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Moped Rider Killed in Queens Adds to Mounting Toll in Deadliest Year Since Vision Zero

The chaotic intersection where a scooter rider was killed by the driver of a yellow school bus on Thursday. Photo: Google maps

A moped rider died Thursday after being struck by a school bus driver at a dangerous intersection in Queens, police said — adding another lost life to what is on track to be the deadliest year for traffic violence since 2014.

The 54-year-old yellow bus driver, who was not identified, was headed eastbound on Queens Boulevard in the right lane of the inner roadway at about 5:20 pm when he crossed Jackson Avenue with the green light and struck the 43-year-old moped rider who was traversing the chaotic area southbound on Jackson Avenue “against the red light," according to NYPD — whose statement effectively blamed the deceased for his own death.

The impact of the collision was so intense it knocked the victim off of the moped and onto the ground, according to one witness.

According to one witness, who characterized the vehicle as a “motorcycle,” the impact knocked the rider to the ground.

“The driver hit the person on the motorcycle. The motorcycle was crushed and he was thrown away from it,” Oliver Zhou, who lives near the intersection, told the Daily News. “

"The guy was unconscious on the ground. He was bleeding, but he was still alive.”

Witnesses observed the 54-year-old driver taking a sobriety test, which police would not confirm, the Daily News said. Photos captured by the newspaper at the scene showed the mangled moped beneath the bus's front wheels as cyclists rode by looking on in horror.

The corner of Queens Boulevard and Jackson Avenue that was the site of the deadly crash is a jumble of multi-lane roadways beneath elevated train tracks, which contributing to reduced visibility. The corner has seen 103 crashes since 2020, causing 47 injuries — including to 10 to cyclists, four to pedestrians, and 33 to motor vehicle occupants, according to city stats compiled by CrashMapper.

This year has been particularly bloody for New York in terms of traffic violence, with the highest number of cyclists killed since the city started keeping record. In just the first four months of this year, 11 cyclists have been killed. Just two cyclists had died as of this time last year, according to figures from the Department of Transportation.

The number of people killed on motorized devices like scooters and mopeds, which DOT characterizes as “other motorized," is also on track to set a new record, though officials only began compiling that stat in 2021.

Five riders of non-e-bike motorized devices have been killed so far this year, according to city stats — compared to three as of this data 2022 and just one as of this date in 2021.

Council Member Julie Won (D-Long Island City) called the fatal crash "another senseless death" that could have been prevented with better street design and traffic calming measures. She called on the Department of Transportation to take action to make the area safer for all street users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and moped riders.

"(DOT) must take immediate action to redesign this intersection to prevent further injuries and death from happening," Won tweeted on Friday.

Correction: This story initially referred to the victim's vehicle as a "scooter," citing NYPD. The vehicle was in fact a moped or motorcycle, based on photos and witnesses. For definition of all of these vehicles, check out Streetsblog's Guide to Micro-mobility.

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