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SEE IT: Truck Driver Kills a Woman on a Bike on the Upper East Side

9:46 AM EDT on July 27, 2022

Carling Mott, a vibrant Upper East Side woman, was killed by a truck driver on 85th Street — a street where the local Community Board 8 had voted down a bike lane in 2016. On Wednesday night CB voted in favor of protected lanes on 85th Street and others on the UES. Photo: Upper East Site (main); Instagram (inset)

A truck driver struck and killed a Citi Bike rider on the Upper East Side on Tuesday, with the cops putting out a preliminary report that blamed the victim.

According to police, Carling Mott, 28, was cycling westbound along East 85th Street at around 10:50 a.m. and "fell" off the pedal-assist bike at the intersection of Madison Avenue. That's when she was hit by the driver of the 2017 Great Dane tractor-trailer, which was also traveling westbound. The truck had stopped at a traffic light, leaving very little room against a line of parked cars. The driver had just started moving at the green signal when Mott rode between the truck and the cars.

Video obtained by Streetsblog is inconclusive about whether Mott fell independently of being struck by the truck driver.

Mott, who lived on East 84th Street, was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she died. The truck driver remained on the scene and was not charged, though a sign on the entrance to the block clearly says, "Passenger cars only," though the DOT said that the sign refers to Park Avenue, not the side street. The crash and some additional details were initially covered by Upper East Site.

Photo: Noah Martz
Most drivers would think this sign applies to the roadway to the right, but DOT says it applies to Park Avenue. Photo: Noah Martz
Photo: Noah Martz

A photo provided by Upper East Site shows the spot where Mott was killed. There appears to be a pothole or other road defect in the narrow space through which she hoped to squeeze:

Photo: Upper East Site
Photo: Upper East Site
Photo: Upper East Site

East 85th Street feeds into one of the transverses across Central Park. Many cyclists use the transverses, even though they are not safe because of car and bus traffic. Dr. Daniel Cammerman was killed on a Citi Bike on the 96th Street transverse in late 2019.

Mott is the 12th cyclist killed so far this year. One week ago, Wenntwen Porgho was killed in the Bronx by a reckless driver who was not charged.

After the latest crash, Transportation Alternatives put out a statement slamming the city for failing to make roadways safe for cyclists.

“Another New Yorker is dead while trying to ride a bicycle on the Upper East Side," said the group's executive director, Danny Harris. "Despite decades of advocacy, New York City has failed to build adequate crosstown protected bike lanes in this neighborhood. The absence of safe biking infrastructure on the Upper East Side is deadly.”

Cross-town cycling is still dangerous because there are no protected lanes.
Cross-town cycling is still dangerous because there are no protected lanes.
Cross-town cycling is still dangerous because there are no protected lanes.

There are no protected cross-town bike lanes on the Upper East Side (or Upper West Side, for that matter), as the city's own bike map (left) shows. The Department of Transportation proposed in 2016 to install a painted lane on East 85th Street, but it was shot down by the area's community board, which was lobbied hard by private school parents ... and Woody Allen.

As a result, crashes are more common than cyclists want. This year in the 19th Precinct, which covers the Upper East Side between just 59th and 96th streets, there have been 769 reported crashes, or nearly four per day, injuring 65 cyclists, killing two, according to city statistics.

Transportation Alternatives said that City Council District 4, which includes the Upper East Side, is the second-most dangerous district for people biking over the past two full years, with 455 cyclist injuries three fatalities.

Citi Bike did not initially respond to a request for comment.

In the wake of the crash, Council Member Keith Powers called for immediate safety improvements, including the installation of protected bike lanes:

A spokesman for the DOT, Vin Barone, did not specifically address the city's decision to not put in a painted bike lane on East 85th Street, nor did he address the immediacy of Powers's demand.

"Any loss of life on our streets is unacceptable," Barone said. "Our heartfelt thoughts are with the family of the victim of this deadly crash. We are reviewing the street design as part of the crash investigation."

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