Gowanus Crash Spotlights Safety Problems of Rogue Private Garbage Carters

Advocates renew calls for regulation after a truck driver plowed into a cyclist, leaving him in critical condition.

The Logamino Brothers truck Sunday night after hitting an e-bike rider, who is now in critical condition. Video: NY1.
The Logamino Brothers truck Sunday night after hitting an e-bike rider, who is now in critical condition. Video: NY1.

Advocates are renewing calls to regulate the city’s private carting industry after a private sanitation-truck driver crashed into an electric-bike rider in Gowanus on Sunday night, leaving the rider in critical condition, police said. 

The crash was only the latest instance of vehicle violence involving a private sanitation carter operating in the outer boroughs. A few months ago, another private carting truck driver fatally backed into a motorcycle rider in Queens.

Both crashes are part of a pattern of unsafe practices in the industry whose drivers have killed at least 21 people since 2016, according to Brooklyn Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who is sponsoring a spate of legislation to regulate the trucks by shortening routes, giving workers protections, and requiring safety features.

“This is not the first or last time that the industry’s wild-west practices have harmed a road user, but we can make sure that it’s a thing of the past,” Reynoso said. “As New Yorkers know all too well, it is not uncommon to see a private sanitation truck tear down a city street or flout the rules of the road, often done in an attempt to finish an excessively long route. It is time to regulate the private sanitation industry through a commercial-waste-zones system for the safety of streets, dignity of workers, and health of our environment.”

Police said that the Sunday night crash happened when a 32-year-old driving a 96 Mack dump truck owned by the Brooklyn-based private carting firm Lomangino Brothers plowed into the 62-year-old victim, who was riding his electric bicycle on Third Avenue near 12th Street at about 9:30 pm. The garbage truck driver was heading south on Third Avenue when, police say, he tried to make a left onto 12th Street and struck the e-bike rider, who was heading north on Third Avenue crossing the same block.

The driver stayed on the scene. Paramedics rushed the victim to Methodist Hospital in critical condition. Cops made no arrests and did not issue any tickets. 

Police could not provide any information about whether the driver was speeding or had gone through a red light — but a recent analysis showed that private carting trucks often speed and disobey traffic signals.

Honchos at Lomangino Brothers — which operates out of its headquarters on 61st Street in Borough Park, on the same block as its sister company JoRo Carting — have not safeguarded any of the company’s four trucks with life-saving side rails, which can protect pedestrians or cyclists from getting crushed beneath the truck’s rear wheels. JoRo has put guards on only two of its eight trucks, according to Justin Wood of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, which looked at information from the city’s Business Integrity Commission, the agency that oversees private carting firms. 

“Lomangino Brothers is a prime example of a private waste company unwilling to take the most basic steps to operate safely and responsibly on our streets, such as installing safety side guards on trucks,” said Wood. “The City Council urgently needs to pass a robust commercial-waste-zone policy that will require companies to upgrade trucks, operate safely, treat workers fairly, and keep our streets and our environment safe.”

One of JoRo's trucks without any protective side rails. Photo: Facebook.
One of JoRo’s trucks without any protective side rails. Photo: Facebook.

Mayor de Blasio announced back in 2015 that all large city trucks, including the private carting fleet, must be outfitted with side guards by 2024. So far, companies have installed side guards on only about 900 of their 6,000 private carting trucks, according to the Daily News.

  • Joe Mama

    Novel idea to fight these private carters (and every other unsafe driver): enforce the existing traffic laws with robust, camera/based ticketing.

    Cameras are tremendously more efficient and impartial than relying on beat cops and meter maids. Speeding? Ticket. Run a red light? Ticket. Encroach on bus or bike lanes? Ticket. Turning against an arrow? Ticket. Encroach on a crosswalk while it’s occupied by a pedestrian? Ticket.

    We have the tools to actually enforce the existing traffic laws and make our streets safer in the process, but the state and city lack the will to do so, and nobody is pressing for an actual solution.

  • The way to fight the problem of the private carters is to get rid of them.

    The private sector should not be involved in performing a public function. And the collection of commercial trash should be no different to the collection of residential trash; it should be under the purview of the Department of Sanitation. (Of course, Sanitation workers don’t always drive those trucks politely; but that’s nothing as compared to the inhumane killers from private carters.)

  • MotoBX

    Commercial companies will just work out a deal with the city like the stipulated fines program. ?

  • Nearly an open/shut case of failure-to-yield, which would have only been complicated if BOTH parties involved in the collision were running the same red light cycle.

    You cannot legally make a left turn through something that is already occupying or approaching the intersection straight-on. Any attempt to explain this away in court or in the press is malpractice

  • Joe Mama

    Then the city can just not do that. If deliveries are an issue then the city should expand loading zones and reserve more public street space for deliveries (for a price). They can enforce those with cameras too.

  • MotoBX

    They certainly could CHOOSE not to offer another stipulated fines program, but they’ll cave to business interests.

    The city is filled with politicians who are too cowardly to make ANY decisions and live with the consequences.

  • John P

    It’s time to ban all garbage trucks!! Make people bring their trash to disposal sites

  • Joe R.

    Mandate cabovers for all private collection companies. Or better yet let DSNY handle commercial waste.

  • DoctorMemory

    Here’s a thought: what if we had less trash and therefore didn’t have to pay fly-by-night companies to haul away an infinite mountain of crap every night? Many cities actually charge by the pound for curbside pickup, and it’s amazing how ecologically-minded people will get when there’s actually a price tag attached to tossing their rock collection into the bin.

    And then on top of that, an equally insane idea: what if we actually enforced our traffic laws, and took licenses (especially commercial ones) away for driving like an idiot?

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