Reckless Truck Driver Kills Cyclist in East Williamsburg

Reckless Truck Driver Kills Cyclist in East Williamsburg

EAST WILLIAMSBURG — Yesterday, a truck driver making a reckless U-turn killed a bicyclist riding on Vandervoort Avenue.

On Thursday, January 30, just after 2.30 p.m., police responded to a 911 call of a collision involving a bicycle, in front of 305 Vandervoort Avenue in East Williamsburg, cops said.

A 54-year-old man driving a 2005 Isuzu flatbed truck was traveling northbound on Vandervoort Avenue when he made a reckless U-turn, striking the bicyclist, Pedro Lopez, a 41-year-old man from Bushwick,  knocking him onto the road and running over his body and bike.

Streetsblog obtained a video of the fatal crash, viewer discretion is advised.

The vehicle continued onto the curb striking an unoccupied parked vehicle. The secondary collision caused a chain reaction — three additional unoccupied parked vehicles were struck and damaged.

Upon arrival, officers discovered Lopez lying on the pavement, unconscious and unresponsive with severe injuries to his head and body. EMS transported the victim to Woodhull Hospital, where he died.
Lopez is the first bicyclist death this year in Brooklyn and citywide.

Since Vision Zero, a citywide initiative for safer streets, was launched in 2014, 10 cyclists and 10 pedestrians have been injured on the short stretch of Vandervoort Avenue between Grand Street and Maspeth Avenue. At the intersection of Maspeth and Vandervoort, just a block from where this cyclist was killed yesterday, a pedestrian was killed in 2019, and a motorist was killed in 2015.

Transportation Alternatives, an organization advocating for safer New York streets for better bicycling, walking, and public transit, wrote in a statement yesterday regarding the incident:

“People who walk and travel by bike are an afterthought on Vandervoort Avenue where this tragic crash took place. Like the streets where most fatal cycling crashes occur, Vandervoort Avenue prioritizes traffic over human life.”

“We have seen over 200 pedestrians and bicyclists killed in the last year, the numbers keep rising, this is a crisis. We need to step up enforcement, accountability, we need traffic calming measures,” Councilmember Mark Treyger said at a recent press conference in regards to a death of a pedestrian struck by a sanitation truck in Bensonhurst.

On Wednesday, in an effort to create safer biking conditions, the city announced 30 miles of new protected bike lanes citywide in 2020 that the Department of Transportation has committed to, as part of the Mayor’s Green Wave plan. At least 10 of those miles will be in Brooklyn, including the following planned projects:

·         4th Avenue, Park Slope/Gowanus

·         Flatbush Avenue, Prospect Park/Brooklyn Botanic Garden

·         Ft. Hamilton Parkway, Windsor Terrace

·         Franklin Street (Greenway), Greenpoint

·         Meeker Avenue, Williamsburg/Greenpoint

·         Navy Street, Downtown Brooklyn

·         Remsen Avenue, Canarsie

·         Smith Street, Downtown Brooklyn

Cops did not confirm the speed of the truck, whether the U-turn was illegal, and criminality has not been yet determined. Currently, the investigation is ongoing and the driver has been given a summons. No further details were provided by the DCPI.