The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tragic Cycling Death at Empire/Bedford

Yesterday was a sad day for the family of Crown Heights woman killed in a collision on her bicycle with a truck. As the woman was from the orthodox community, I provide here the link to, which provides a bit more detail than other news reports.

Many commenters have lamented the state of bicycle/auto relations. The Q likes his bike and concurs that riding in the City is treacherous, and I hope that all y'all take extra precautions next time you're out on your metal steed. Sad to think, too, how awful the driver must feel. Indications are the impact was an accident, pure and simple. Heartfelt condolences are in order.


babs said...

Indeed, this is horrible, and from all I've read, a true accident. I do not know if this woman was wearing a helmet (or if that even would have made a difference in this case), but every time I see someone without one I get a chill for him/her. I really wish they would make it a law for adults to wear a helmet, as it is for children (not that you don't see plenty of kiddies without them, unfortunately). Very sad.

MattOnLincoln said...

I live right next to Bedford and, like Babs, grimace several times a day as college students, medical students and so so so many others ride by without a helmet.

But the necessary response to this accident is governmental: that intersection needs left-turn signals. It already has a left-turn lane in every direction. DOT, finish the job.

MattOnLincoln said...

While we're fretting about poorly-controlled intersections, DOT needs to address the traffic flow at Flatbush, Lincoln and Washington: on an east/westbound green light, cars may take any of 7 different routes, while pedestrians may be walking across 3 different crossings.

A DOT contractor was cleaning the walk signals today. He told me that he was supposed to actually clean the traffic lights, but no way, the traffic in the intersection was just too crazy.

It's a knot of cars and pedestrians waiting for other cars and other pedestrians.

dporpentine said...

What? "An accident, pure and simple"? Are you kidding?

The driver turned right into the biker, completely without stopping, running her over with both the front and back wheels of the truck. The biker had the light and the right of way.

In what sense is this "an accident"? It's called criminal negligence. It's called vehicular homicide. It's called many horrible things, but it's not in any blinking sense "an accident, pure and simple."

And babs, let's be clear: a truck runs over your body, your helmet isn't helping.

Deeply, deeply disgusting and ill-informed commentary.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Why don't you ask the driver whether he intended to not see the cyclist and run her over with both wheels? You're right; probably homicide. It was probably premeditated too.

If you saw the "accident" and it was clearly criminally negligent, then you have an obligation to tell the police.

As a bicyclist I find I have the right of way all the time but need to yield to reality all the time, to say the fact that a truck is making a turn right in front of me.

Like I said, if you have the inside scoop, please enlighten us. The cops apparently found no reason to detain the driver.

babs said...

Actually, the driver was headed north on Bedford and turning LEFT onto Empire, while the bicyclist was headed south on Bedford. The truck was already well into the middle of the intersection when she came zooming down the hill just before Empire. Perhaps she didn't see the truck, or thought she could beat it, but there was no way the driver could have stopped the truck. It's kind of similar to someone jumping in front of an oncoming subway train, minus the conscious suicidal intent.

I am aware that the NYPD is often grossly negligent in investigating vehicle-bike/pedestrian incidents, but this does not seem to be one of those cases. I am also aware that a helmet would not have helped in this case, but that is no reason not to urge all riders to wear one at all times.

Anonymous said...

There's no way to know if traffic obscured her from the truck driver and that's why he didn't see her, or if he didn't look for bicyclists and only looked for cars/trucks/buses and seeing none made his turn. Or if he just didn't look period. Any scenario is really easy to happen. You really have to keep that in mind as a bicyclist. You can't see a green light and think, oh good, my right of way, nobody will turn in front of me. I think generally for all of us whether driving cars or walking on foot or riding a bike to race to make a green light is reckless. As for the overall danger of our streets NYC is the wild west for drivers. The NYPD doesn't ticket anybody for anything - it does have an effect, it does endanger our lives, and I think huge pressure needs to be put on the city to start enforcing traffic laws.

Anonymous said...

Take it with a grain of salt when something is so quickly called an accident by the NYPD. This lawsuit reported here by CNN posits the NYPD are very quick to call an incident like this an accident not a criminal act. Otherwise it hurts their stats.

Anonymous said...

And here's another similar story:

I always did wonder why the NYPD never found the hit and run driver who slammed into my friend several years ago on the UES as he crossed the street on his right of way, despite a witness having a partial plate and make and model for the car. Really, NYPD? I bet I could google it and find the guy if I had that info now. (Thankfully my friend survived.) I said wild west before for the streets of NYC and I mean wild west. You can get away with anything.

Anonymous said...

Here is Emma Blumstein's obituary with a photo of her. Click to read all of it if it doesn't already go there. (Not so sure that she's Orthodox btw.) I'm so sad for her parents tonight.

Charles said...


here and on the lefferts list you have badly confused who has right of way. a northbound truck making a left turn has to YIELD to southbound traffic. It is inconceivable that a bicyclist was exceeding the city speed limit, so I'm not sure what "zooming" means.

Vehicular homicide doesn't mean that it was intentional, only that it was reckless. Yes, cyclists have to be careful and protect themselves first but that doesn't excuse drivers from obeying traffic laws and taking care that they don't hit vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians. NYC never prosecutes, and hardly even tickets, reckless driving that results in death or serious injury because the social mores are so far shifted towards auto traffic that when people are hit by cars the crowd reaction is overwhelmingly "why didn't she just not get hit by a car." That's what really has to change.

babs said...

The truck, from eyewitness accounts, was already making the turn at the time of collision. Was he in the wrong? I do not know, not having been there. Did he miss seeing the cyclist? Were the two playing some crazy game of chicken? We'll never know. The NYC speed limit, except where posted otherwise (not the case here), believe it or not, is 30 mph - a cyclist pedaling hard and going downhill (the case here) can indeed exceed the speed limit (as do virtually all cars and trucks on this strip, all the time).