A woman was struck and killed by a driver in a cement truck while riding her bike in Brooklyn Monday afternoon, adding one more name to the death toll during a tragic year for city cyclists.
The biker, 29, was killed near the corner of Bushwick Avenue and Boerum Street, marking the 15th cycling death in the city this year, up from 10 fatalities in all of 2018.
The cyclist was heading north on Bushwick Avenue at around 12:19 p.m. when she was hit while the truck was heading east, according to police.
The driver, 70, remained on the scene. No arrests have been made and an investigation is ongoing. The police are withholding the name of the victim pending family notification. EMS declared her dead at the scene.
It was the second cyclist fatality in Brooklyn since Thursday, when Ernest Askew, 54, was killed by a teenage driver while riding through Brownsville. And it was the third biker killed in the city since last Monday, when delivery cyclist Robyn Hightman was struck by a box truck driver in Manhattan’s Flatiron area.
The rise in cycling deaths has both devastated and enraged the bike community and advocates who believe the city is not doing enough to improve safety on city streets. Cycling injuries are also on the rise in 2019, increasing 9.2 percent in the first five months of the year, compared to the same time last year. There were 1,455 cyclist injuries recorded through May of 2019 and 1,333 documented through May of last year, according to DOT data.
“When you’re on a bike on the street in New York, six inches could be the difference between brushing yourself off or getting killed,” said Jon Orcutt, a spokesman at Bike NYC. “When you have more cyclists getting hit, it’s not surprising that you’ll have more deaths.”
“We are very supportive of the work the city does each year, but city street redesign really needs to increase in pace,” Orcutt added.
Activists and elected officials held a vigil on Monday for Askew, near the scene of his death at Sutter Avenue at Chester Street.
“Vision Zero cannot just be a bumper sticker. It has to be a reality,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Cycling advocate Courtney Williams said she empathized with communities concerned that bike lanes may be a sign of gentrification, but that framing overlooks the larger picture.
“The pattern happens that way not because of bike lanes, but because of redevelopment plans elected officials and real estate made a long time ago,” Williams said. “Every street in all parts of New York City should have bike lanes because that’s what’s right.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement he directed the NYPD to ramp up enforcement on dangerous driving conditions, such as parking in bike lanes.
“We are seeing a dangerous surge in cyclist deaths on our streets, and we are taking action,” de Blasio said. “I have charged the Department of Transportation with developing a new cyclist safety plan to make biking in our city safer. No loss of life on our streets is acceptable.”