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Cycling Advocate Killed By Trucker on Dangerous Brooklyn Street; Last Words from Mother: ‘Be Safe’

1:13 PM EDT on May 3, 2023

Adam Uster was killed on Monday in Brooklyn.

A cycling activist and member of Transportation Alternatives was killed while biking home from a Brooklyn grocery store on a dangerous street on Monday, according to his family and police.

Thirty-nine-year-old Adam Uster was heading home from Wegmans with his bike trailer filled with groceries — set for hosting a dinner with his wife Frederique for friends and neighbors on Friday — when he was struck by the driver of a flatbed truck at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Lexington Avenue at about 11:30 a.m. Police said Uster was heading southbound in the unprotected bike lane on Franklin Avenue when the trucker made a right turn onto Lexington Avenue, crushing Uster.

Police said the driver remained on the scene and was not issued any tickets or summonses,  but that the investigation remains ongoing.

Adam Uster on a trip to Venice in 2012. Photo: Uster family
Adam Uster on a trip to Venice in 2012. Photo: Uster family

“It was a passion of Adam’s and of Frederique’s, the whole biking movement and what the organization represented, they were big supporters,” said his mother, Annie Goldner, who was visiting her son at the time from Oregon. “The last thing I said to him was, ‘Be safe.’ He went out the door, took his bike, went to Wegmans.”

Goldner added that Uster had a passion for photography when he wasn’t working his day job as a construction consultant, and even took photos of his mother with his daughters in the backyard before the two of them walked the girls to school — Erika will be three in August, and Marceline will be six in December. The family was set to ride the Five Boro Bike Tour on Sunday.

“He loves working with his hands, loves tools and creating things.” she said. “He was just the most special person.”

Uster was conscious, though in excruciating pain, when his wife and paramedics arrived at the scene, according to his mother, who said he was even able to say his daughters’ names. He was then rushed to Methodist Hospital, where he underwent surgery to stop the bleeding, but could not be saved.

“My daughter-in-law and I clung together, we just sobbed,” said Goldner.

Uster is now the 13th cyclist to die on the streets of New York City so far this year — the highest death toll since the start of Vision Zero in 2014. Advocates, which would have included Uster, say the city must do more to keep cyclists like him safe, including by building out a network of protected bike lanes and putting pressure on Albany to pass “Sammy’s Law” — legislation named after 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein, who was killed by a reckless driver in Brooklyn in 2013, which would allow New York City to set speed limits below 25 miles per hour.

“We are devastated to learn that Adam Uster; a longtime biker, community member, and TA member; was killed by a truck driver in Brooklyn. We demand immediate action from our leaders to keep New Yorkers safe — the city must build essential biking infrastructure and Albany must pass Sammy’s Law, to give New York City control of its own speed limits," said Danny Harris, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

Franklin Avenue where Uster was killed is a known dangerous corridor. In the less-than-a-mile stretch between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street, there have been 111 total reported crashes since 2020, causing one pedestrian fatality and injuries to 15 cyclists, 14 pedestrians and 33 motorists, according to city data compiled by Crash Mapper. And the number of cyclists injured so far this year has jumped 16 percent compared to last year, according to the NYPD.

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