Day are raising money for the victim's family.

Hugo Garcia was cycling to work at Bagels by the Park in Carroll Gardens at around 6 a.m. on the dangerous wide stretch of the mini-speedway in Sunset Park when a passenger in a taxi open his or her door into him, sending him flying into traffic, where he was fatally struck by the driver of a 2013 Nissan. He was the first victim of road violence in 2019.

The GoFundMe page is filled with condolences from Garcia's former customers. It quickly raised $2,700, but more help is needed, according to Council Member Brad Lander, who made an appeal on his Facebook page.

Third Avenue is a particularly dangerous stretch of roadway, and activists have been calling for street safety improvements for years.

"This deadly crash ... could have been prevented," Transportation Alternatives Co-Interim Director Ellen McDermott said in a statement. "Brooklyn’s Third Avenue has not been redesigned to safely accommodate all users regardless of their mode of transport. On the stretch of Third Avenue where this crash occurred, there is no dedicated right of way for people on bikes — just three wide lanes for moving cars and trucks, and one lane for storing them."

McDermott also put in a plug for the Vision Zero Street Design Standard bill, which would require the city to install safety improvements, such as protected bike lanes, whenever streets are repaved. The bill, Intro 322, was introduced last year by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

"Life-saving measures, like protected bike lanes, must be applied wherever possible and as a matter of policy — not just when it is politically palatable or after a bicyclist has been killed," McDermott said. "This is the only way to create a connected, city-wide network of protected bike lanes. ... The Vision Zero Street Design Standard bill should be a top priority for the City Council this year."

Garcia becomes the first cyclist to die in 2019. Last year, 12 cyclists were killed by drivers — though only 10 were included in the official NYPD count. Two cyclists — including MD Rajon, who died in December in a still-unsolved hit-and-run in East New York — were classified as motor-vehicle drivers because they were on e-bikes like Garcia's.

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