The 87-year-old bike rider who was struck by a speeding car driver on deadly Ocean Parkway earlier this week has died of his injuries — and cops blamed him for cycling through a red light despite multiple witnesses that said the car driver was the villain.
Police said on Saturday morning that Yevgeny Meskin, who had been hit and seriously injured on Wednesday at around 10 a.m. had died at Maimonides Hospital. A source said Meskin, who lived near the crash site at Avenue P, had died on Thursday from massive head trauma he received after being slammed by the driver of a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica.
Details of the crash depend on whom you believe. The police statement issued Saturday said that the 36-year-old driver was traveling northbound on the Ocean Parkway service road "with the traffic signal in [his] favor." Cops added that the "the elderly male bicyclist entered the roadway from the east side of the street, traveling west, against the traffic signal, and was subsequently struck by the front passenger side of the vehicle."
It is unclear on whose testimony the above narrative was based because witnesses at the scene told the Daily News that Meskin had the right of way.
“Just as I crossed Ocean Parkway this black car came out of nowhere,” a witness told the paper. “The next thing I heard was this bang and the car hit him."
Streetsblog has asked the NYPD for more information, such as the number of witnesses who were interviewed before the release of the cyclist-blaming report, plus our standard list of questions that includes the speed of the driver and whether he was distracted by his phone or a passenger in the car. We will update this story if we hear back.
The speed limit on Ocean Parkway is 25 miles per hour, and injuries from crashes are much more likely to be fatal when drivers exceed that rate.
The crash occurred as the City Council was passing a landmark bill that would create far more space space for cyclists and pedestrians across the city. The bill passed overwhelmingly, but did not have the support of neighborhood Council Members Kalman Yeger and Chaim Deutsch. A few years ago, Deutsch opposed a street-safety measure that banned the right turn at Avenue P from Ocean Parkway.
Ocean Parkway is one of the most dangerous stretches of roadway in Brooklyn, with speeding rampant and wide-open intersections playing a role in crashes. Political leadership in the area has been lacking, however, with then-Council Member Simcha Felder actually seeking to raise the speed limit to 30 miles per hour after the de Blasio administration lowered it to 25 in one of its first Vision Zero initiatives. Yet speeding is a persistent threat on the roadway.
In just the 365 days of 2018, there were 674 crashes on Ocean Parkway between Church Avenue and the Belt Parkway, injuring 22 cyclists, 34 pedestrians and 142 motorists, according to city data crunched by Crashmapper. The Avenue P intersection alone had 39 crashes, injuring 11 people.
Still, those numbers are down significantly compared to 2014, before the city made some safety improvements to the roadway. In that year, there were 847 crashes, injuring 30 cyclists, 45 pedestrians and 164 motorists. In that year, there had been 51 crashes at that Avenue P intersection, injuring 14 and killing one motorist.
Educated at the Sorbonne and the Yale School of Drama, Gersh Kuntzman is obviously not the person being described here. We're talking about tabloid legend Gersh Kuntzman, who has been with New York newspapers since 1989, including stints at the New York Daily News, the Post, the Brooklyn Paper and even a cup of coffee with the Times. He's also the writer and producer of "Murder at the Food Coop," which was a hit at the NYC Fringe Festival in 2016, and “SUV: The Musical” in 2007. Email Gersh at firstname.lastname@example.org
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