Beep calls for safer roads around Barclays after cyclist killed in crash

Bloody streets: A cyclist died on Monday morning after a sports utility vehicle hit him and two other cars at Fourth and Flatbush avenues.
The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The city must redesign the streets around Barclays Center to make them safer, Borough President Adams demanded on Tuesday after a driver fatally plowed into a cyclist on Fourth Avenue near Flatbush avenue the day before.

The Beep warned that if the city doesn’t make improvements soon, more tragedies will follow.

“This car part is replaceable — the life that we lost here is not replaceable,” Adams said at the scene of the crash, as he held aloft a chunk of a car’s bumper that he had plucked from the ground.

The lethal collision happened on Monday morning as part of a multi-car pileup that also put several others in hospital, police said.

The driver of a sports utility vehicle first struck a car that had stopped at a red light at Dean Street, before continuing down Fourth Avenue, jumping a cement median, and crashing into the cyclist, according to police. The motorist then went on in the direction of Barclays Center, broad-siding a second car, barrelling through the pedestrian plaza between Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, before finally careening to a stop on Flatbush Avenue, according to a report.

Emergency responders declared the cyclist dead at the scene, and transported six others drivers and passengers to New York Methodist Hospital, police said.

Local cyclists widely consider the area around the Rust Bowl — which includes several major intersections, heavy traffic, and no bike lanes — to be a hair-raising ride. Thirty-six vehicles have crashed at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues so far this year, while 23 have collided at the intersection of Flatbush and Fourth avenues, according to police data.

The city is in the process of redesigning a long stretch of Fourth Avenue from Atlantic Avenue to 15th Street as part of a $250-million overhaul of treacherous thoroughfares across New York. But its plans for that particular project remain light on details or a timeline, and the Beep called on the city’s Department of Transportation to get its asphalt together in light of this week’s accident. The agency said only that it is “hard at work” on the fix-up.

“DOT is taking a close look at this challenging and complex area to provide safety enhancements for all users,” said spokeswoman Gloria Chin.

To illustrate the many dangers that bicyclists in the area face, Adams prefaced his Tuesday press conference by leading a procession of journalists in a ride from Borough Hall to the site of the crash. Thirty seconds into the journey, a pickup truck nearly collided with Adams, who wore a white polo shirt emblazoned with his job title on the back. He also pointed the finger at a pair of trucks parked in the Schermerhorn Street bike lane.

“That’s part of the problem,” he said.

Police have not made any arrests in Monday’s crash, but said they are still investigating.

Authorities have not yet released the name of the victim.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

BrooklynGersh from The WT says:
A caveat: You know me. I'm a cyclist. I don't want to see ANYONE die, let alone one of my beloved two-wheeling comrades.


No one should be riding a bicycle on Atlantic, Fourth or Flatbush Avenues.

I'd love to see them redesigned, but for now, we cyclists need to stay on Bergen, Vanderbilt, Smith and the many other routes that are, alas, very flawed.

OK, Internet, send troll away!
July 15, 2015, 9:36 am
BrooklynGersh from The WT says:
I mean "troll away."
July 15, 2015, 9:36 am
Atlantic Ave neighbor from Atlantic Ave says:
BP Adams needs to show up at The Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation. The issue of safety has been addressed to deaf ears to the Forest Ratner staff and Empire State Development Corporation. Unfortunately, the real issue is that Ashley Cotton and Ratner staff are so in the pockets of Cuomo and ESDC staff have no experience when it comes to urban planning that the community is ignored. ESDC should be publicly be shamed for having representatives like Joe Chan, Marion Phillips and other hacks who are a disservice to the local communities safety concerns.
July 15, 2015, 9:44 am
Peter Engel from Downtown Brooklyn says:
First of all, the headline: a driver plowed into the other cars and dead cyclists, not the vehicle itself. #crashnotaccident

"The driver of a sports utility vehicle first struck a car that had stopped at a red light at Dean Street, before continuing down Fourth Avenue, jumping a cement median, and crashing into the cyclist, according to police. The motorist then went on in the direction of Barclays Center, broad-siding a second car, barrelling through the pedestrian plaza between Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, before finally careening to a stop on Flatbush Avenue, according to a report."

Some NYPD sources have said that a "medical condition" caused all this. I hope they can offer proof. To suggest this as an excuse would be laughably pathetic if it didn't feel like a reason for investigators to avoid doing their jobs.

I'm a cyclist and I NEVER ride that intersection, walking it instead. The fact that someone else isn't justification for them dying.
July 15, 2015, 10:32 am
Scott from Boerum Hill says:
How are traffic changes going to stop incidents like this, where the driver jumped a median and sped the wrong way down several blocks?
It sounds like Adams is trying to make excuses for the murderous driver.

The Atlantic/4th intersection is actually much safer now than it was before the tiny block of 4th between Flatbush and Atlantic was made one way.
Before, northbound cars would constantly block the intersection, creating unsafe conditions for cars, bikes, and pedestrians.

Now the city just needs to crack down on the constant red light running and illegal U-turns, especially from the dollar vans.
July 15, 2015, 11:44 am
Tyler from pps says:
I agree with Scott.

We could spend billions of dollars redesigning every street. Redesigning many of our streets is, indeed, necessary and important to improve the safety and general enjoyment of our city... BUT, when the NYPD has basically forsaken their role in enforcement, we're not gonna see much improvement. (You may notice, many of those red light runners and speeding vehicles are driving NYPD vehicles... uggh!)

I do agree with Scott above, except for the call for a "crack down." NO. We don't need any more of these absurd PR stunt crack downs. We need SUSTAINED enforcement of traffic laws that prioritizes safety.

Not "crack downs" of cyclists running red lights at T-intersections with no cross traffic, or a tuesday afternoon a couple times a year to ticket cell phone users, or whatever other waste of police resources the precinct CO thinks looks good on twitter but doesn't improve safety.
July 15, 2015, 12:27 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
The only way to make it safe is to separate cars/trucks and cyclists/peds. Other countries do this, its not cheap. You put in an overpass for peds/bike and sink the motor vehicles below.(or the other way around). It should have been part of the Barclay plan( I proposed it to the City Council member at the time. Its not brain surgery. Its city planning. Chicago does a good job of doing this -requiring loading docks for trucks too. BTW allowing cyclist to violate the rules only bring contempt to those rules which drivers then want to do too. Why is it ok for a cyclist to go through a light safely but not a car?
BTW in places in NY where this has been done, peds relish walking past the barriers and getting in traffic.
July 15, 2015, 2:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
"Not "crack downs" of cyclists running red lights at T-intersections with no cross traffic, or a tuesday afternoon a couple times a year to ticket cell phone users, or whatever other waste of police resources the precinct CO thinks looks good on twitter but doesn't improve safety."

I hate to break this to you, but that doesn't excuse your group from flouting the laws not to mention places you in a double standard on this issue.
July 15, 2015, 3:57 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Tal -- You CLEARLY didn't comprehend the meaning of my words. If you think I said anything like that, you're stupider than I already thought. So your repetition of the same sad, pointless crap is not welcome.
July 15, 2015, 6:02 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sorry Tyler, but two wrongs don't make a right.
July 15, 2015, 6:27 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
I read the story with interest because years ago I would ride that same route from work in Manhattan in the evening. I wouldn't go near those intersections in the AM in the northerly direction--NOT SAFE FOR BIKES!

The City DOT reconfigured those intersections for safety just a few years back(and has tweaked it since) but no re-design would have changed this collision. All those calls for a protected bike lane on Fourth Avenue are wrong. Studies of the area recognize the huge volumes of vehicular traffic and directed bikes away and onto quiet streets.
July 15, 2015, 6:32 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
That's a good point TOM. I feel that redesigning any major thoroughfares is a bad idea. Doing so will make it very inconvenient for both service and commercial vehicles that will be using them a lot not to mention that they already have a lot of traffic as they do now. Also, they wouldn't do much to stop any further accidents, because those causing them aren't even following the rules much to begin with. Then again, the anti-car fanatics can always use the traffic that was created to help promote any form of road pricing, which is the Bloomberg way of addressing an issue by creating it and then finding a scapegoat rather than blaming themselves for their mistakes. On a side note, I wonder what is the bike zealots reaction to that cyclists in UES that did a hit and run at a pedestrian and the police are still looking for that person, though they will probably look the other way in claiming that there group does no wrong.
July 16, 2015, 2:34 pm
Peter Engel from downtown Brooklyn says:
Tal Barzillai' - for God's sake, a human being died and all you can do is make the same tired rage about "zealot cyclists."

I was hoping that for once you could restrain your twisted thoughts, but no.

Everyone now knows what you are - a useless troll. You rile people up by saying things you wouldn't have the courage to repeat if you actually came to a community meeting and tried to do some good. Oh, that's right, you live in your parent's basement in Pleasantville, NY and only fantasize about living in Brooklyn.

From what we know so far, the victim lived in Sunset Park and used his bike to get to work because he needed to. Whether he belonged to TA or Times Up or even heard of them doesn't matter. He is dead and you are alive spewing divisive garbage.

That is all, Tal. See a new psychiatrist, STFU and get a life already!
July 16, 2015, 2:53 pm
Opus the Poet from Garland TX says:
The driver in this case failed to take his anti-seizure meds and (supposedly) had another seizure after being seizure-free for over a year, but had he been drunk or on other drugs the outcome would not have been much different. As far as infrastructure changes are concerned about the only change that would have made any difference would be installing jersey barriers between the bike lanes and motor vehicle traffic. It appears that the driver did not go straight into the bike lane but swerved into it somewhere mid-block.

Unless there is some way to tell if a patient has gone off meds there is no enforcement mechanism that will prevent a driver with medication-controlled seizures from going off meds and having another seizure while driving. What is needed is only allowing drivers who are seizure-free WITHOUT medication to drive, and much more strict enforcement of driver's licenses with the penalty for driving without a license being the same as possessing an illegal weapon. The rationale for that is motor vehicles exceed the lethality of firearms at an impact speed of 23 MPH according to the AAA.

Note that while I am a cyclist I do recognize that people Not Living In NYC have a genuine need to use motor vehicles for the majority of their travels. Cars are a necessity of life for most people in this country where sprawl is rampant and the necessities of living are spread far apart, so I'm not trying to get everybody out of their cars, just the ones who should not be driving because of impairments that keep them from driving safely. Like people without a license, or whose license has been pulled for good reason like a medical condition or repeated traffic tickets.
July 16, 2015, 11:44 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Opus- I've heard similar about the driver. IMO if they failed to take their meds then they need to be charged with vehicular manslaughter at the very least. The cyclist was doing everything right and lost his life because this idiot decided not to take their meds.
July 17, 2015, 1:53 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Peter, I do give my condolences to the cyclist that was hit and it was wrong for that person to be driving without their meds, but I still feel that redesigning the streets isn't going to change anything. All it will do is make the traffic that's already there go from bad to worse especially for commercial vehicles that use them constantly. A better idea will be to fix the timing of the traffic lights and walk signals, but I feel that the only reason why this is opposed is because it will make the idea of redesigning streets obsolete hence the anti-car fanatics can't promote their agenda to make streets inconvenient for them. Another thing should be to make the walk signal not be at the same time for the street parallel to it when having the green light especially when those making a turn have to wait for some time to make that turn with very few getting by, and this is just the one way streets. On a side note, you really need to stop with the personal attacks, and if somebody here seems to have issues, it seems to be you, not me, so it's you who needs to get a life and needs to chill, because you don't hear me making such attacks, which really makes me question your actual age in why you seem to talk like a little child and saying things you wouldn't say to someone in real life.
July 17, 2015, 3:49 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Thank you, Tal. Your amazing expertise in traffic engineering is highly valued and is always such a great contribution to these threads. I don't know how you can keep yourself hidden way in your mom's basement in Pleasantville when you should be campaigning to be the next DOT Commissioner for New York City. Or at least the deputy commissioner of traffic light timing.
July 18, 2015, 11:55 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tyler, I think it's time you leave the issues here to the adults.
July 20, 2015, 3:24 pm
Peter Engel says:

I would love to know where your great expertise on traffic engineering comes from. Doesn't Westchester have traffic problems that need bloviators offering their two cents?

I marvel at your emotional maturity that gives you the chutzpah to imply that you're the adult here.

Or maybe a presumably-grown man who goes around labeling cyclists "zealots" and "anti-car fanatics" with an "agenda" to "make streets inconvenient for them (motorists)" is exactly the example of leadership and maturity this community -which you don't live in - is in need of right now.

Yes, you're a troll. Not a very smart one, either, as your talking points are extremely limited.

Is that a personal attack? Yes. Why? Because I get angry when people are killed for no reason. I get even angrier when someone tries to say it's their own fault because of their mode of transport.

So Tal, I ask you this -- if you're going to continue putting yourself out there with outrageous and ill-informed rants, why do you expect to be treated civilly? If you can't handle it, go cry to mommy. I'm only going to get uglier.
July 22, 2015, 1:19 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Peter, where or when did I make personal attacks at you? I didn't use the term living in your parents basement, you and your friends did. Also, I never had anything against bicycles, it's those that think they are above all others that I'm against. Call it a silly rant, but others find it to be telling it like it is. Please tell me why aren't some kind of fanatic or zealot when your own comments explain just that. I know that you are from Streetsblog, a website that is known for having an anti-car bias. As for the article, I wasn't blaming the victim, I just want to know the causes to know what really happened rather than just zooming on the effects. The reason I use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be the analogy is because it's a common topic where many use the effect rather than the causes. Now, I will ask the question once again. How exactly would redesigning the street have prevented or stopped the accident from occurring considering the that driver wasn't taking their meds? I would most likely say it wouldn't have done much anyway considering that many of the accidents are caused by someone braking the laws.
July 23, 2015, 2:18 pm
Peter Engel from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Paranoia runs deep, Tal. I'm not from Streetsblog though I know them a little. I do know that they occasionally have some laughs at your expense.

Posts like this - including rationalizing an intersection that makes no sense for anyone - perfectly illustrate why.
July 26, 2015, 9:01 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: