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Cyclist Dies of Wounds after SUV Driver Hits Him — 22nd This Year

11:22 AM EST on November 15, 2020

The crash scene, from the driver’s perspective. Photo: Google

Police are, once again, blaming the victim of a fatal bicycle crash for his own death.

Juan Tiu-Caxaj, 22, was struck by the driver of a unspecified car on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 1 a.m. as he cycled north on Autumn Avenue, police said on Sunday. The driver was headed westbound on Fulton Street, but, according to police, Tiu-Caxaj "entered the intersection without stopping at the stop sign."

It is unclear how police determined that. The driver remained on the scene and may, in fact, be the lone witness to the crash.

Tiu-Caxaj was taken to Jamaica Medical Center with head trauma and died on Nov. 14, police said. The Collision Investigation Squad is continuing to investigate, police added. Tiu-Caxaj is the 22nd cyclist to die so far this year, a number that puts the city on pace for a repeat of last year's bloodiest year for cyclists, when 29 died.

The NYPD announced the latest death on World Day of Remembrance for Road Violence Victims, which honors those who have been killed by drivers and because of poorly designed roads worldwide. In New York, activists with Families for Safe Streets will gather at noon at City Hall for a memorial event.

Tiu-Caxaj's death was announced on the same day that police reported the death of a Bronx pedestrian. Sonia Sotomayor, 58, was killed by a driver near the intersection of East 180th Street and Southern Boulevard on Saturday at around 7 p.m.

Police released no details except that the driver remained on the scene and was not charged.

Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris called both deaths eminently "preventable."

"With more than 210 people killed in traffic violence so far, 2020 is projected to have the most traffic deaths of any year during Mayor de Blasio’s time in office," Harris said, adding that both crashes "occurred in parts of the city neglected during Mayor de Blasio’s tenure and Vision Zero program."

"The location in East New York is a Vision Zero Priority Area, [but] the area lacks the type of protected bike lane infrastructure that has been proven to save lives elsewhere in the city," Harris said, pointing out that eight of the 22 cyclist fatalities this year occurred in the Bronx. "Yet only three percent of the city’s total protected bike lane mileage is in the Bronx, compared to about 50 percent in Manhattan."

Harris added:

Rather than fight to save human lives and reverse two years of growing deaths from traffic violence, the mayor has slashed the budgets for life-saving programs like Vision Zero, the Green Wave Plan and delayed the roll-out of the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program and the Streets Master Plan. Instead of doing more to save lives, Mayor de Blasio is doing less.

The Department of Transportation is capable of delivering safe streets, but without mayoral leadership that prioritizes human life over the convenience of drivers, New Yorkers will continue to die from traffic violence.

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