All Those NYPD Bike Tickets Aren’t Fixing the Streets Where Neftaly Ramirez Lost His Life

Photo: @PatrickGilmour/Flickr
Photo: @PatrickGilmour/Flickr

On Saturday night, Neftaly Ramirez was biking home from work in Greenpoint when he was struck and killed by a private garbage truck operator who kept on driving. The crash happened on Franklin Avenue, a heavily-used link in the bike network between the Pulaski Bridge and the Kent Avenue protected bike lane, despite having no physical protection of its own from car traffic.

So did police go out and try to make the local street network safer for cycling? Nope, they’ve been ticketing people on bikes since hours after the crash happened, in what’s become a ritual of ignorance following every collision that claims the life of a cyclist.

It’s not like bike infrastructure in northern Brooklyn and western Queens is functioning the way it should. Bikeways are constantly obstructed — a problem NYPD could address, if officers weren’t busy fining cyclists where Neftaly Ramirez was killed.

Skillman Avenue by the Sunnyside rail yard feeds into the Pulaski Bridge from Queens. It has bike lanes, but advocates have been calling for protection, not just paint. In the absence of any physical barriers to keep cars out, it’s become a parking lot for NYPD, utility vans, commuter shuttles, and other drivers who feel entitled to illegally obstruct the bike lane:

One block west of Franklin is West Street. The city is building out a greenway segment there, but it’s often a de facto delivery zone:

In these videos, you can see some of the major pathologies in New York City’s culture of disregard for street safety: NYPD’s complete disdain for bike infrastructure, the deference to placard holders, the lack of incentives for delivery fleets to park lawfully, and the absence of a coherent system for commercial loading.

Meanwhile, the punishment for cyclists continues: