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Cyclist Killed by Bus Driver in Flatbush Danger Zone

8:28 AM EDT on April 29, 2020

A cyclist was killed by an MTA bus driver on Tuesday at Clarendon Road and Rogers Avenue in Brooklyn.

A cyclist, apparently making a delivery, was killed by an on-duty MTA bus driver on Tuesday afternoon at a dangerous intersection in Flatbush.

According to police, both Tadeusz Czajkowski, 67, and the bus driver were traveling northbound on Rogers Avenue at around 4:30 p.m. when Czajkowski "attempted to make a left turn on to Clarendon Road," where he was hit by the bus driver.

"The bicyclist veered into the path of the MTA bus, and was subsequently sideswiped by the vehicle, causing the bicyclist to be thrown to the pavement," the NYPD said in a statement. Czajkowski was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he died. The 47-year-old bus driver, whose name was not released, remained at the scene and was not charged. (The MTA later said the operator of the bus was later transported to the hospital to be treated for psychological trauma.)

MTA spokesman Tim Minton called the crash "a tragic incident for all involved."

The agency deferred to the NYPD regarding additional details of the crash. Police declined to provide them, and would not speculate on whether the driver was speeding.

A video of the incident suggests the bus driver was traveling at a high rate of speed, relative to the e-bike-riding cyclist. It also brings into question the police narrative that the cyclist was preparing to "make a left turn."

A photo of the aftermath also raises questions:

The crash scene.
The crash scene.

The bus is outside the Rogers Avenue bus lane and the crumpled bike is to the right of the bus, which does not follow the police narrative.

"We've heard the NYPD produce narratives which prematurely, and often wrongly, absolve drivers of any wrongdoing, while blaming cyclists for their own deaths," said the group's spokesman, Joe Cutrufo. "The camera angle is different, but this crash brings to mind the 2017 crash that resulted in the death of Dan Hanegby."

In that 2017 crash, of course, the NYPD and the bus driver long held to a position that Hanegby had turned into a passing bus. Months later, video revealed that Hanegby was not at fault.

Under normal circumstances, Rogers Avenue is often filled with double-parked cars in the roadways lone northbound travel lane, so it's unclear if one of those played a role.

Last year, there were 38 crashes, injuring one pedestrian, three cyclists and 21 motorists, in just a four-block stretch of Rogers Avenue centered on Clarendon, according to Crashmapper.

The 67th Precinct is one of the most dangerous in the city, with 3,643 crashes last year, injuring 85 pedestrians, 258 cyclists and 1,236 motorists last year. That's roughly 10 crashes per day in a precinct that does not include a major highway. The neighboring 77th Precinct had 2,331 total crashes last year, or roughly six per day.

Czajkowski is the second cyclist killed this year – and the first since January. Fatalities and crashes are down significantly this year because there are so many fewer cars on the road during the coronavirus lockdown, which began in mid-March. Statistics show that the total number of miles being driven in automobiles is down nearly 90 percent. Pedestrian deaths have also plummeted as a result of the reduction in driving.

But many delivery cyclists are still working, conveying goods to a locked-down public.

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