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Bicycle Safety

Cyclist Killed By Truck Driver in Injury-Heavy Area of Brooklyn

10:05 AM EST on March 1, 2019

The cyclist and truck driver were about to pass this construction area when the driver hit the rider. Photo: Julianne Cuba

Another cyclist is dead after police say a hit-and-run truck driver rolled over her on a Williamsburg street late Thursday night.

The unidentified motorist behind the wheel of what cops initially described as a “grey or silver tanker-type vehicle” was driving along Broadway towards Rodney Street when he or she struck the 25-year-old woman pedaling in the same direction. He or she drove over her, and then fled at about 11:30 pm.

Cops could not immediately say if the cyclist was in a bike lane or what type of truck crushed the victim beneath its wheels — if it was a private sanitation truck, or an oil delivery truck — because they are still waiting for more details from the police department's collision investigation squad.

But one officer was already quick to tell the Post that the driver did not stop because he likely did not see her, a common way that drivers get away with killing cyclists and pedestrians. Officers found the victim, who friends identified as Aurilla Lawrence, lying in the middle of the street, where she later died.

The fatal hit-and-run is sadly reminiscent to locals of the July 2017 death of 27-year-old Neftaly Ramirez, a cyclist who was run down and killed in Greenpoint by the improperly licensed driver of a private sanitation truck — not far from where the 25-year-old woman was killed last night.

The victim is the first cyclist killed at Broadway and Rodney Street, but since 2011, there have been 56 reported crashes on Broadway between Havemeyer and Rodney streets, resulting in 20 injured cyclists and 39 injured pedestrians. Just two motorists have been hurt by their own cars in the congested area that functions as a feeder to the Williamsburg Bridge.

And just to put car carnage in perspective for Brooklyn's Community Board 1, which covers Greenpoint and Williamsburg:

From January, 2013 through January, 2014, there were 1,396 reported crashes causing injuries to 702 cyclist and 718 pedestrians. In the same amount of time covering January, 2016 through January, 2019, there were 1,399 total crashes resulting in 724 injured cyclists and 714 injured pedestrians.

That's an increase in cyclists and pedestrians injured, despite Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero program.

In a statement, Transportation Alternatives drew a bigger picture: Poor transit service puts more people in danger.

"Starting next month, when L train service to Manhattan is reduced or non-existent on nights and weekends, more Brooklynites than ever are going to opt to bike over the Williamsburg Bridge to get to Manhattan," said the group's interim co-Director Marco Conner. "That means more people will be biking on Broadway, which links Eastern Brooklyn and Bushwick with the bridge. But Broadway, which lacks protected bike lanes, is far from ideal for traveling on two wheels. When a driver makes one bad move on a street like Broadway, where there's no room for error, people die.

"But it doesn't have to be this way," Conner added. "We're calling on Mayor de Blasio to direct his Department of Transportation to guarantee a safe route for all New Yorkers who bike by building out a true, connected network of protected bike lanes with an accelerated timeline for doing so, with a priority on the areas which will be most heavily impacted by the forthcoming L Train service disruptions."

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