Advocates blame city after car fatally strikes bicyclist in Marine Park

Deceased: Advocates are lamenting the lack of bike lanes after a 29-year-old cyclist was killed by a car in Marine Park on May 12.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Pro-bike advocates are condemning the city for unsafe road conditions in Southern Brooklyn after the driver of an SUV fatally struck a bicyclist in Marine Park on Sunday night.

The deceased biker, 29-year-old Robert Sommer, was attempting to cross Avenue U, near E. 33rd Street, when the driver of a 2014 Toyota Highlander hit him shortly after 8 p.m. on May 12, police said.

First responders took the cyclist to nearby New York Community Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

Sommer’s death marks the eighth bicyclist killed in a car accident this year, and the fourth in Southern Brooklyn, according to advocacy group Bike South Brooklyn, which used the tragedy to lament the lack of bike lanes in the area.

“That half of the fatalities have occurred in Southern Brooklyn is the entirely predictable result of the city government and local officials abandoning people on bikes here and never taking serious measures to improve the bike network or cycling safety,” the group said in a statement.

Another advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, laid blame squarely on the mayor for the absence of bike lanes in Kings County’s traditionally car heavy neighborhoods like Marine Park, which lacks any dedicated cyclist paths on neighborhood roads, according to the Department of Transportation’s bike lane map.

“This is a tragedy which Mayor Bill de Blasio could have easily prevented with protected bike lanes installed as part of a complete network of cycling infrastructure,” said the group’s advocacy director Thomas DeVito. “Despite the huge percentage of New Yorkers who ride bikes, and the proven lifesaving capability of protected bike lanes, Southern Brooklyn residents have little to no access to streets safe for cycling, and they are being disproportionately impacted.”

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.
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