A Brooklyn cyclist was killed Monday morning as he swerved to avoid a parked car’s opening door in Sunset Park.
The 30-year-old man’s death marks the 18th cyclist fatality in New York City this year, and the 13th in Brooklyn. This latest deadly crash comes as concern mounts over a startling spike in cyclist safety, and days after the city unveiled a $58 million plan to make NYC a safer place for bike riders. Monday’s cyclist death was the third in a week-long period. Two people were killed while riding bikes on July 23; one in Brooklyn and another in Queens. Last year saw 10 cyclist deaths, in total.
Police said the Sunset Park cyclist, who as of deadline was not identified, was struck by a tractor-trailer as he swerved around an opening car door around 9 a.m. Monday. He was heading north on Third Avenue, near 36th Street — an area which reportedly has no bike lanes. No arrests were announced.
NYPD came under fire Monday after a police spokesperson reportedly told local media that “It’s not a crime to open your car door,” later clarifying that they were “joking around.” New York bike law states that “it is illegal to get out of a vehicle in a manner which endangers cyclists,” often referred to as “dooring.”
“Really @NYPD? Your spokesperson is joking about the death of another cyclist. Classy,” remarked one New Yorker on Twitter. Outrage over a lack of safe bike lanes in New York City has been a prominent issue in the citywide discussion over cyclist protections.
The city’s new plan, called Green Wave: A Plan For Cycling In New York City, addresses the need for bike lanes. It includes an accelerated build-out of citywide protected bike lanes, as well as amped up NYPD enforcement of crash-prone intersections, and 80 new staffers and new legislation.
The 18 bicyclist fatalities so far this year represent the highest number through July of any year since the launch of Vision Zero five years ago. Nine of the 2019 fatalities have involved cyclist interactions with trucks.
NYC Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who represents Sunset Park, addressed the incident Monday, saying, “This crisis is real and mounting.”