NINETEEN: Another Cyclist Killed, This Time on Brutal Coney Island Avenue [UPDATED]

Surveillance video shows the moment of impact. Photo: Umar Altaf via YouTube
Surveillance video shows the moment of impact. Photo: Umar Altaf via YouTube

Updated | Another cyclist — the 19th of this bloody, bloody year — is dead, killed in a collision after a driver ran a red light on deadly Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn.

Jose Alzorriz. Photo: Facebook
Jose Alzorriz. Photo: Facebook

According to the NYPD, an 18-year-old driver of a 2019 Dodge Charger, traveling southbound on Coney Island Avenue at around 12:30 p.m., collided with a 2018 Honda mini-van that was being driven eastbound on Avenue L.

“The collision caused the SUV to diagonally slide onto the southeast corner of the intersection, where it struck the bicyclist,” cops said in a statement.

Except there’s one little thing the NYPD left out: the teenager ran a red light at blinding speed, as a horrific dashboard video clearly shows. Yet the driver was not initially charged. Meanwhile, cyclist Jose Alzorriz of Park Slope was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where he died.

Alzorriz never had a chance, as the video shows.

Residents of Midwood have long complained about Coney Island Avenue, which suffers from a lack of enforcement because it is on the border of multiple police precincts. The intersection in question is split between the 66th and 70 precincts.

“Coney Island Avenue is a dangerous multi lane speedway, very much in need of traffic calming,” said Nina Sabghir. “Part of what make Coney Island Avenue so dangerous is the complete lack of enforcement for double parking. Vehicles have to zig zag in and out of lanes and make turns from the wrong lane. This makes it difficult to see pedestrians trying to cross. Some street redesign has been done. But there is much to do.”

The 2.7 miles of Coney Island Avenue from Caton Avenue to Avenue P is one of the most treacherous stretches of roadway in Brooklyn. From July, 2018 to July, 2019, there have been 578 crashes, injuring 19 cyclists, 43 pedestrians and 114 motorists. That’s a rate of almost 1.6 crashes per day — on just a short strip of roadway.

The one pedestrian fatality came last month at the intersection of Church Avenue. Maria Del Carmen Porras-Hernandez was run over and killed by a driver inside the marked crosswalk. The driver was later issued a traffic summons, further evidence of the ease with which drivers can kill with little punishment.

“Coney Island Avenue is a hostile environment, especially for those not in a vehicle,” Transportation Alternatives said in a statement. “Designed to move cars as quickly as possible, this street is incompatible with Vision Zero. That’s why we’re calling on the City Council … to unite behind Speaker Corey Johnson’s Streets Master Plan bill, which would accelerate the schedule of redesigning deadly corridors like Coney Island Avenue. All City Council members, but particularly those in Brooklyn given the devastating concentration of deadly crashes in the borough, should unite and push for passage as soon as possible.”

Update: The crash itself was in Council Member Kalman Yeger’s district. An earlier version of this story quoted Transportation Alternatives as calling out Council Member Mathieu Eugene for his repeated failures on street safety issues. Yeger’s record is equally spotty. Neither has returned repeated calls from Streetsblog to discuss their commitment to road safety.

  • All Clear

    All nearby blocks on Coney Island Avenue (Avenue J, Avenue K, Avenue M, Avenue N, etc.) had left turn signals installed during this summer- within the last 30 or so days. Avenue L is the only nearby intersection on Coney Island Avenue that doesn’t have a protected left-turn, even though the largest kosher supermarket in the United States is on one corner of L and Coney, and a Yeshiva (Jewish School) is on another. I would pass by the intersection, and always wonder why a protected left-turn signal wasn’t on this intersection as well.

  • harry smith

    NY_JET8271 has been queried 1 time.

    Total parking and camera violation tickets: 8

    4 | Front Or Back Plate Missing
    2 | School Zone Speed Camera Violation
    1 | No Parking – Street Cleaning
    1 | No Standing – Day/Time Limits

    https://twitter.com/NYScanner/status/1160607207882465280

  • Orcutt

    Silver car looked like it was speeding – possibly both cars

  • Joe R.

    Both cars were speeding. The blue car traveled roughly 60 feet in one second = ~40 mph. The silver car looks like it was going 50+ mph.

    Of course, somehow the NYPD and others are going to try to pin this on the dead cyclist. I’ll bet at some point the NYPD will mention whether or not the cyclist had a helmet on.

  • Joe R.

    Left turn signals take time out from the green cycle. Given how dangerous left turns are, I think they should be prohibited within NYC limits except in very limited circumstances (i.e. when there’s no real alternative and/or not allowing a left will require a many blocks long detour). In most cases you can go around a block making three rights instead of a left. Or you can turn right onto the street you want to make a left on, then make a u-turn. This is similar in principal to the jug handles NJ uses.

  • MatthewEH

    Looks to me like the driver of the silver car southbound on CIA blew the light, based on the state of the pedestrian signal we can see in the video. I don’t know this intersection well, though.

  • Boeings+Bikes

    NYPD crackdown on people standing on the sidewalk along Coney Island Blvd. in 3, 2, 1….

  • 1soReal

    Wow he really blew that light. Before I watched the vid I was thinking it was it was a light that just turned red. It doesnt even look like any attempt to slow down approaching it, though you’d need a view from behind to see the brake lights. I would think the driver had some kind of medical episode but the car was maintaining a straight line too well. Also on closer inspection the silver car does try to veer away at the last
    second

  • GuestBx

    Driver should minimum have their license suspended for life.

    I hope someone with Twitter tweets this video to the DOT Comish and the mayor.

  • Altered Beast ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    the driver of that silver car is a murderer

  • William Lawson

    “…suffers from a lack of enforcement because it is on the border of multiple police precincts.”

    Christ this pisses me off so much. Every day there’s just a litany of new evidence that the NYPD isn’t fit to police East Shitfuck let alone NYC.

  • Simon Phearson

    Jesus christ. Drivers are out of control in this city. They need to be stopped.

  • Rfegfiug Ferfhbuowe

    Details, first the cyclist is 35 now he’s 52? And somehow a suv transforms into a minivan? Amazingly written ?

  • vnm

    Watch, it will turn out he/she is already driving without a license. Happens all the time.

  • Joe R.

    The light turned green shortly after the driver blew through it, which means it was steady red while he/she was approaching the intersection. This wasn’t a case of “trying to make the light” and colliding with someone who was getting a jump on the green light. He/she went through a steady red which he/she would have seen long before he/she reached the intersection.

    I’m sure the driver will try to pull some medical episode excuse but that shouldn’t be allowed to fly. If you’re prone to having medical episodes which can cause you to drive like that you shouldn’t even be driving.

    The cyclist entered the crosswalk on red but it could have been to get out of the way of the crash. Unfortunately, he ended up putting himself right in the path of it.

  • PDiddy

    The time to take his license was when he sped in a school zone. Now he should be in prison for a few years.

  • skelter weeks

    Why is the guy with the camera running a red light…after witnessing what can happen to red light runners??

  • MatthewEH

    Was replying to the video posted with the story earlier. The dashcam video is much more obvious.

    Poor guy on the bike, he didn’t stand a chance…

  • Och

    That silver car was speeding at 50+ mph and ran a red light.

  • Gersh Kuntzman

    In a breaking news story, preliminary information frequently changes as more information comes in. Thanks for bearing with us.

  • Joe R.

    He may have to get out of the way of any help.

  • Joe R.

    We have a dead cyclist but I’m wondering how severely the occupants of the blue SUV were hurt? This could be multiple deaths. Of course, I won’t shed any tears if the driver of the silver car is one of them.

  • John

    Why isn’t that bastard being charged with anything!??

  • MatthewEH

    One thing I haven’t seen highlighted in discussion yet: the construction site and solid-blue construction fencing in the lot on the northwest corner of the intersection acted as a lack of daylighting, a visual obstruction. The drivers were screened off from each other until such time as the van driver had already proceeded east (with his or her green light) into the intersection.

    I could see this being a safety issue under more ordinary circumstances; a southbound driver making a right with the green light might not see someone in the west crosswalk crossing north-to-south until a couple of seconds before making the turn. Especially so if the driver is being more ordinary-for-south-Brooklyn reckless rather than 3-standard-deviations-from-mean reckless; coming down CIA at speed, still seeing a green light ahead, and just kinda banging the turn instead of making it more deliberately.

    In the case at hand, to be clear, it is a minor contributing factor compared to the silver car driver barrelling down the road at 50+ mph and through a goddamned solid red light.

  • Andrew

    I was going to disagree with you after reading the first paragraph, but then I read the second and third, and I agree.

  • motorock

    Damn! My condolences to the biker. I hope the other passengers in the van are safe.
    I pass this intersection fairly regularly and ride on Coney Island Ave frequently. The amount of double parked cars and inconsiderate and aggressive drivers really do make it a hellhole to navigate. This incident, though, is a totally new level- the least people normally do is stop at red. This is manslaughter- this driver did not show any intention to slow down or be considerate to anyone else on the road. This driver should be charged with it, spend some time behind bars and never be allowed to drive again. Will this happen? Probably not- likely NYPD will do a crackdown on cyclists. Like they do on motorcyclists after motorcyclist gets rammed into by car. Or peds when they get run over by them….

  • Isaac B

    Southern Brooklyn (where I grew up) is a horror show for everyone on the street, be they walking, biking or driving. Aggression is endemic and tempers flare. IMHO, a major contributor is “too many cars and too many car trips”. This area is relatively compact and walkable and has very good transit. But socially and culturally, adults are expected to own cars. Once they do, they them for every trip, no matter how short. These plug up the streets, raise tempers and degrade the quality of life. If only it were feasible to no only slow the cars, but to get a percent of people to opt out of owning them, or if they do, to use them less.

    Condolences to the family and friends of Jose Alzorriz.

  • AG

    This just shows that speed cameras don’t save lives as much as the politicians want you to believe so. The silver car passes one a little bit before the intersection, yet it does zero good. Younger drivers always more hyped up to be driving, perhaps we need the threat of stricter penalties for speeding for new drivers to get them to think twice.

  • Ian Turner

    Are there speed cameras at this location? If not, then why are you bringing them up?

  • Vooch

    send video to BdB and Polly – this roadway is far too wide. A stroad if there every was one.

    Shame we can’t file a civil lawsuit against DOT for negligence…..

  • Daphna

    Wow. Those drivers were traveling FAST. There were several pedestrians at the intersection waiting along with the bicyclist; They could easily have been hit if the crash occurred in a slightly different place. The cyclist had not chance. No type of defense, super-aware cycling could have helped with drivers going that fast.
    Speed cameras only give tickets for driving over 36mph. So drivers in areas where there are speed cameras know to keep to 36 mph when passing one in order to avoid a ticket. The ticket is only $50 and has no license points. Two fixes: speed cameras should ticket for 1 mile over the limit, not only when more than 11 mph over. And the fine should be higher and points on one’s license should be attached. However, the city council keeps favoring motorists in many ways: bus lane violation tickets used to be $115 and legislators reduced them to only $50 at the beginning of the summer.
    Secondly, any street that has a double-parking problem needs metered curbside parking.

  • Because he’s not a black kid who jumped a subway turnstile and he’s not an immigrant who delivers food via e-bike. That’s how it works in de Blasio’s New York.

  • HamTech87

    Yes. Looks like he was pulling over to help.

  • HamTech87

    This CBS piece on the crash is infuriating. By including a quote from a friend saying bicycling is too dangerous, it ignores the facts of the crash. It could have been someone standing on the sidewalk who was killed. And you know the assholes at CBS2 would have raised the issue of helmet safety if Alzorriz had not been wearing one. Grrrr….
    https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/08/11/cyclist-killed-brooklyn-coney-island-avenue-sedan-suv-crash/

  • vnm

    Channel 2’s coverage of cycling in general is pretty abysmal.

  • MatthewEH

    I think AG is saying there was one, yes.

  • Joe R.

    If there is a clearer example of a cyclist getting killed simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time than this incident I’d love to see it. In fact, the blue vehicle came pretty close to hitting the guy standing on the corner as well. We don’t say walking is too dangerous when cars run onto sidewalks and kill people.

  • BlueSky

    Thats the plate number of the killer driver that ran the red light? 8 violations , damn. He should be charged with vehicular homicide. He should not even be allowed behind the wheel.

  • Mason

    8 violations, and all in 2019. So this p.o.s. just got the car this year, and already raked up 8 violations, with 2 being speeding in school zone.

  • PDiddy

    Kudos to you guys for covering the carnage on your off day.

  • DoctorMemory

    $10 says his dad is a cop or firefighter.

  • MasterSignifier

    How do you attach points to the license if you don’t know who’s driving?

  • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

    They can go fuck themselves.

  • Andrew

    This just shows that speed cameras don’t save lives as much as the politicians want you to believe so.

    It shows nothing of the sort.

  • Joe R.

    The owner of the car gets fined. Legally you can’t put points on the license since you can’t determine who’s driving. However, a bill pending would impound the car if it racked up enough speed cam violations in a certain period of time. Even if the owner wasn’t driving during those violations, it indicates bad judgement on their part lending their car to someone who gets caught that much by speed cameras.

  • Joe R.

    And exactly why do we let 18-year olds drive? The part of the brain having to do with impulse control isn’t fully developed until about age 25. That should also be the minimum age when it’s legal to drive a conventional motor vehicle. You can allow younger people to drive safer, lighter, slower vehicles like scooters and mopeds before then, but driving multi-ton motor vehicles should be restricted to those at least age 25. In fact, if most people see they can get around just fine on a bike, e-bike, moped, or scooter until age 25, they may not even see the need for a car.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    More evidence for my assertion that simply confiscating cars that don’t display license plates would make streets significantly safer.

  • AMH

    Some people do, and they are completely blind to where all the danger is coming from.

  • Daphna

    Good point. Then I retract my suggestions for points one’s license and just advocate for a higher fine.

  • skypilot

    It’s over a day later, why don’t we know the driver’s name?

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