UPDATE: Bushwick Artist Killed By Truck While Cycling

Photo: Todd Maisel/Bklyner

UPDATE: Cops have identified the slain cyclist as 28-year-old Devra Freelander. She was an artist from Bushwick. 

BUSHWICK – Just four days after a bicyclist was killed in Brownsville, another cyclist was hit and killed by a truck Monday afternoon. This marks the 15th cyclist death in NYC in six months.

The cyclist, a 28-year-old woman, was riding her bike north on Bushwick Avenue today at approximately 12:30 p.m as a truck traveled east on Boerum Street. The truck hit the cyclist, killing her. The driver remained at the scene, cops say. As of now, no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.

“This marks the third cyclist killed this week, and the 15th cyclist killed in New York City since the year began. This fatality means that five more people have been killed thus far in 2019 than were killed in all of last year,” Transportation Alternatives Interim Co-Executive Director Marco Conner said. “One week ago, Robyn Hightman was killed on [her] bicycle in Flatiron, Manhattan and a few days later, Ernest Askew was killed on his bicycle in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Every single one of these tragic losses was preventable.”

Boerum Street and Bushwick Avenue. (Photo via Google Maps)

Conner said Vision Zero was in a state of emergency and urged Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is campaigning for his presidential run, to help save the lives of cyclists.

“New Yorkers on bikes are being killed at a record rate. It is clear that Vision Zero is in a state of emergency and Mayor de Blasio is in denial about his signature program faltering under his neglect. Vision Zero is an effective, lifesaving program when implemented with the necessary financing, innovation, and planning,” he said.

“For the past five years, steady Vision Zero progress has proven that the deaths of people walking and biking are preventable. New Yorkers have long called for a more aggressive and innovative approach. Today we are in a crisis. It’s up to Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to act.”

There will be a vigil tonight at 6 p.m. for cyclist Ernest Askew at the site of his death in Brownsville on the corner of Chester Street and Sutter Avenue. Several elected officials and activists are expected to attend. 

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Zainab Iqbal

Zainab is a staff reporter at Bklyner who sometimes writes poetry in her free time || zainab@bklyner.com


  1. This comment isn’t meant to dull the fact that life was lost but can we also address the fact that many cyclist also don’t follow the rules? I also ride my bike and have been sideswiped by other cyclist who refuse to stop for pedestrians. I have been hit by a delivery person on a bike while crossing the street. Many times I’ve seen cyclist blow through lights where traffic is bearing down on them – it’s really hard for a truck to come to a sudden stop and it’s not safe for drivers who might need to swerve to avoid them. I think EVERYONE needs to be more conscientious when it comes to sharing the streets. Vision Zero should be for everyone to pay attention to each other.

  2. I drive through this intersection a lot and truly it sounds as if the bicycler overshot the intersection against a red light. The driver was probably going 35, a fairly standard speed – 10 mph over the speed limit is extremely common. Big diesels carrying tons of weight are incredibly difficult to stop on a dime once they get momentum. As a former blue collar worker I know this to be true, from life experience. This is a tragic accident. To imagine we can promote bicycle use along every street and avenue, alongside a gigantic automotive transportation infrastructure while having zero deaths is to be a dreamer. You’re dreaming like a flower, just bobbing in the wind, dreaming of nothing but the sunlight. But the realities are just not there.

  3. So true. Street safety is a two-way street. I’ve personally had bikers slam into my vehicle, not the other way around. And while Im standing at a light. Crazy. The other day I had a biker run a red light and I swerved to avoid him. He started cursing at me, to which I replied, “if you are going to ride carelessly, at least wear a helmet.” I would say that everyone needs to be more careful in this city, drivers, bikers and pedestrians. Yes, pedestrians who walk out between cars into traffic, walk across streets talking on phones and texting (yes, I had one woman walk into my car at a stop sign). I would ask the good people of Transportation Alternatives to sponsor bicycle safety seminars to convince bikers to ride safely. I agree with their push to get drivers to be safer and by virtue of how crowded we are getting, fewer people will not use cars. However, it is time that we spend more time making sure everyone is acting in a safe manner and stop complaining that poor bicycle riders are getting tickets for running lights, riding wrong ways on streets, zipping down sidewalks. It happens and should not be ignored. We all must do our part to make the streets safer. I have 40 years as a driver and even more as a bike rider and I know their on issues on all sides here.

  4. Thank you to everyone’s comments I just read. I feel 100% with all of you!if your going to be in the road, walking/riding a bike or driving, follow the rules or your risking your life and the lives around you!

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