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E-Bike Rider Who Killed Chinatown Pedestrian Gets Only a Ticket

The electric Citi Bike rider who struck and killed a pedestrian in a chaotic Manhattan intersection has reportedly been given a mere red-light ticket for the death.

4:02 PM EDT on October 19, 2023


The moment of impact.

The electric Citi Bike rider who struck and killed a pedestrian in a chaotic Manhattan intersection has reportedly been given a mere red-light ticket for the death.

The Village Sun reported on Thursday that the cyclist, whose name has not been released, was given the ticket for killing beloved 69-year-old preschool teacher Priscilla Loke at the corner of Grand and Chrystie streets on Sept. 5. A law-enforcement official confirmed the traffic summons to Streetsblog, but could not provide additional information. The NYPD did not provide information, either.

It is unclear if there will be other tickets, such as failure to yield or failure to exercise due care, or increased charges.

As reported by Streetsblog and multiple outlets, the cyclist was moving northbound in the two-way bike lane on Chrystie Street and did strike Loke, who was standing just off the curb on the northeast corner of Chrystie and Grand streets. It was not clear from a video obtained by WCBS2 who had the light as Loke was preparing to cross the street. Loke died two days later at Bellevue Hospital.

Elizabeth OuYang, a friend of Loke, suggested that people who knew Loke were disappointed that the Citi Bike rider received only a traffic ticket.

"This is the remedy as far as the criminal justice system goes," said OuYang, a member of the Committee to Support Priscilla Loke.

But she also said that the crash itself showed the need to "look at this issue more comprehensively," pointing out that currently, bike rental companies like Citi Bike or delivery app companies such as DoorDash or UberEats are not held accountable for crashes caused by the people taking out bikes or making deliveries with the companies.

"There needs to be more accountability, say, if cyclists are making deliveries or people are renting electric Citi Bikes," she said. "What's in place now isn't enough to discourage this behavior. There's an explosion in e-bikes for a reason and they all bear responsibility."

She also pointed out a frustration shared with the broader street safety community that current law does not sufficiently punish hit-and-run drivers, whether in cars or other vehicles.

OuYang declined to provide the name of the cyclist, but said she and other friends of Loke "will be there at his next court date so he knows how beloved Priscilla was."

There has been a bike lane on Chrystie Street since at least 2009, but it was a painted lane on both sides of the street. In 2017, the roadway was redesigned so that there would be one two-way bike lane on the east side of the street and no painted lane on the west side of the street.

The two-way configuration made the roadway safer.

In 2014, for example, there were 135 reported crashes on Chrystie Street between Canal and Delancey streets, causing injuries to 20 people (four cyclists, 10 pedestrians and six motorists), according to city stats. Last year, there were only 31 reported crashes, injuring 17 people (six cyclists, five pedestrians and six motorists), according to the same stats.

The increase in cyclist injuries is partly attributed to the massive increase in cycling.

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