Truck Driver Kills Scooter Rider Near New Queens ‘Protected’ Bike Lane
An e-scooter delivery worker is dead after getting run over by the driver of a massive beer distribution truck in Queens on Thursday morning.
Police have released little about the 8:30 a.m. crash on Crescent Street near Astoria Boulevard, but say the driver of the Bud Light big rig struck and killed 35-year-old Alfredo Cabrera Liconia, who was riding an electric scooter while finishing up his shift making deliveries, according to reports. A police spokesperson, blaming the victim, said the driver made a right turn from Astoria Boulevard onto Crescent Street when Liconia “struck the passenger side” as he was heading straight on Astoria Boulevard.
“We’ve tweeted @NYC_DOT for weeks that the protection & separation on the 2 way Crescent St bike lane is not enough & that someone will die. And now someone is dead. All because Commissioner Polly Trottenberg designs bike lanes for cars & trucks to drive in. Blood is on her hands,” said Macartney Morris.
We've tweeted @NYC_DOT for weeks that the protection & separation on the 2 way Crescent St bike lane is not enough & that someone will die. And now someone is dead. All because Commissioner Polly Trottenberg designs bike lanes for cars & trucks to drive in. Blood is on her hands. https://t.co/P7cCjeVMnC
— macartney (@macartney) November 12, 2020
Fatal crash in Queen's Crescent Street bike path. Can we all agree that a bike lane isn't really "protected" if you can drive a tractor-trailer into it? We can't allow this to keep happening. https://t.co/L1IKkrZ3JC
— StreetsPAC (@StreetsPAC) November 12, 2020
And a Department of Transportation sign posted on the corner of Astoria Boulevard and Crescent Street forbids truckers from making a right turn onto Crescent Street, unless for a local delivery — which is what cops say the trucker did. The Crescent Street block is mostly residential and home to a church, so it’s unclear if the driver was really making a local delivery.
Police say they did not issue the truck driver a summons or make any arrests.
For weeks, cyclists have been sounding the alarm about the two-way bike lane’s lack of physical barriers to keep riders safe from speeding drivers. The Department of Transportation finished installing the pathway last month, adding bendable plastic bollards to discourage drivers from riding in the bike lane. But such flexiposts do not actually prevent cars and trucks from entering what is supposed to be protected space.
The Crescent Street bike lane is a major achievement.
Astoria can be a model of successful transit alternatives for all of NYC – but only if we make critical safety improvements.
— Zohran Kwame Mamdani (@ZohranKMamdani) October 22, 2020
Gonna keep highlighting the current deficiencies of the Crescent #bike2QBB lane in an attempt to shame my good friends and talented planners @NYC_DOT. Every single one of you know these blocks are a problem & every single one of you know how to fix it. https://t.co/bChKILpUFP
— macartney (@macartney) October 14, 2020
Since its implementation, the bike lane has already had its fair share of problems — drivers have used it as a parking lot; motorists were directed to actually drive onto the green paint; and in one vile instance, one man spat on a cyclist in the bike lane as he tried to get around slower traffic near the Queensboro Bridge.
cars being directed into the crescent street bike lane pic.twitter.com/Ndn61yWFHQ
— chad cormorant (@dimpNewYork) October 22, 2020
Advocates and local pols are again demanding DOT make the bike lane safer to truly protect riders like Liconia.
“For months, Astoria told DOT the bike lane isn’t safe enough. Every day, cars blow past the flex-delineators designed for drivers to ignore,” said Zohran Kwame Mamdani, the Assembly Member-elect for the 36th district, which represents Astoria. “…what is clear is that real barriers would have heavily disincentivized the truck from making such a turn in the first place. Commissioner Trottenberg (and Mayor de Blasio) are responsible for this city’s transit policy that places convenience for cars over NYers’ lives. Their offices are responsible for this death. NYC DOT must install real safety infrastructure now, before more of our neighbors are killed.”
Yesterday, a delivery worker was crushed & killed under a truck in Astoria.
He wasn't just killed by reckless driving, but by @NYC_DOT's reckless policies that incentivized that behavior.
Their failure to protect our bike lanes endangers all Astorians – bikers & others alike. pic.twitter.com/ksDNOwFggP
— Zohran Kwame Mamdani (@ZohranKMamdani) November 13, 2020
Liconia is at least the 205th person killed on New York City roads so far this year, up from 185 over the same period last year.
DOT did not respond to a request for comment, and a spokeswoman for Bud Light says the company is cooperating with authorities.
I bought a $10 roll of caution tape, moved a cone, spent 30 minutes in the rain… and already the Crescent Street #bike2QBB lane is safer than it was when someone died here this morning. Make me your @NYC_DOT Commissioner. pic.twitter.com/HEeOvw1LpH
— macartney (@macartney) November 12, 2020
This story has been updated with more information from police.