First Cyclist of 2021 is Killed in the Bronx

The scene of the crash is a chaotic roadway with frequent double-parking. Photo: Google
The scene of the crash is a chaotic roadway with frequent double-parking. Photo: Google

A cyclist died in the notoriously dangerous Bronx early this morning, according to the NYPD.

The preliminary information said only that the cyclist was riding his e-bike eastbound on E. 149th Street at around 1 a.m. when he “struck an unoccupied Toyota Highlander that was parked” just east of Brook Avenue in front of a row of stores.

Police later said that the Highlander was parked against the curb and was not double-parked. The cyclist, whose name was not immediately released, was taken to Lincoln Hospital, where he died. Update: A video later obtained by the Daily News showed the victim piloting his bike directly into the parked car. It is unclear why he did that or if there was debris or a pothole in the road, or whether he was simply negligent.

What is clear is that E. 149th Street is a dangerous stretch of roadway in a borough that has long been known as a cyclist graveyard. Cyclist injuries are up in the borough with very limited protected infrastructure, and eight cyclists were killed in The Bronx last year, the most of any borough.

As such, Transportation Alternatives focused on that in its statement about the death.

“More and more cyclists are dying in the Bronx, and Mayor de Blasio has not stepped up to save lives,” said Executive Director Danny Harris. “[The] cyclist died on a stretch of road with four lanes of traffic and zero bike lanes. This death was the predictable and preventable result of the inequitable distribution of lifesaving cycling infrastructure.”

Last year alone, when car traffic declined because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 59 reported crashes on E. 149th Street on just the three blocks between Third and St. Ann’s avenues, injuring eight cyclists, 10 pedestrians and 15 motorists.

This morning’s fatality is the first reported death of a cyclist this year. Last year, 26 cyclists died on the streets of the city, the second highest total since the Vision Zero era began in 2014.