Elected officials and community activists gathered Monday in Sunset Park to pay respects to a 14-year-old immigrant who was killed riding his bicycle days before.
A white ghost bike was installed on Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 24th streets where Edwin Ajacalon was killed Saturday by a driver in a gray 2017 BMW sedan.
The somber crowd said the death of the Guatemalan, who was working as a delivery boy, could have been avoided and called on the state and the city to create more protections for pedestrians.
“We cannot continue to keep putting up white ghost bikes,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Ajacalon’s parents were working to have his body sent back to Guatemala for burial, according to officials.
Sunset Park residents were shocked by the death.
“We’re a neighborhood of immigrants and we all relate to that struggle of helping your relatives back home,” said Ravika Rajkishun, 36. “I’m not surprised so many people came out.”
The NYPD is investigating whether the driver, who police said is 19 or 20 years old, was speeding at the time.
Paul Steely White, executive director of nonprofit Transportation Alternatives, said there isn’t enough enforcement of the traffic laws. “The reason these injuries occur is because drivers are dangerously reckless,” he said.
He, Adams and City Councilman Carlos Menchaca called on the state to install more speed cameras at accident-prone intersections in Brooklyn.
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton said he would push his colleagues for support as he has seen the traffic dangers first-hand. “Many times when I cross the street, I’m hesitant,” he said.
The driver was not arrested, police said. There were passengers in the car but none of them were injured, authorities said.