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Teen Cyclist Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver in Queens; 11th to Die this Year

12:39 PM EDT on April 11, 2023

There is just an unprotected bike lane at 21st Street, which the city designates as a Vision Zero priority corridor. Photo: Google

A hit-and-run driver was arrested for fatally striking a teenage cyclist in Queens on Monday night — severing the electric Citi Bike virtually in half — the latest horrifying death in a year with the highest number of killed bike riders at the start of any year in the modern record.

Cops said a BMW SUV driver was heading south on 21st Street when he struck the 16-year-old boy going north at the intersection of 21st Avenue in Astoria just after 9:30 p.m., before fleeing the scene and abandoning the vehicle a few blocks away.

Paramedics brought the victim, Astoria resident Jaydan McLaurin, to Harlem Hospital where he died.

Police were able to track down the driver, 18-year-old Long Islander Yaser Ibrahim, and charged him with leaving the scene, driving without a license, and having a tinted windshield, according to NYPD.

The driver slammed into the teen with such impact that the gray rental e-bike was shorn, according to photos in the New York Post.

McLaurin was the 11th cyclist to die in the city in 2023, after a record-shattering 10 people on bikes had died as of late last week. That tally was by far the highest for that period in a decade.

The 11 cyclist deaths is nearly twice the next-closest year in 2019, when six people had died by this point in the year.

Cyclist injuries are also up nearly 20 percent so far this year citywide, and 40 percent in Queens, with hotspots in the borough's northwestern neighborhoods like Astoria and Sunnyside, according to police data. In fact, the 114th Precinct where the crash occurred, leads the borough with the most bike injuries this year — 28. The next closest precinct had 18.

Another Citi Bike rider, 62-year-old local Tamara Chuchi Kao, was killed by a cement truck driver in Astoria at 24th Avenue and 29th Street in January. She was the fourth cyclist to be killed in that neighborhood in less than three years.

There are very few protected bike lanes (shown in green) in the area of the crash. Map: DOT
There are very few protected bike lanes (shown in green) in the area of the crash. Map: DOT

The northern neighborhoods largely lack protected bike lanes, with just one such path going around Astoria's northern edges along Shore Boulevard and 20th Avenue.

The scene of Monday night's crash, 21st Street, is a Vision Zero priority corridor, a designation the Department of Transportation gives to roads with high rates of people killed or seriously injured in traffic violence. It only has an unprotected painted bike lane.

There have been 450 crashes so far this year in Queens Community Board 1, which comprises Astoria. The collisions — roughly five per day — have injured 212 people, including 132 in cars, 53 on foot, and 27 cyclists, and another two people have died.

Advocates and pols called on the city to build out safer streets to prevent more mayhem, especially as DOT has failed to meet its legal requirements to expand bike and bus lane infrastructure last year.

"These are preventable tragedies. Mayor Adams and [DOT] Commissioner [Ydanis] Rodriguez must invest in building safe streets, especially on known-dangerous corridors. We cannot afford to fall further behind on the NYC Streets Plan’s legal requirements," said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris.

Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT

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