VIDEO: Cyclist is Killed by Reckless Trucker in Williamsburg — First of the Year

This is the moment of impact on Thursday in Williamsburg as a box truck driver slams into a cyclist.
This is the moment of impact on Thursday in Williamsburg as a box truck driver slams into a cyclist.

The first cyclist of 2020 has been killed in Brooklyn — by a truck driver who made an illegal U-turn, yet was not charged.

The NYPD said that the 41-year-old cyclist was riding along Vandervoort Avenue near Calhoun Street at around 2:40 p.m. when a 64-year-old truck driver slammed into him as he made the illegal turn. The cyclist suffered severe head injuries and was taken to Woodhull Hospital where he died. The driver remained on the scene and was not charged.

“No criminality was suspected,” said an NYPD spokesman. “The investigation is ongoing.”

That investigation will quickly conclude that the truck driver was driving recklessly. Not only did he make an illegal U-turn, but he slammed into the cyclist at high speed, as seen on a video obtained by Streetsblog. His truck ends up slamming into a parked car, as well.

(VIEWER DISCRETION: The video is horrifying. We present it here simply as evidence of the kind of driving we see every day, and its deadly ramifications.)

Death of a Cyclist from Gersh on Vimeo.

The death was first reported by the Daily News.

That area of East Williamsburg is a changing mix of industrial space, truck repair garages, artist’s lofts and even some residences. Several of the 29 cyclists who died on New York City roadways last year were in neighborhoods that are changing from industrial to live-work residential.

“Areas that were formally industrial – lot of trucks, lot of heavy construction activity — that are becoming residential where cycling is more popular, we’re unfortunately seeing a lot of collisions with cyclists and trucks,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told the City Council in October, back when the death toll for cyclists was 25.

Brooklyn has been a deadly place for cyclists of late. Last year, 17 cyclists were killed in Kings County.

After initial publication of this story, Transportation Alternatives put out the following statement:

People who walk and travel by bike are an afterthought on Vandervoort Avenue where this tragic crash took place. Like the streets where most fatal cycling crashes occur, Vandervoort Avenue prioritizes traffic over human life. Since Vision Zero was launched in 2014, 10 cyclists and 10 pedestrians have been injured on the short stretch of Vandervoort Avenue between Grand Street and Maspeth Avenue. Last year, a pedestrian was killed, and in 2015 a motorist was killed, in crashes at the intersection of Maspeth and Vandervoort, just a block from where this cyclist was killed today.

In 2019, the deadliest year for cycling in New York in two decades, the NYPD issued more tickets to people riding bikes than they did to truck drivers. It is incumbent upon Mayor de Blasio to ensure that we do not see a repeat of 2019’s death toll, or 2019’s misguided enforcement efforts, in 2020. We demand bold and immediate action to save lives, and we stand ready to support the mayor toward that end. Every New Yorker should be able to walk and bike in this city without fear of death or serious injury.

Update: One day after Lopez’s death, Streetsblog returned to the scene and found utter mayhem on the kind of roadway that should not exist in New York City: