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UPDATE: Another Cyclist is Dead — 21st This Year

The horrible stretch of Bruckner Boulevard, looking west towards Brown Place, where a cyclist (not the one pictured) was killed Thursday. Photo: Google

A cyclist was killed on Thursday in a crash with a tractor-trailer in the Bronx, the NYPD said, making him the 21st bike rider to die on what is already a deeply bloody year.

Few details were immediately available, but according to cops, 22-year-old Michael Basurto Larino was riding westbound on Bruckner Boulevard at around 1:45 p.m. when he "collided into the rear" of the truck, which was heading southbound on Brown Place in the South Bronx. An updated report from NYPD on Friday only added that Larino is "undomiciled."

The initial police report does not say who had the light or give any other details. It is unclear what evidence the NYPD has to make a preliminary conclusion that Larino ran into the back of the truck, and an NYPD spokesman declined to comment. Investigators made a similar conclusion in a fatal crash last year, even though evidence showed that the truck driver was to blame, as Streetsblog reported.

That stretch of Bruckner Boulevard is a horrific truck route that is extremely dangerous to anyone that is not shielded by thousands of pounds of metal. Car drivers use that portion of Bruckner Boulevard to get to the Willis Avenue Bridge and, as a result, congestion and frayed nerves are frequent.

Last year, there were 216 crashes on just the three blocks of Bruckner Boulevard between Saint Anne's Avenue and the Willis Avenue Bridge, injuring one cyclist, four pedestrians and 47 motorists, according to Crashmapper.

The Bronx is where a considerable amount of cyclist blood has been spilled this year, thanks to epidemic speeding by drivers and a paucity of protected lanes for cyclists. Bicycle injuries are up 40 percent this year in the Boogie Down, according to the NYPD, and total road deaths are up more than 65 percent. Several cyclists have died in The Bronx this year, Streetsblog has reported.

After initial publication of this story, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris issued the following statement:

Another person has been killed while riding a bicycle on New York City streets. To date in 2020, at least 21 cyclists have been killed, and eight of them in the Bronx — the most of any borough. At least 200 people have been killed in traffic violence in New York City this year.

Only 3 percent of the city’s total protected bike lane mileage is in the Bronx, compared to about 50 percent in Manhattan. This crash took place on a particularly hostile stretch of Bruckner Boulevard, just a block west of where a protected bike lane turns north toward the Willis Avenue Bridge entrance. This corridor is a truck route, and precisely the type of street that requires complete, dedicated bike infrastructure which separates people on bikes from multi-ton tractor trailers.

This has been a particularly deadly year in the Bronx, and not just for cyclists. In 2019, there were 28 traffic deaths in the Bronx, while in 2020, we have now seen at least 46. This year, 22 percent of all fatal New York City traffic crashes happened in the Bronx, compared to 13 percent in 2019.

This year is projected to have the most traffic deaths of any year during Mayor de Blasio’s time in office. However, rather than fight to save human lives, the mayor has slashed the budgets for life-saving programs like Vision Zero and the Green Wave Plan, and he delayed the rollout of the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program and the Streets Master Plan. We know the New York City Department of Transportation is capable of delivering safe streets, but without support from the mayor, New York City will continue to prioritize the convenience of drivers over human life.

In response to the rise in traffic violence this year, Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives will be hosting a rally on Sunday, Nov. 15 at City Hall Park in coordination with the international World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

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