BLOODY SUNDAY: Cyclist Killed By Driver In Broad Channel Is 25th This Year

The spot on Cross Bay Boulevard where a cyclist was struck and killed on Sunday. Photo: Google
The spot on Cross Bay Boulevard where a cyclist was struck and killed on Sunday. Photo: Google

Another cyclist has been killed on the streets of New York City in 2019, this time a 65-year-old man hit by an SUV driver in Broad Channel on Sunday.

According to an NYPD spokesperson, emergency responders were called to 329 Cross Bay Boulevard at around 2:40 p.m. and discovered cyclist Bogdan Darmetko lying in the road. They rushed him to St. John’s Hospital, where he died, while the driver remained at the scene and was not charged.

The agency’s preliminary investigation revealed little: “A 32-year-old male was operating a 2008 Ford SUV northbound on Cross Bay Blvd alongside the bicyclist traveling the same direction. As the bicyclist approached East Fourth Road, he made a left into the path of the moving vehicle and was struck by the front driver side of the vehicle.” The agency declined to provide any more information, including that the roadway is currently under construction, which might have played a role in the crash.

The agency declined to answer standard questions such as whether the driver was distracted by his phone or another passenger. The NYPD did not reveal the driver’s speed at the time of the crash.

Locals would not be surprised if he had been speeding.

Matt Miner, a resident of Broad Channel, posted pictures of the crash to Twitter shortly after it happened. He wrote that his neighbors had been asking for a stoplight in the area because “people speed excessively through here all day and night.”

The pictures that Miner shared also show that the road is currently being milled and lacks any kind of street marking, increasing the danger to cyclists and pedestrians.

Cross Bay Boulevard has a bike lane on both the northbound and southbound sides of the street, but it’s only painted stripes. The lane, between two wide car lanes and a parking lane, provides no protection to cyclists from drivers who treat the road as a speedway to get between the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge and the Cross Bay Bridge. In April 2019, the state Department of Transportation announced it would do a bike traffic study on the Addabbo Bridge, which could lead to the installation of actual barriers for the bike lane on the bridge.

Part of the problem is the constant conflict between New York State DOT and New York City DOT about who controls the roadways leading to and from Broad Channel. As you can see in this thread from last summer, the city and state DOTs could be seen referring problems with the bridge’s danger to their counterpart department:

Since January, 2016, there have been 273 crashes on this roadway through the supposedly sleepy Broad Channel neighborhood, injuring eight cyclists, four pedestrians and 82 motorists. Last year alone, there were 68 crashes, injuring three cyclists and 22 motorists. In December 2018, 74-year-old Waiching Chen was killed by the driver of a Ford Escape, while she was in the crosswalk at 159th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard.

There is also a rogue Mister Softee driver who intimidates cyclists in the area.

Darmetko is the 25th person so far this year to die while riding a bike in the city, up from 10 all of last year. Deaths to pedestrians are also up by double-digit percentages this year.

Transportation Alternatives’ Executive Director Danny Harris also said that changes are long overdue on “the notoriously dangerous” Cross Bay Boulevard.

“As our city struggles with a preventable public health crisis on our streets, made more dangerous by the proliferation of SUVs by car manufacturers, the mayor must fight for the safety of all New Yorkers by accelerating implementation of his signature Vision Zero program, specifically the Green Wave bicycling safety plan,” Harris said in a statement. “Moreover we urge the New York City Council to pass, and the Mayor to sign, Speaker Johnson’s Streets Master Plan bill on Oct 30 — a bill that will standardize the type of street treatments, including protected bike lanes, which will save countless lives.”