Somebody ought to go to jail — and possibly not simply the motive force.
An adolescent in a 4,000-plus-pound Chevy pickup truck driving the unsuitable manner on a harmful Queens overpass struck and killed an e-bike rider who was in a motorbike lane that the town had as soon as constructed as a “protected” bike lane, however then downgraded to mere paint after drivers destroyed all of the flex-posts that when secured the lane.
In line with police, the 18-year-old behind the wheel of the assault truck was touring southbound on Honeywell Avenue on Monday at round 7:22 a.m. when he veered into the northbound lanes and flattened 32-year-old Thomas Panto of close by Corona, who was touring northbound and was approaching the intersection of Northern Boulevard.
Panto was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, the place he died. The motive force, whose identify was not launched, was not initially charged, cops mentioned, although the investigation is ongoing to find out why he crossed the yellow line.
The motive force’s culpability is very large, however the metropolis bears some accountability; Honeywell Avenue between Skillman Avenue and Northern Boulevard was initially constructed as a protected bike lane in 2017, and labeled as such on the city’s official bike map. However the flex-posts that the town put in when the protected bike lane was constructed have been so usually destroyed by drivers that the town downgraded the route — a key path between the brand new protected bike lane on Skillman to the bike lane on Northern — to a regular painted lane by 2018 (see pictures on the high of this publish).
Right here’s how that appeared on the town’s bike map:
Clearly, flex-posts wouldn’t have saved Panto from the pressure of a 4,000-pound truck. However the existence of the protected lane suggests strongly that the town Division of Transportation knew that the route was an essential one — and that cyclists wanted safety.
@NYC_DOT by no means bothered to interchange the versatile delineators alongside this #bikenyc lane and as a substitute simply gave up and downgraded the bike lane to unprotected. Their failure and indifference continues to price lives.
— steve (@steve_ohh) October 11, 2021
“Thomas Panto was killed on … a avenue with a painted, unprotected bike lane,” Transportation Alternate options Government Director Danny Harris mentioned in an announcement. “It’s like each painted, unprotected bike lane in New York Metropolis: a car parking zone or journey lane, commonly abused by drivers, a lot so that even Google Street View shows a dumpster parked there. At finest, painted bike lanes are ineffective, however at worst, they’re a reckless invitation from the Metropolis of New York to its residents, inviting New Yorkers to trip a motorbike whereas failing to adequately defend them.
“Imaginative and prescient Zero just isn’t failing,” he added. “Mayor de Blasio is failing.”
Because of a 2017 ruling within the state’s highest courtroom, New York municipalities are legally accountable when they’re conscious of street risks but don’t repair them. That call, known as the Turturro ruling, stems from a 2004 crash when a rushing driver struck 12-year-old Anthony Turturro as he rode a motorbike on Gerritsen Avenue. A civil trial jury awarded Turturro $20 million, discovering the town 40 p.c accountable for the crash. Town appealed, however the state’s Courtroom of Appeals upheld the award for Turturro by a 6-1 vote.
“This choice is a game-changer,” lawyer Steve Vaccaro mentioned on the time. “The courtroom held that departments of transportation will be held chargeable for hurt attributable to rushing drivers, the place the DOT fails to put in traffic-calming measures despite the fact that it’s conscious of harmful rushing, until the DOT has particularly undertaken a examine and decided that site visitors calming just isn’t required.”
Streetsblog reached out to the DOT for remark and can replace this story if we hear again.