E-Cyclist Dies After Being Doored On Deadly West Side Strip

This is where Kwok Kwan was killed. Photo: Google
This is where Kwok Kwan was killed. Photo: Google

An e-bike rider who was doored by a taxi passenger on 11th Avenue in Manhattan last month has died of his injuries — and neither the driver nor his passenger was summonsed for the illegal act. It is the first cyclist death of the year, according to the Department of Transportation.

According to police and a police source, Kwok Kwan, 66, was cycling on 11th Avenue near 37th Street at around 11 a.m. on Jan. 16 when he “struck the open rear passenger door” of a 2016 Toyota Prius taxi that was discharging a passenger. The language blaming the cyclist, rather than the person who opened the door into him, is common in cases of bike riders being doored.

Kwan suffered head trauma in the fall from his electric bike and was not struck by another vehicle, police said. He was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital in stable condition, but died on Feb. 11. The 42-year-old taxi driver remained at the scene and was not initially charged.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Manhattan’s 11th Avenue is a notorious stretch of roadway, thanks to frequent construction near Hudson Yards, delivery trucks and attractions such as the Javits Center. In just the three blocks near the convention center where Kwan was struck, there have been 90 reported crashes since January, 2019, injuring four cyclists, eight pedestrians and 17 motorists.

On the larger mile-and-a-half stretch from W. 57th Street to the end of 11th Avenue at West Street, there have been 913 reported crashes over the same three-year period, injuring 32 cyclists, 48 pedestrians and 118 motorists, with a cyclist and a pedestrian being killed.

Numbers like that encouraged the area’s council member, Erik Bottcher and state senator, Brad Hoylman, to rally in the area earlier this month to demand safety improvements.

That stretch parallels the Hudson River Greenway, the nation’s busiest bike path, despite the fact that legal electric bikes are banned by the Hudson River Park Trust. It is unclear if Kwan was taking 11th Avenue instead of the greenway because he was on an electric bike. In any event, he was left unprotected.

The city is also in the midst of a new road violence and public health crisis. Even after last year was the bloodiest year for road fatalities since the dawn of the Vision Zero era, 2022 has begun with far more carnage. Through Feb. 14, 28 people have died on New York streets, up from 17 during the same period last year.

For pedestrians, the carnage is especially serious, with 16 pedestrians killed so far this year, up from nine over the same period last year. Those 16 deaths are the most in the first month and a half of a year since 2017. The 28 total deaths are the most since 2014:

Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT