Cyclist killed, the 19th to die on NYC streets this year

A car crash killed a cyclist at the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L in Brooklyn on Aug. 11.
A car crash killed a cyclist at the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L in Brooklyn on Aug. 11. Photo Credit: Todd Maisel

Another New York City cyclist was killed on Sunday.

The cyclist, Jose Alzorriz, 52, was fatally struck after two drivers careened into each other at the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L in Midwood, according to police. He was the 19th cyclist to die in 2019 — already nine more than were killed in all of last year.

The chain collision in Brooklyn began around 12:30 p.m., when an 18-year-old driver in a silver Dodge sedan southbound on Coney Island Avenue ran a red light, according to police. The Dodge struck a blue Honda traveling east on Avenue L. The force of the collision was enough to send the Honda hurtling up onto the curb at the intersection.

As the Honda mounted the curb, it struck both Alzorriz and a 52-year-old pedestrian. Alzorriz was traveling north on Coney Island Avenue at the time and was slowing to stop at the red light just before the crosswalk, according to widely circulated dash camera footage of the crash. Alzorriz can be seen trying to shield himself from the Honda as it violently slams into him.

Alzorriz was taken to Coney Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The pedestrian and the 38-year-old driver of the Honda were transported to Maimonides Medical Center, where they were in stable condition.

The 18-year-old driver was taken into police custody at the scene of the crash.

"There is a big difference in what happens when a person on a bike disobeys a traffic signal and when someone in a speeding multi-ton motorized vehicle disobeys an traffic signal — and what we saw yesterday the devastating impact that can have," said Joe Cutrufo, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, who added that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature traffic safety program, Vision Zero, largely overlooks southern Brooklyn.

"People are uncomfortable on a street like Coney Island Avenue," he said. "It’s a street designed for cars, a street designed to make it easy for traveling in a vehicle at a high rate of speed and nothing else."

This year’s sharp uptick in cycling fatalities — with the majority occurring in Brooklyn — has alarmed elected officials and advocates who are pushing for the city to more aggressively redesign streets with the safety of cyclists and pedestrians in mind.

Last month, de Blasio announced a new “Green Wave” initiative to install bike lanes and other safety features at a faster rate — though some feel the administration is still not doing enough to promote alternative transportation to cars, like buses or bikes, or to crack down on dangerous driving behavior.