Recent Traffic Violence Inspires Harsh Criticism of NYC Government

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New York City has had one of the deadliest years for accidents and now three more deadly incidents have been reported, including one e-bike rider in Queens who was struck and killed by a driver that lost control of their car.

News reports have documented the three recent New York City car crashes that left vulnerable road users injured or dead, with some commentators directing harsh criticism toward city officials in a year of road violence unprecedented in the de Blasio Administration.

E-Bike Rider Killed in Queens

On October 11th, an e-bike rider was struck by the teenage driver of a pickup truck in Long Island City, Queens, according to a report by the New York Daily News. The cyclist, Tomas Panto Chitic, was hit when the driver “lost control and crossed the yellow line” from the oncoming lane, resulting in a collision that “tore the truck’s front bumper almost completely off.” In a statement to the Daily News, Panto Chitic’s roommate said, “He was 100% good guy. All he did was work and take care of his money for his family.”

The pickup truck driver, an 18-year-old male unidentified by the Daily News, reportedly remained at the scene of the accident and was not charged. In a statement about the incident, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives, an organization advocating for safe streets, said: “At best, painted bike lanes are useless, but at worst, they are a reckless invitation from the City of New York to its residents, inviting New Yorkers to ride a bike while failing to adequately protect them… Vision Zero is not failing, Mayor de Blasio is failing.”

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The other two incidents involved two pedestrians, one deaf man crossing and struck by a hit-and-run driver in Brooklyn and another pedestrian struck and killed by a milk truck driver who ran a red light in Queens.

Pedestrian Dies in Brooklyn Hit-and-Run

On October 15th, a 56-year-old deaf man named Jose Ramos was struck and killed by a car on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, according to StreetsBlog. His wife was walking with him at the time, and told the publication that the vehicle “came out of nowhere” before hitting her husband. She reportedly rushed two blocks to her home and asked a relative to call for help, and “when she returned to the crash site, the car was gone.”

StreetsBlog describes the roadway where the incident took place, the section of Brooklyn thoroughfare Atlantic Avenue located on the eastern side of Pennsylvania avenue, as a “speedway.” City officials have reportedly long failed to address its “race-like” design, which has resulted in a number of traffic violence fatalities. In 2015, the Department of Transportation reportedly told the local community board “that 52 people had been killed or seriously injured in more than 1,100 serious crashes on the 1.2-mile strip between Georgia Avenue and Logan Street between 2010 and 2014, placing it the top 10 percent of Brooklyn streets for severe injuries and fatalities per mile.” StreetsBlog criticized their proposal to replace its “fast-moving, wide lanes with… fast-moving, wide lanes.” As of last week’s report, a planned redesign has stalled with neither a budget nor a projected finish date.

Queens Pedestrian Hit and Injured by Truck Driver

On October 14th, a Creamoland milk truck driver drove through a red light in Elmhurst, Queens “without slowing down” and stuck a pedestrian, according to a report by StreetsBlog. The incident took place at the intersection of Broadway and Elmhurst, described by the report as a “dangerous” intersection where 21 crashes have been reported since January 2019, with “one cyclist, five pedestrians, and four motorists” injured by the incidents. Zooming out, StreetsBlog notes that in the “20-block stretch of Broadway between Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, there have been 404 reported crashes, injuring 25 cyclists, 47 pedestrians and  49 motorists.” While the pedestrian in this incident was injured, the driver had not been arrested or summonsed as of the publication’s report.

More information on recent traffic violence deaths in New York City is available via StreetsBlog and the New York Daily News.

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