Youzdjan Bekir’s friends returned to Manhattan Beach on Saturday afternoon, two days after the Kingsborough Community College student was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident on Oriental Boulevard.
As the young women lit memorial candles and spoke about the young man they knew as “Eugene,” two automobiles heading in opposite directions nearly collided in a ghastly replay of the collision that claimed Bekir’s life on May 8.
The liberal arts student from Sunset Park was leaving school on his blue Yamaha motorcycle at about 12:40 p.m. when he ran into an automobile attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Irwin Street. Bekir was later pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital.
The driver of the car was issued a summons.
“This tragedy, claiming the life of one of our students, impacts us all deeply,” Kingsborough Community College President Regina Peruggi said in a prepared statement.
The incident has not only shaken the KCC campus, but also members of the neighborhood’s feuding civic organizations.
This week, however, Manhattan Beach residents appear united in their belief that measures must be taken to prevent another deadly traffic accident on Oriental Boulevard.
“This is one thing we all agree on,” Edmond Dweck, chair of the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association’s Public Relations Committee, told the Bay News. “The city has got to do something about this.”
Ira Zalcman, president of the Manhattan Beach Community Group, said that he welcomes working with anyone who wants to make the community better.
“It’s so sad that a young person loses his life,” he said. “I feel heartbroken for his family.”
The leadership of both civic organizations say they support turning the flashing red light at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue into a traditional traffic signal, as well as installing a new, fully functioning traffic light at the corner of Irwin Street and Oriental Boulevard where Bekir was killed.
In the last month, cops at the 61st Precinct issued 18 speeding violations for the entire command – 10 of them were given to drivers speeding on Oriental Boulevard.
The thoroughfare has claimed numerous lives in the past. Remnants of at least one of those ensuing memorials still remains not far from where Bekir was killed.
Manhattan Beach residents maintain that the so-called “zebra” lines constricting both eastbound and westbound sides of the thoroughfare to single lane traffic have been a failure.
Up until now, the Department of Transportation has insisted that the alterations made a few years ago have reduced speeding along Oriental Boulevard.
Dweck says that he routinely observes motorists driving on the zebra lines while attempting to pass other vehicles.
“The zebra lines are ridiculous,” he said.
Zalcman called them “horrible.”
Local resident Ed Eisenberg, who arrived at the scene of the accident shortly after it occurred and said “it looked like an explosion,” might be the one dissenting voice in Manhattan Beach.
“I don’t think it’s the fault of the lines,” he said. “That’s a bad spot anyway.”
Peruggi said it was the college’s priority to provide support for Bekir’s family, as well as the student body, and that counseling services were being offered to all members of the Kingsborough community.