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Cyclist deaths in NYC: A month-by-month breakdown

More cyclists have died so far in 2019

More cyclists have died so far in 2019 than all of 2018.  Photo Credit: Vincent Barone

The number of cyclists who have died in traffic accidents in 2019 has already surpassed the number of cyclist fatalities in 2018. 

Transportation advocates say the 15 deaths — five more than all of last year — prove the city’s lack of safe infrastructure for cyclists and the failure of Vision Zero, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to have no traffic-related deaths by 2024.

“Every single one of these tragic losses was preventable,” the nonprofit Transportation Alternative said in a statement on July 1. The advocacy group called on de Blasio to task the Department of Transportation to create “an emergency response plan” and on City Council to pass a traffic safety bill. 

The group also organized a “mass die-in” with several other organizations to protest the spike in cyclist deaths. The demonstration will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Washington Square Park.

Scroll down for a timeline of the fatal accidents in the five boroughs this year, starting with the most recent. 

July 1, Brooklyn

A 28-year-old woman, identified as Devra Freelander, of Bushwick, was fatally hit by a Mack cement truck as she crossed the intersection of Boerum Street and Bushwick Avenue in Williamsburg at about 12:15 p.m. Video of the incident shows Freelander coming off the sidewalk along Bushwick Avenue, which had scaffolding on it, and getting hit at the intersection with Boerum Street. The driver of the truck remained at the scene and was not arrested.

June 27, Brooklyn

Ernest Askew, 57, was struck by a motorist in the intersection of Chester Street and Sutter Avenue in Brownsville at about 9 p.m. Askew, who lived blocks from where he was hit, was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The driver stayed at the scene and was not arrested. 

June 24, Manhattan

A bike messenger, identified as Robyn Hightman, 20, was hit by a Freightliner delivery truck driver traveling the same direction as her on Sixth Avenue, near 23rd Street, in the Flatiron District shortly after 9 a.m. Hightman was taken to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The driver initially left the scene but later returned and was issued five summonses.

June 9, Brooklyn

Mohammed Abdullah, 29, was riding an e-bike on Avenue D, near East 105th Street, in Canarsie, at about 10:40 p.m. when a woman driving a sedan at “a high rate of speed” lost control and hit him, police said. Abdullah, of East New York, was pronounced dead at an area hospital. 

The driver, identified as Treasure Liggins, 22, was charged with driving while intoxicated, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, among other charges.

May 15, Brooklyn

A 16-year-old boy, Yisroel Schwartz, was riding his bike on 17th Avenue, near 53rd Street, in Borough Park at about 5:40 p.m., when someone opened the door of a parked car in front of him. Schwartz, of Kensington, swerved to try to avoid it, but hit the door and fell to the ground, where he was fatally struck by a car. The drivers stayed at the scene and were not arrested.

May 12, Brooklyn

Robert Sommer, 29, was struck by the driver of an SUV as he tried to cross Avenue U at the intersection with East 33rd Street in Marine Park at about 8:20 p.m. Sommer, of Schuylerville, New York, was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The driver remained at the scene and was not arrested.

May 11, Brooklyn 

Kenichi Nakagawa, 22, was hit by the driver of a minivan at the intersection of Dean Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Crown Heights shortly before 5:30 p.m. Nakagawa, of Bed-Stuy, ran a red light, according to police. He was taken to an area hospital, where he died three days later. The driver of the minivan stayed at the scene and was not arrested.

April 27, Manhattan

Victor Ang, 74, was riding a CitiBike on 11th Avenue, near West 30th Street, in Chelsea at about 6:40 p.m. when the driver of a UPS truck, traveling in the same lane, hit him. Ang, of Leona, New Jersey, was taken to an area hospital and died more than a month later on June 4. The UPS driver remained at the scene and was not arrested.

April 17, Brooklyn

Pedro Tepozteco, 26, was riding a bike on 47th Street, near 17th Avenue in Borough Park at about 5:30 p.m., and as the driver of a box truck was passing him, he fell into the side of the truck and was hit by the rear tires, police said. Tepozteco, of Sunset Park, was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The driver of the truck remained at the scene and was not arrested.

March 14, Queens

Robert Spencer, 53, was hit by the driver of a sedan at about 7:50 a.m. in the intersection of Borden and Second avenues in Long Island City. Spencer, who lived blocks from where he was hit, was taken to an area hospital and pronounced dead. The driver stayed at the scene and was not arrested. 

Feb. 28, Brooklyn

A 25-year-old woman, Aurilia Lawrence, of Paducah, Kentucky, was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver on Broadway, near Rodney Street, in Williamsburg at about 11:30 p.m. The vehicle was described as “a grey or silver tanker-type vehicle,” according to police. 

Feb. 4, Manhattan

Joseph Chiam, 72, was struck by a hit-and-run driver in a Western Star truck in the intersection of Eighth Avenue and West 45th Street in midtown shortly before 6 a.m. Chiam, of the East Village, was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The driver, Kenneth Jackson, 56, was later found and charged with failure to yield to a bicyclist and failure to use due care.

Jan. 26, Brooklyn

Susan Moses, 63, collided with an SUV on Kings Highway, near Van Sicklen Street, in Gravesend at about 6:50 p.m. Moses, who lived two blocks from where she was hit, was taken to an area hospital and died on Feb. 2. The driver stayed at the scene and was not arrested.

Jan. 4, Brooklyn

Hector Ayala Jr., 41, was struck by the driver of a van at the intersection of Linden Boulevard and Crescent Street in East New York shortly before 4 a.m. Ayala, who lived less than a block from where he was hit, died at an area hospital. The driver of the van remained at the scene and was not arrested.

Jan. 1, Brooklyn

A 26-year-old man, identified as Hugo Alexander Sinto Garcia, was riding an e-bike on Third Avenue, near 28th Street, in Sunset Park, at about 6 a.m. when someone opened the door of a taxi in front of him. He hit the door and fell into a lane of traffic, where he was hit by the driver of a sedan. Garcia, who lived blocks from where he was struck, was taken to an area hospital and was pronounced dead. The drivers stayed at the scene and were not arrested.

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