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UPDATE: Cyclist Killed by Hit-and-Run Trucker in Industrial Williamsburg

11:19 AM EST on March 10, 2023

The Morgan Avenue “bike lane” is notoriously dangerous. Photo: Google

A 56-year-old man on a bicycle was hit and killed by a truck driver in Williamsburg late last night — and cops are now searching for the driver who fled.

According to police, Eugene Schroeder was riding southbound in the painted bike lane on Morgan Avenue at around 11:30 p.m. and stopped at a stop sign at Johnson Avenue. The driver of the unidentified vehicle was paralleling Schroeder and turned right onto Johnson Avenue, cutting off the cyclist and striking him, causing severe head trauma.

The driver of the vehicle, which police said was likely a truck, fled. Schroeder was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he died. He's the eighth cyclist to be killed this year, according to the Department of Transportation. At this point last year, two cyclists had been killed.

Schroeder lived nearby on Wilson Avenue. The area of East Williamsburg where Schroeder was hit is largely industrial, though people have been increasingly moving into the area — so much so that in 2019, then-Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg cited gentrification in industrial zones as a cause of rising cyclist deaths. A few months later, a cyclist was killed in a horrific crash by a truck driver who made an illegal U-turn on Vandervoort Avenue near Calhoun Street.

Whether gentrification or simply reckless driving is to blame, the area around Thursday night's crash scene is certainly not getting safer. Consider these crash numbers over three three-year periods:

    • Between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2016, there were 73 reported crashes in and around the intersection of Morgan and Johnson avenues, injuring four cyclists and 12 motorists, according to city statistics.
    • From 2017 through 2019, the number of reported crashes rose to 89, injuring six cyclists, four pedestrians and 11 motorists.
    • From 2020 through 2022, the number of reported crashes declined (the NYPD stopped responding to non-injury crashes in 2020), but the number of injuries to cyclists rose to eight.

The painted bike lane was installed in 2019, but no other significant changes were made to the area.

Advocates called on the city to do more.

“We are heartbroken after a bike rider was struck and killed on a known-dangerous road in East Williamsburg," said Elizabeth Adams, the senior director of Advocacy & Organizing at Transportation Alternatives. “Our streets must be safe for everyone who uses them. Paint is not protection — especially from large trucks. Crashes like [this] are preventable, which is why Brooklyn community members have been calling for real change in this area. We must build protected bike lanes on Morgan Avenue now, or the city’s negligence will lead to further harm and injury.”

The group pointed out that fewer than 2 percent of street miles in Council District 34 have a protected bike lane, according to a mapping tool created by the organization. The 90th Precinct, where Schroeder was killed, is the third most dangerous precinct for pedestrians and cyclists in the city, according to city stats mapped by Crashmapper.

In 2022, the precinct, which covers from the East River to the Queens border, there were a whopping 1,966 reported crashes last year, or 5.4 per day. Those crashes injured 170 cyclists, 145 pedestrians and 454 motorists.

Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT

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