Cyclist Deaths in NYC

Another cyclist death, this time on Delancey Street in Manhattan. Reporter Jefferson Siegel reports in the Villager:

Latest biker death puts Delancey St. danger in spotlight

(photo by: Sam Costanza)
Photo caption: Emergency Service Unit officers responding to last Thursday’s fatal bike accident on Delancey St. looked at the gruesome scene behind a sheet. The cyclist’s quick-release front wheel had been removed and put on the truck.

By Jefferson Siegel

Last Thursday afternoon Jeffrey Axelrod, 52, of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, was bicycling south on Chrystie St. and turned right onto Delancey St. when he fell under the rear wheels of a cement truck and was killed.

After making the turn, Axelrod found himself wedged between the truck traveling west on Delancey St. and a parked car. He reportedly wobbled momentarily before falling under the right rear wheels of the truck.

Another cyclist who witnessed the accident, Jose Martinez, said the chain on Axelrod’s bike appeared to have fallen off the sprockets. Reports said Axelrod, who was wearing a helmet, ran a red light before the collision. Police said because Axelrod ran the light and the driver was unaware of the collision, no criminality was involved and the driver would not be charged. The driver remained at the scene.

Police from Emergency Services Unit Truck 1 arrived on the scene shortly after the collision. They slid a pneumatic mat under the rear wheel of the cement tractor-trailer to raise it off the cyclist, whose red, white and gray helmet was visible under the truck wheel.

Read more: here.

There have been several deaths of cyclists in NYC in recent months.

Gothamist reported early in September:

Cyclist Struck In Williamsburg Is 10th To Die This Year

Witnesses to the cycling accident that killed Nicolas Djandji say that he was following his friend on a black racing bike when he was struck by the Toyota Highlander. “His friend was screaming,” a witness tells the Daily News, “He didn’t want to see his friend like that.” It’s still unclear whether Djandji was wearing a helmet or if he was riding in the bike lane on Rodney Street, and while no charges have been filed against the driver, the investigation is ongoing. According to Transportation Alternatives Djandji is the tenth cyclist this year to be killed in the city.

Djandji was an artist who was born in Alexandria, Egypt and studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Transportation Alternatives’ Director Paul Steely While says that the past decade has seen the number of cyclists double, and “injuries have decreased over that period, it’s definitely getting safer.” While local pols have demanded safety improvements for hazardous road conditions, such as the intersection of Essex and Delancey on the Lower East Side, they have been to improve safety for pedestrians, not cyclists.

Unsafe road conditions and inefficient designs have promoted the D.O.T. to redesign their infrastructure including the Williamsburg Bridge off ramp in Manhattan. Again Gothamist:

Here’s The New Williamsburg Bridge Bike / Pedestrian Entrance

Things are going to be very different for cyclists blazing down the Williamsburg Bridge onto Delancey in about five months, when the DOT finishes a dramatic new redesign at the entrance/exit to the bridge’s bike and pedestrian path. Three foot high concrete concrete barriers at the base of the bridge will force Manhattan-bound cyclists to come to a full stop, and there will be a curved fence steering northbound bikers toward Clinton Street. The project will significantly change the way some 4,000 New Yorkers a day use the city’s most bike-heavy bridge… And there are some differences of opinion about it!

“It’s not clear what problem the DOT is trying to solve with their fence,” Transportation Alternatives Joseph Ferris tells us. “In our opinion, the big problem on the Manhattan-side of the Williamsburg Bridge is the traffic on Delancey Street—it’s one of the most dangerous streets in New York City. This spring and summer at least one pedestrian and one cyclist have been killed on Delancey, and between 2008 and 2010, 134 walkers and bicyclists were struck.

“Assembly Speaker Silver, State Senator Squadron, Council Member Chin and Borough President Stringer have all asked for safety fixes. The Williamsburg Bridge is the most heavily-cycled bridge in North America, depositing thousands of cyclists a day onto Delancey Street, and whether you bike, walk, drive or take the train there, you know that crossing Delancey isn’t a love story, it’s a horror.”

Cyclist and environmental activist Bill Di Paola of Time’s Up! has also criticized the changes, which he guesses are one third of the way complete. In an interview with The Villager, he says, “D.O.T. forgets it’s an exit and an entrance. But it’s more important for exiters, since they’re coming off at high speed.” Once the changes are complete, Di Paola predicts, “You’ll see a lot of near injuries, people hitting into each other, especially the skateboarders — they can’t stop. It’s going to be chaos.”

Di Paola and Time’s Up! have come up with an alternative, which the DOT is not considering—a pity because it’s pretty appealing. (It would also, unfortunately, be expensive.) The Time’s Up alternative would create a new ramp that would start about 75 feet up the bridge on the Manhattan side and reach ground level at Delancey Street, where a bike path would run through a new parkway for several blocks. Here’s a rendering:


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