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Aggressive Driving

NYPD: Cyclist Killed on Ocean Parkway, 13th So Far This Year 

11:04 AM EDT on September 10, 2020

File photo: Dave Colon

A 29-year-old cyclist is dead after he was hit by a driver along a notorious Brooklyn speedway early Thursday morning, cops said, making him the 13th person killed on a bike so far this year, and the fourth in just the first 10 days of September.

Police say the cyclist, whose name has not yet been released, was riding east on Avenue N when he tried to cross Ocean Parkway at the crosswalk, and was struck by the 38-year-old driver behind the wheel of a 2020 Camaro SS that was heading north on the thoroughfare at about 12:30 am. Paramedics rushed the victim to Maimonides Hospital, where he died.

Cops say the driver, who remained on the scene, was traveling “with the green light,” but a spokeswoman for the NYPD could not say whether the driving was speeding or distracted when he fatally hit the victim. The agency did not provide evidence for its conclusion that the driver had the green — a pattern of the NYPD's to try to blame the victim for their own death before a full investigation, which once completed often reveals a different narrative.

"The NYPD has a long history of speaking prematurely, taking drivers’ words at face value, and blaming victims for their own deaths," said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris. "We call on NYPD Commissioner Shea to bring an end to the shameful practice of blaming traffic crash victims for their own deaths and exonerating drivers before crash investigations have been completed."

And the NYPD did not release other information about the driver, which witnesses provided: The New Jersey plate associated with the new car has a history of speeding, according to city data. The plate has racked up five speeding tickets since June — an indication that the car has only been on the road for several months.

The six-lane thoroughfare became a speedway during the COVID-19 pandemic — reckless drivers sent multiple people to the hospital after traveling down Ocean Parkway at what police said was a “high rate of speed,” causing another car to flip over multiple times, in a terrifying incident caught on video.

Since August, 2018, there have been 36 crashes at the intersection of Avenue N and Ocean Parkway alone, causing 22 injuries, including three cyclists and three pedestrians. And along the entire stretch of Ocean Parkway, from Church Avenue to Avenue Z, there have been a whopping 391 crashes in just the last year, causing 132 injuries, including 15 cyclists and 25 pedestrians, and one cyclist fatality, according to Crash Mapper.

The deadly intersection also sits within Brooklyn Council Member Kalman Yeger's district, where seven bikers have been killed by drivers in the last two years, making it one of the most dangerous for cyclists, according to safe-street advocates.

"This fatal crash took place in the district of City Council Member Kalman Yeger, a district with the most bicyclist fatalities in New York City in recent years," said Harris.

Yeger did not respond to a request for comment.

The 29-year-old is the fourth biker killed so far in just the first 10 days of September — on Sept. 3, 50-year-old Salvador Chairez-Rodriguez was struck by the driver of an MTA bus in Queens; two days later, an e-bike rider died after he collided with a pedestrian in the Bronx; and on Sept. 7, 35-year-old Sarah Pitts was struck by the driver of a private charter bus in Williamsburg.

Police say there are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

There will be a memorial ride for Sarah Pitts on Friday, Sept. 11 at 6:30 pm starting at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park; and a memorial and ghost bike installation for Salvador Chairez-Rodriguez next Sunday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m., at 51st Street and 31st Avenue in Woodside.

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