Bicyclist Injured in Sunset Park Hit-and-Run

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Bicyclist struck by hit-and-run driver at Fourth Avenue and 49h Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

SUNSET PARK – A Sunset Park bicycle rider was injured Saturday on Fourth Avenue at the intersection of 49th Street by what police from the 72nd Precinct at the scene described as a hit-and-run driver.

This incident comes as 19 people have been killed and many more injured in crashes with vehicles throughout the city. Only a week before, a woman was struck and killed by a truck on Third Avenue, just blocks from this latest incident.

This latest crash occurred at 11:30 a.m. as the man, who is unidentified, was riding his bike northbound on Fourth Avenue, on the narrow roadway under construction.

At 49th Street, he was struck by the driver of an unidentified vehicle, knocking the man to the ground. The driver sped away. The bicyclist was taken to NYY Langone Brooklyn with non-life threatening injuries.

Further information on the crash could not be obtained from the police by press time as the 72nd Precinct officers said the information would have to be received from the office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information. A detective who answered the phone said that “if the crash was not a CIS, then it is a minor occurrence and we don’t have that information.” Further, the detective said, “We get hundreds of requests and I don’t have time for that.” He hung up.

Emergency Medical Technician helps the injured bicycle rider who was laying on the ground on Fourth Avenue after he was hit by a hit-and-run driver on Saturday. Todd Masiel/Bklyner

On July 29, Em Samolewicz, 30, was hit by a truck while riding north on Third Avenue at 35th Street. She was dead at the scene. On July 16 on Fifth Avenue, a cyclist was struck by a truck and killed. On July 1, 28-year-old Devra Freelander was struck and killed by the driver of a cement truck in Williamsburg. A total of 10 people were killed last year in the entire city – so far 14 of the 19 killed this year have been in Brooklyn.

Bike advocates say Sunset Park is a very difficult place to ride a bicycle, with almost no bicycle lanes. Fourth Avenue is especially difficult as work is being done to the underground train tunnels and stations. Third Avenue has no bike lanes and has most of the traffic of vehicles commuting into downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan, spilling from the Gowanus Expressway.

At the end of July hundreds of bicycling activists staged a die-in at Washington Square Park in Manhattan, demanding that Mayor de Blasio do more to prevent bicycling deaths.

In published reports, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) called on the de Blasio administration to do an “assessment” of 3rd Avenue (where the last death in Sunset Park occurred) in order to prevent tragedies. He also is seeking bicycle lanes for all of Sunset Park to make bicycling safer.

The city is struggling to find solutions. In response to the growing number of deaths, the city unveiled a five-year “Green Wave” program last month that will increase the number of bike lanes and other bike-friendly street treatments.

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Todd Maisel
Todd Maisel is an award-winning photographer with more than 35-years, specializing in breaking news. He currently serves as vice president of the New York Press Photographers. He was honored by the National Press Photographers Association and the Uniform Firefighters Association for saving the life of a firefighter he found in debris after the collapse of the World Trade Center, assisting in the rescue of an injured photographer, and for extensive coverage of the attack. Maisel is a graduate of NYU School of Journalism.
Comment policy

5 COMMENTS

  1. This comment in no way meant to be accusatory, but cyclists have to take responsibility for their reckless behavior while riding through traffic. As I sit on the crosstown bus and look out of the window, I cringe at the risks taken by many cyclists. No one is invincible. Think twice before squeeze between two moving buses.

  2. Whitney Devlin. Do not blame the person on the bike. They are the victims being killed. It is the people driving the vehicles that kill the bikers not the other way around. I bike I see it. The traffic laws are not being enforced. People are speeding. Speed limits need to be lowered and enforced especially for large vehicles. Tractor trailers should not be on local residential streets. Not only are they dangerous to bikers and pedestrians they tear up the streets causing giant pot holes which makes it more dangerous for everyone including vehicle drivers. People do not respect bikers. Every other street vehicles are parked in the bike lane. I even see police cars parked in those lanes. I see police harass bikers more than I see them enforcing traffic laws for vehicle drivers. Bikers are an easy target for bullying. Stop using them as scapegoats for bad traffic control. Hire more traffic officers. Lower the speed limits and enforce them. Ticket vehicles in bike lanes. Create more bike lanes. Ban tractor trailers on residential streets and lower the speed limit city wide to 15 mile per hour and enforce it. Stop killing bikers!

  3. One more thing. Road construction safety barriers prevent safe bike traffic. I even see them closing bike lanes so bikes are forced to go into traffic. Road construction also takes too long. I see the same road being worked on for months at a time. I’m starting to think bikers should share the sidewalks with pedestrians instead of putting them into traffic but idk.

  4. We’re all responsible for traveling safely through the city – by car – on a bike or on foot. I do all three and the folks who travel with the most abandon through red lights, stops signs, travelling down one way streets against traffic are the cyclists. Per Triple AAA: they are breaking the law. Since there is such a push by advocates to change our streets , they should pay for it via licensing, registration and insurance. Cyclists might then be more concerned about their cyclist records , being ticketed and perhaps be more responsible! Countless times while driving my car or on my bike, I’ve encountered a car door – or any vehicle – being opened either by the driver or passenger in the roadway I’m travelling. I STOP ! and let said persons leave their vehicle safely. Sometimes it’s an Uber or commercial van or a private passenger car dropping someone off. I YIELD! It’s being courteous to my neighbors on the streets of NYC. And opening a car door should not be characterized as illegal. What have we come to. In my experience ,YIELD unfortunately is not part of a cyclist’s vocabulary. Cyclists have to proceed at all costs even if I’m means screaming at a pedestrian in the way or moving into another lane of traffic putting themselves and drivers at risk. Bikes may not be as dangerous as cars & trucks but through their own lawlessness create dangerous circumstances for themselves , pedestrians and drivers.

  5. Safety on our streets is a two-way street. As Jumaane Williams pointed out, it is more the responsibility of car drivers to be safest. But to say that bicycle riders and pedestrians have no responsibility is wrong. As a driver and bike rider, I see both sides and there is responsibility for all. Bike riders on narrow streets, going wrong way, no helmet. I see it all the time. Yes, vehicle drivers do wrong, especially hitting people on turns which shows a disregard for pedestrians. But bike rider personal safety must be a factor too. I urge our friends at Transportation Alternatives to sponsor bike classes, lectures and on-line safety talks. There are a lot of new riders out there as the push for alternatives has been successful. We all must do our part to make it safer on our streets.

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