Cyclist run down on Williamsburg street

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A cyclist was run over and killed on an industrial street in Williamsburg on Tuesday — the second time in one month that a bike rider has died in a crash.

Erica Abbott, 29, was cruising on Bushwick Avenue at 6:54 pm when she fell off her bicycle near Powers Street after riding over a piece of construction debris.

She tumbled from the bike — and was promptly run over by a Mercedes sedan that had been following closely behind.

Police responded within minutes and found Abbott unconscious on the street. Emergency medical officals took Abbott to Woodhull Hospital where she died from severe injuries to her head and torso.

Officers detained the driver, but determined that no crime had been committed. An investigation is ongoing, however.

The fatality is the city’s third cyclist death in the past month — and the second in Williamsburg over the same period.

On Aug. 1, a delivery truck clipped a 29-year-old cyclist who was trying to turn onto Metropolitan Avenue from Gardner Street.

The driver did not notice that he had struck the cyclist and left the scene. Police ruled the collision an accident and said the cyclist was at fault.

In the wake of the two deaths, locals are calling for more bike lanes and traffic-calming measures for the area.

“Cyclists and motorists share our city roads and need to look out for one another,” said state Sen. Martin Dilan (D–Williamsbu­rg). “But municipal agencies must also design measures and bike lanes free of obstruction and abuse.”

And Times Up’s Barbara Ross said that the city must educate motorists about slowing down on neighborhood streets.

“Cars should not be going that fast to the point that they can’t break in time for cyclists passing by,” said Ross. “We’re not living on a freeway.”

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Reader Feedback

george from maspeth says:
This road is a racecourse for azzholes. The evening rush brings out every idiot zipping at 45MPH on this winding 4 lane avenue that connects Williamsburg with East New York.
Sept. 1, 2011, 9:08 am
S from PPW says:
If the driver was passing so close to Erica that the car ran her over when she fell of her bike, then the driver was passing too close. This is against the law in almost every other city other than NYC. Most places have a minimum 3 feet to pass law on the books. It might have helped here.
Sept. 1, 2011, 10:36 am
Danny Hellman from Park Slope says:
Unfortunately, we ARE living on a freeway.
Sept. 1, 2011, 10:36 am
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
Why don't you guys slug an article like this as "Mean Streets?" Is that reserved for bike-lane bashing? Nothing seems meaner than the violent death of a pedestrian or cyclist under the wheels of a motor vehicle -- the sort of death that could have been prevented by good traffic-calming, protected bike infrastructure like the PPW bike path.
Sept. 1, 2011, 11:33 am
Eyes from Greenpoint says:
Very Sad. I hadn't checked this site in a while and figured I should check the neighborhood news after the Village Voice article

This was the first thing I saw. My condolences to the family and friends.
Sept. 1, 2011, 11:47 am
DVL from Brooklyn says:
So, let me see if I have this right:

Stories about community-driven processes to redesign streets to make them safer are "Mean Streets" stories at the Brooklyn Paper. But when a guy in a Benz blasts his horn at a girl on a bike, possibly causing her to crash and contributing to her death, that's just regular news -- that's just ho-hum "Mundane Streets" to the Brooklyn Paper.

Gersh: Can you please explain this choice? Why is it not a "Mean Streets" story when my friends and neighbors are killed by cars on New York City streets? Why is it a "Mean Streets" story whenever you report on local community activists working to redesign streets to prevent deaths like these?

Seriously: People are wondering.
Sept. 1, 2011, 12:18 pm
sam from cobble hill says:
Was she wearing a helmet? Seems like a relevant piece of information. My condolences to her family and friends.
Sept. 2, 2011, 6:14 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Actually, Sam, it's not relevant at all. The car's wheel ran over her throat and severed her jugular, and she bled to death in the street. But she was wearing a helmet.
Sept. 2, 2011, 8:45 am
Opus the Poet from Garland TX says:
From my understanding of the wreck the cyclist fell when the MB driver honked at close range. Had the driver not honked and startled the cyclist there would have been just barely 3 feet of clearance between the cyclist and the MB as demonstrated by the cyclist's neck being hit by the tire when she fell over. Drivers need to stay the h3!! off the horn when passing a bicycle, you don't know how loud those things are when you are not inside a car. We know you're there, cars make enough noise to wake the dead without using the horn, but honking at close range is so loud that we jump even when we are expecting a honk.
Sept. 2, 2011, 1:32 pm
Skoolyard from Williamsburg says:
To make matters worse, I just got back from seeing a bicycle accident not too long ago. It happened on the corner of Rodney & Boriquen in Williamsburg. I arrived too late but saw a lot of blood on the street. Very very sad.

My condolences to is family and friends.
Sept. 2, 2011, 10:10 pm
Alien from Williamsburg says:
I came onto this site to see information about the cyclist on Borinquen and Rodney that was killed tonight. I just passed the site and the entire block was cordoned off. This is the 4th cycling death in under two months. It's time for everyone -- cyclists and motorists alike -- to start respecting each other and respecting traffic rules. I'm just sickened to know how close to death I come every day on my bicycle.

I cross Rodney and Borinquen every day. This is hitting very close to home. While I'm praying that it is not someone I am friends with, any death is one too many.
Sept. 2, 2011, 11:15 pm
Driver from Clinton Hill says:
First I am very sorry to hear this terrible tragedy! Condolences to the family.

I am a cyclist and a driver and I have to admit I am sensitive as a driver and very cautious as a cyclist.

What's really really annoying is many cyclist are not as cautious as they should be, I witness hundreds of cyclist every week running traffic lights, going the opposite direction on a one way street, not using the bike paths, and just trailing along too close to cars....very scary to me and I think the only way to prevent more tragedies is to enforce the law where cyclist and drivers follow and respect the same rules of the road.

Even worse are the parents who run traffic lights with kids on the back of their bicycles!
Sept. 3, 2011, 2:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Although I give my condolences to the death of that women, she put herself into harm's way. If she had actually stopped at the red light rather than run it, she would have still been alive today. Once again another death that bike zealouts will try to spin around to make the driver's fault even when it's not in this case. I wouldn't be surprised if Streetsblogs tries to cover up the fact that this cyclist ran a red light. I hope that this will be a good lesson that flouting the traffic laws is a bad idea for cyclists. Again, don't act as if I am blamming the victim here, because I am not.
Sept. 3, 2011, 5:58 pm
g from bushwick says:
@Tal. Where does it say she ran the light? I don't believe she did. Many cyclists in the city "run" lights. I often slow down/stop till traffic is clear then go. If I don't, I risk getting smashed by traffic treating a green light as the start of a drag race. I don't know many cyclists that just bomb through a red light without looking, and I doubt she did. This girl crashed because of debris on the street, which I see all the time on powers and bushwick ave right next to the construction site, and that's unacceptable.
Sept. 3, 2011, 7:14 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The Daily News version says she did, so I suggest you read that, g.
Sept. 3, 2011, 7:49 pm
Fred from Williamsburgh says:
The Story in another paper is that she ran a red light. The fact is that the bicyclists do not follow the rules. They runs red light, blow through stop signs, and go down wrong way streets all the times.

Sometimes the even hit small children crossing the street, but the bike people really don't care about that.

They only care when one of their own get hurt or killed by a car even though the bicyclist was braking the rules.

Last month I almost hit a bicyclist on Bedford because he ran a red light and was also going down a wrong way street. I slammed the brakes. It was so close.
Sept. 4, 2011, 7:24 am
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
What's even more tragic is that Vinnie Vella's closed.

My son and I were hit by a bicyclist while crossing State St., from the southeast corner of State and Hoyt. The putz rode the wrong way on the Hoyt St. bike lane and made a right turn onto State as we were crossing with the light. He hit us as we stepped off the curb, knocking us all onto the street. As I was checking my son for injuries, the pedalphile started yelling at me for not paying attention. I walked over to where his bike was laying and proceeded to stomp on his spokes; then, I picked the bike up and threw it in front of a truck crossing the intersection. The driver obliged me by rolling over Bike Boy's ride. Big Mouth then started screaming and cursing at me asking if I was crazy. I smiled at him and told him "You're next" and continued on my way.
Sept. 4, 2011, 1:07 pm
JJ from Lefferts Gardens says:
I know somebody, a young woman, hit by a bicycle too, Joe and she got really bloodied up. If somebody hit me or my son I would call the police and press charges and if the bicyclist left it would be hit and run. Same as with a car. No difference. If bicycle advocates truly cared about keeping bike riders safe they would be giving very firm, loud instructions to riders to obey traffic laws. But they don't. Instead they do what G of Williamsburg does here, which is deny deny and tell lies. If you don't know anyone who will "bomb through red lights" G, then I don't know how to explain that except maybe you know just 1 other person who rides a bike. Because bicycles do that all day long every day. Anybody with a functioning set of eyes sees that. I do support installation of bike lanes and of traffic calming. Absolutely. But EVERYBODY has to participate in making streets safe from potential dangers of EVERY type of moving object and that include bicycles.
Sept. 4, 2011, 3:05 pm
cc from brooklyn heights says:
if bikers are getting their own lanes, then they should start helping pay for the up-keep of the roads..same as motorists do.
maybe a $100 yearly fee just for the upkeep of their bike lanes.
Sept. 5, 2011, 1:28 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I still don't get why the Brooklyn Paper didn't mention the fact that she ran a red light when the Daily News did. BTW, bicycles can actually injure or kill someone. Let's not forget that Stuart Gruskind was killed by a cyclist who flouted the law. Of course bike zealout websites such as Streetsblog will always look for ways to excuse this. Cyclists should start following the law. Just last week, the NY Post had an article on saying that such cyclists should stop getting a free ride and be fined for flouting the laws. I always find it an irony that cylists demand for the same rights of using the road as every other vehicle, but don't want the same responsibilities. Again, I am not saying that she deserved to die by saying this, so please don't take that as such.
Sept. 5, 2011, 3:54 pm
trans alt from bike city says:
@cc: The fees for car ownership in NYC should start at 10K for hybrids, and increase from there.
Sept. 6, 2011, 12:36 am
Daquan13 from East Boston says:
Hey Tal,
Bikes don't kill people, cars kill people! You can't seem to get over not being physically fit enough to ride a bike, so you take out your frustration on others. Basically, you are acting like a cancer-causing puke!
Sept. 6, 2011, 9:03 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, you are probably not Daquan13. If you actually bothered to read my last comment, you would have read about the death of Stuart Gruskind, who was killed by a messenger cyclist who flouted the laws, and I suggest you type that in the search engine and read about that. In other words, it has been proven that bicycles can kill people especially when they are flouting the laws. For the record, I don't hate bicycles, I hate the way some tend to think that they are above the law while everyone else must follow them. On a side note, I wouldn't be surprised if you were the one impersonating me, Mr. Idonotuseaconsitantnamewhenicommenteventhoughihappentobethatverysameperson.
Sept. 6, 2011, 6:10 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
cc: This may come as news to you, but as a taxpaying New York City resident - a portion of whose taxes go directly to the NYCDOT - I already pay for upkeep of roads and bike lanes. I don't own a car.

What do you do, exactly, to "help pay for the upkeep" of New York City streets? Not a penny of gas tax revenue goes into the NYCDOT coffers - it only goes to the state and the Feds.
Sept. 7, 2011, 10:45 am
Mike says:
And Tal doesn't actually live in the city. So unlike myself and other bicyclists, he does NOT pay to support the NYC streets. I do, even though all I use on them is a bike, which does no damage to them. How's that fair, Tal?
Sept. 7, 2011, 11:34 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
By no surprise the bike zealouts come out to defend their egos. Again, you tend to deny that bicycles cannot kill people. I dare you to say that to Nancy Gruskind, whose husband was killed by a cyclist not that long ago. Also, I have heard from people in the City Room mention about how they got hurt or almost did when cyclists went in their way. Although it is true that I don't pay for local city roads, I do pay taxes to for all the state and federal roads that run through here and that includes the BQE and NY 27 to name a few, so in a way, I do pay to upkeep them as well. One other thing, the NY Post recently had an article saying that most do want fines against cyclists who flout the law to be more enforced, so you lost on that.
Sept. 7, 2011, 12:02 pm
Daquan13 from East Boston says:
Tal, I see you've braught your unflexible perspectives here to the bike lane isses. Before it was the WNBA and before that it was Israel and Hammas, and before that it was your ceaseless quest to rebiuld the twin towers. Just like those issues, I think you will have zero impact here, except to stregnthen the hands of your supposed ennemies. When was the last time you road a bike? When was the last time you spent time in brookline, except to pass through driving in your car? I think with your weight problem you probbabbly eat up more tax dollars than you pay, althow I could be wrong if you lost weight since the last time somebody posted your photo over at Skyscrpaperlife and must wiegh at least 300 pounds or so. I have a bit of a wieght problem, but I still take my bike out for a stroll and I like to have separate lanes. Here in East boston everybody supports bike lanes as they make roads less conjested for auto traffic.

-Tannis Baker
Sept. 8, 2011, 12:44 pm
Mike says:
Sure, bikes can kill pedestrians, once every few years. Falling tree branches can also kill pedestrians, and actually do so more often than bicyclists do. You're arguing over an incredibly rare phenomenon, and because of that, you want us to be forced to ride in unsafe conditions? Makes no sense whatsoever. And you know what really does kill pedestrians, by the hundreds? Cars.

I don't care if you pay to keep up the BQE or NY 27 (wherever that is). No one is asking for bike lanes on the BQE. We want them in our neighborhoods, so we can get around safely and conveniently -- and as city residents, we ARE paying to keep up those streets.
Sept. 8, 2011, 1:39 pm
Mike says:
Dasquan, it's not nice to attack someone's ideas because of his weight. The real problem is Tal's ideas, or lack thereof, not his physical size.
Sept. 8, 2011, 1:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, saying that cars are bad because they kill more reminds me of the anti-Israel crowd trying to say that IDF kills more than Hamas because the number they kill are higher. Just read what they have to say, and you will be surprised how many parallels are from that. Just because bicycles don't kill as much as motor vehicles can, doesn't mean that they are any less of a threat as they are. As for NY 27, I suggest you look at a road map, because it's there, and it's in Brooklyn, and part of that is the Prospect Expwy.
Sept. 8, 2011, 7:31 pm
Mike says:
Oy. Talk about completely missing the point. Of course, Tal does this on every discussion forum he takes part in. At least the people on NetsDaily seem to have learned to laugh at him instead of trying to engage with his utter inanity.
Sept. 9, 2011, 1:01 pm
Jack from Williamsburg says:
Can you people from NYC read??? Please tell me where you read that this young woman ran a red light? She was run down by a motor vehicle following at close range, who allegedly honked the horn at the cyclist.This young woman was trying to dodge some debris in the roadway that was not cleaned up from the storm. The construction company that failed to clean up the area now has blood on their hands, as their negligence directly contributed to the loss of a life. The driver, who was not charged (I do not know why), also has to live with the mistake that was made in aggressively driving in a residential area causing the cyclist to loose control of her bike. Rest in piece dear angel, as this was a very tragic but preventable accident.
Sept. 11, 2011, 5:01 pm
Don from Underbridge says:
I see, it's her fault that the Mercedes was following too close. If that was two cars it would have been a citation. And clearly the cyclist that was clipped by the truck while turning left probably forgot to signal and the truck trying to go out and around without braking could not have been at fault. Slow the f down, have a little courtesy. Some of us have to ride a bike.
Sept. 12, 2011, 2:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I think you are being slanderous towards my person by bringing in arguments from NetsDaily that have absolutly no relevance here. Jack, the woman ran a red light b/c othewise she would not have been hit. Why is it so easy to blame the Mercedes driver, when it seems clear to most that the cyclist was at fault. Not that she deserved to die for it, but this is the risk you take when you don't obbey the rules of the roads like us car driving public must. So says the NYPD, wich is good enough for me (why would they lie?) Seems like streetsblog has infiltrated the mindset of brooklyn paper poaster. On a side note, even if people continue to make me out to be some clueless loser, I know it is b/c this is the only way they can argue with my logic. Their is a parallel when people criticize Israel when all they are doing is defending themselves agains Hamas, suicide bombers, and Ahmedinajad. Now that the argument has been thoroghly debunked, I expect that the discussion can procede on more civilized terms.
Sept. 14, 2011, 5:07 pm
Mike says:
"Thoroghly [sic] debunked" by providing one crappy, irrelevant analogy? Yeah, right.
Sept. 15, 2011, 12:29 pm
matt from greenpoint says:
On Franklin St there is bike lane on both sides. Bikers routinely ride on the far side of the lane and cars have to cross into the other lane to pass... never mind double parked delivery trucks etc. It is a bad situation and someone will definitely be hurt or worse.
The bikers are often arrogant about it... maybe they don't drive here. The horns will be blown regardless because if you slow for bikes the driver behind you will blow their horn at you. The law needs to sort out who has the right of way because it is not a safe situation. With inexperienced drivers and bikers it is worse.
3 ft. rule..... impossible. Unless one both bikes and drives one does not know how bad it is for both.
Sept. 22, 2011, 2:54 pm
Mike says:
Franklin St has a shared lane. If there isn't room to pass safely, then drivers must drive slowly behind bicyclists. It's perfectly safe when drivers follow the rules.
Sept. 23, 2011, 1:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, what exxactly is so sic or irrelevant about my arguments? on a side note, i resent you calling it crappy. What the Isreali citizen has to really face each and every day is a rain of bombs and attacks from all sides. That is not just 'crap'. Getting back to the issue at hand, if bikers want to use car lanes then cars should also be able to use bike lanes.
Sept. 26, 2011, 3:09 pm
Mike says:
zzz... more off-topic nonsense
Sept. 26, 2011, 9:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
What if a pedestrian were run down by a cyclist on some Williamsberg street? Bet you streetsbloggers would find ways to pin it on the pedestrain! The fact is is that bikers never have nor will they ever obey the rules of the road or the sidewalk.
Oct. 5, 2011, 1:11 pm
jinx from yours says:
dems are some purty big eyeglasses
Oct. 1, 2012, 4:03 pm

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