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Thursday’s Headlines: Honoring Adam Uster Edition

12:03 AM EDT on May 11, 2023

Frederique Uster-Hug lays flowers down for her husband Adam Uster, who was killed on May 1 by a truck driver at the corner of Franklin and Lexington Avenues. Photo: Julianne Cuba

Bike for me, bike for you, bike for everyone

Family and friends of 39-year-old Adam Uster, who was killed by a truck driver on May 1 at a notoriously dangerous Bedford-Stuyvesant intersection, gathered on Wednesday evening at the corner where he was struck to honor his life by lighting candles, laying down flowers, installing a ghost bike — and dancing to a song that his wife says captures who he was, Bike Rider by Mungo's Hi Fi.

“It feels like an anthem for all bikers and the lyrics encapsulate Adam’s view on riding a bike in the city,” said Frederique Uster-Hug, standing at the corner of Franklin and Lexington avenues, as dozens of cyclists pedaled past the same intersection. "Adam was a biker through and through."

According to police and family, Uster was heading home from Wegman's with his bike trailer filled with groceries when he was struck by the driver of a flatbed truck. Video of the fatal crash shows that Uster was heading southbound in the unprotected bike lane when the trucker made an abrupt right turn, without signaling, hitting and then crushing him. Police did not charge the driver, nor release his name.

In the wake of Uster’s death, pols, family, friends, and advocates have been calling on the city to do a better job of protecting cyclists on Franklin Avenue, and throughout the city. On the less-than-a-mile stretch of Franklin Avenue between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street, there have been 111 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. Uster, a father of two, was the 13th cyclist to die on the streets of New York City so far this year — the highest death toll at this point in the year since the start of Vision Zero in 2014.

“Please give me the strength and give my girls the strength to continue biking, to continue enjoying life like Adam would have,” said Uster-Hug, a native of Switzerland who, like her husband was, is a member of Transportation Alternatives. “Give the politicians and advocates the strength to continue making the city streets safer.”

Council Member Crystal Hudson (D-Bed-Stuy), who was at the vigil, told Streetsblog last week that Uster’s life could have been saved had Franklin Avenue had a protected bike lane.

“On this particular corridor where we’ve just seen so much vehicular violence, I think definitely having a protected bike lane would help save lives,” said Hudson. “I hope his death does not go in vain.”

In other news from an otherwise slow day on the livable streets front:

    • Let's expand Fair Fares, Mr. Mayor. (NYDN)
    • It looks like AOC reads Streetsblog. (NY Post)
    • It's time for the pee-sniffing elevator tech. (The City)
    • The Times gave a rave to Henry Grabar's "Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World."
    • From the assignment desk: Transportation Alternatives and other advocates will rally at City Hall at 9:30 a.m. today in support of Sammy's Law. On hand will be Council Member Jen Gutierrez, who is sponsoring a bill to send a home rule message to Albany legislators. So we'll be looking to see if Council leadership joins Gutierrez

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