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Hit-and-Run

SEE IT: Hit-and-Run Driver With Fake Plate Seriously Injures Cyclist

The 5 p.m. crash occurred at Flushing and Waverly avenue near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Photo: Mark Agger|

The moment of impact.

A ghost car driver slammed into a bicyclist in Brooklyn on Monday — then sped off as the victim writhed in pain on the street.

According to police, the 5 p.m. crash occurred at Flushing and Waverly avenue near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Cyclist Tim Bascom, 64, was pedaling eastbound on Flushing when an impatient driver, stuck in westbound traffic, abruptly turned left onto Waverly and struck him violently (warning: Graphic video and sound below):

Video: Mark Agger

A witness provided police with the license plate number on the back of the silver sedan, but police told Streetsblog that the number was not associated with any vehicle.

There have been no arrests, a police spokesperson added. Cops will be able to recognize the car by the new damage on the vehicle after the crash, including a new front end dent and a broken side-view mirror.

Bascom said on Wednesday that he's still sore — both physically and spiritually.

"I don't have any broken bones, but I'm hurt," he said. "And I'm afraid to get back on the bike. I cried when I saw the video."

Bascom said he was in the painted lane on the south side of Flushing Avenue because he was about to make the next turn onto Washington Avenue at the end of a 30-mile cycling day.

"This driver hit me out of the blue," he said. "I couldn't even tell you what kind of car it was. My shoulder hit his windshield or maybe his side view mirror, and if you look at the video, I ended so far up the road."

He said that the Department of Transportation's efforts to make the roads safer still leave huge gaps due to driver recklessness.

"It's like the Wild West out there with the crazy drivers," he said. "It's like the WC Field's movie, 'Roadhog.' It's insane — and it's getting worse. It's like the drivers are pissed off because of the bike lanes."

Bascom said it was the third time he's been hit by a driver.

Witness Mark Agger said he was amazed that Bascom was not more badly injured. He credited the car's low, downward-sloping nose, which tossed Bascom up onto the hood, rather than pushing him down onto the street. Studies show that blunt-fronted vehicles are connected to more and more severe injuries.

Studies on hit-and-run crashes offer less reason for optimism:

It is exceptionally rare for the NYPD to arrest hit-and-run drivers. According to the agency's annual hit-and-run report [auto download], in 2023, there were 39,685 reported crashes where a driver caused property damager or an injury, yet left the scene. In 39,310 of those cases, there was no arrest. Only 375 people — or 0.9 percent — were ever charged.

The NYPD does a better job of closing cases with injuries, likely because there is often a witness. But there are two ways of looking at this (both bad from the public safety angle):

In the first chart, we see that the NYPD is arresting drivers in a far lower percentage of cases in the post-pandemic era:

In another view, the agency is also failing to keep up with the staggering number of hit-and-run crashes with serious injuries:

The number of reported crashes on Flushing Avenue has been dropping over time, thanks in part to the installation of a protected bike lane a decade ago. But injuries to cyclists are common on the eastbound lanes, where the bike lane is merely paint. Last year, 13 cyclists were injured on the strip between Navy Street and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, according to city stats. Total reported crashes last year were 64, compared to 122 in 2015, a decline of nearly 50 percent.

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