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Wife of Killed Cyclist Adam Uster: ‘Mayor Adams Doesn’t Care If It’s Safe to Ride a Bike in NYC’

As cyclists prepare to ride in protest from Union Square to City Hall on Wednesday, Frédérique Uster-Hug blames the mayor for the chaos on our roads.

Adam Uster was in the Franklin Avenue bike lane when a truck driver fatally crushed him.

Frédérique Uster-Hug

I lost my husband, Adam, this May. He was riding his bike home from the store, its cargo hold filled with groceries for myself and our two daughters, and the driver of a truck ran him over.

He was in the bike lane — marked with white paint, but without any real physical protection from cars, let alone trucks. Suddenly, the driver turned right, first crushing the bike trailer and then Adam himself under the truck's rear wheels and thousands of pounds of weight. You can do everything right as a biker on our roads, and still not come home.

I feel lucky that I was able to be with Adam just minutes after the crash. I rode with him in the ambulance and sat with him in the hospital, and I spent our last hours together talking to him and giving him comfort. I feel lucky that he was pulling groceries and not our kids in the trailer that got crushed.

Adam and I were both avid bikers, biking from Brooklyn to Midtown multiple times a week. We exchanged notes on the best routes, particularly difficult or dangerous passages. “They’re trying to kill us!” we’d say to each other repeatedly as we biked by drivers behaving recklessly or just not paying attention. We joked that with a car, anyone can get away with murder.

We felt unseen — the drivers don't understand how vulnerable we are, how quickly one wrong move could kill us. Too many car drivers on our commutes saw us just as nuisances, slowing them down or being in their way. They don't see us humans on bikes trying to survive a city built to kill them. 

Biking is something Adam and I shared – but it’s not something I will give up after his death. I regularly bike eight miles from our home to work, making the trip faster than I would on the subway. I see more and more families bringing their children to school by bike. I imagine a future where our streets are safe, our neighborhoods are clean, and our air is safe to breathe. 

I know that biking is so often the quickest, easiest, greenest, and even most fun way to get around New York City — but Mayor Adams doesn’t care if it’s safe. He doesn’t care if families are afraid to bring their children to school. He doesn’t care if bike lanes are filled with double-parked cars. He doesn’t care if trucks kill even more of us. If he did, he’d stop talking about it and actually build the infrastructure that keeps us safe. 

Bike riders are in a unique position on our streets. We’re not on the sidewalk or in a moving box with safety features, but exposed and in traffic. We are on the front lines when it comes to street safety, but everyone on our roads should be fighting to make them safer. Road safety improvements protect us all, and we need everyone to commit to driving safely, parking legally, and protecting the most vulnerable on our streets: bike riders and pedestrians. Safe streets will also get some drivers out of their cars and onto bikes.

All stats above are through Oct. 4 of each calendar year.Chart: DOT

Adam’s death was completely preventable. No one else should die. It’s past time for our city’s leaders to make choices and changes today that will protect the hundreds of thousands of other bikers just like Adam. Delaying, capitulating, and scrapping essential street safety projects will only ensure one thing: more New Yorkers will die, and blood will be on the mayor’s hands. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 11, I’ll be joining hundreds of New Yorkers from every borough in the northeast end of Union Square at 6 p.m. We’ll ride together to City Hall to demand Mayor Adams and the City Council end cyclist deaths in New York City.

I’ll be there for Adam, myself, our children, you, and every other bike rider in New York City simply trying to make it back home — I hope you’ll join me.

For details about Wednesday's ride, click the embedded tweet below or this link:

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