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Cyclist Killed by Truck Driver on Dangerous Bronx Roadway

Cyclist Carlos Martinez was killed at this spot on Thursday. Cops blamed him, but didn’t mention the construction zone. Photo: Julianne Cuba

A truck driver killed a cyclist on a notoriously dangerous stretch of Bruckner Boulevard in the South Bronx on Thursday — a fatal crash that police initially blamed on the bike rider, but a Con Ed construction project was clearly the root cause.

According to police, Carlos Martinez, 53, was cycling on the highway-like roadway near E. 136th Street at around 12:55 p.m. when he "failed to properly navigate the roadway" and fell. Police said that the tow truck driver "was passing alongside the bicyclist, and the bicyclist fell under the front driver side tire of the truck [that] was being towed by the tow truck."

A note on the barricades claimed that the Con Ed work would be done by 11/20/21. Photo: Julianne Cuba
A note on the barricades claimed that the Con Ed work would be done by 11/20/21. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Telling Con Ed to knock this off could be your life. Photo: Julianne Cuba

The NYPD provided no additional details, not even the direction in which Martinez and the truck driver were traveling, but a witness told Streetsblog that the crash happened in the northbound lanes. And in the furthest right portion of the roadway, a Con Ed crew left barricades that narrowed the roadway considerably, making it likely that Martinez was squeezed by the passing truck. (We've reached out to Con Ed.)

A video of the crash shows that Martinez did not fall, but was squeezed by the truck driver, who was moving fast enough to overtake the cyclist.

The Daily News reported that the 62-year-old truck driver initially fled the crash, making it a hit-and-run, but the NYPD would not comment. Martinez, who lived in East Harlem, was taken to Lincoln Hospital, where he died, becoming the fourth cyclist killed so far this year, according to the Department of Transportation.

That short stretch of Bruckner Boulevard is dangerous even without Con Ed barriers. In 2019, the last year for which there are full statistics uninfluenced by the pandemic, there were 15 reported crashes at the single intersection of the northbound Bruckner Boulevard and E. 134th Street, according to city stats. That's one block from where an exit ramp of the expressway enters local streets.

"It's really so dangerous to cross here because the cars come down fast off the Bruckner Expressway," one witness told Streetsblog. "I was hit by a car on my scooter last year." She now says she crosses at a different intersection.

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