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Brownsville cyclist fatality marks city’s second biker killed this week • Brooklyn Paper

Brownsville cyclist fatality marks city’s second biker killed this week

Bloody streets: A motorist killed 57-year-old Brownsville biker Ernest Askew on Sutter Avenue Thursday night, marking the 14th killing of a cyclist by a car on the city’s streets in 2019 and the second just this week.
Matt Gush

A teenage driver struck and killed a cyclist in Brownsville Thursday night, according to authorities.

Police said the 18-year-old driver was heading north on Chester Street when he smashed into 57-year-old Ernest Askew, who was traveling on Sutter Avenue as he crossed Chester Street heading west at around 9 p.m.

Paramedics rushed both men to Brookdale Hospital, where the biker was pronounced dead, cops said, noting that the driver was treated for a hand injury and remains in stable condition.

Askew is the 14th cyclist to be killed by a car on the city’s streets this year — and the fourth to be killed in June — compared to the 10 bikers killed throughout all 2018, noted one safe streets advocate, who slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio for being out of town campaigning for his presidential run.

“The number of cyclists killed in 2019 had already surpassed the number killed in the entirety of the prior year on May 14, when cyclist Kenichi Nakagawa succumbed to injuries sustained three days earlier when he was struck by a driver in Crown Heights, Brooklyn,” Transportation Alternatives Interim Co-Executive Director Marco Conner said in a statement. “Today, just over a month later, the death toll stands four above all of last year. Vision Zero is in a state of emergency, and the mayor is absent.”

Conner called on de Blasio to “rescue” Vision Zero in an effort to halt the alarming rise of cyclist fatalities.

“He must adopt the City Council’s plan for a connected network of protected bike lanes, building out 50-100 miles per year, and ensure aggressive investment in neighborhoods of color,” he said. “All future protected bike lane installation should provide safe passage for cyclists where it is most needed and seek to correct these long standing racial inequities.”

Askew is the second cyclist slain on city streets this week. A truck driver killed 20-year-old cyclist Robyn Hightman in Manhattan on Monday, Streetsblog reported.

After the Manhattan biker’s death, the NYPD’s Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters at a press conference Thursday that police launched a ticketing campaign targeting drivers — and bicyclists — near where Hightman was killed, as part of a controversial enforcement tactic which Council Speaker Corey Johnson blasted on Twitter.

“I am disturbed by reports of a NYPD crackdown on cyclists near the intersection where cyclist Robyn Hightman was killed yesterday by traffic violence,” Johnson tweeted. “Trucks and cars are the cause of the overwhelming number of traffic fatalities in our city.”

After the Manhattan biker’s death, the NYPD’s Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters at a press conference Thursday that police launched a ticketing campaign targeting drivers — and bicyclists — near where Hightman was killed, as part of a controversial enforcement tactic that some critics claim blames bikers for vehicular fatalities.

Monahan, who said police issued about 100 tickets to motorists, and around 30 for bikers, later conceded that the department is open to changing its approach, and may avoid targeting cyclists in future enforcement blitzes, according to a tweet by New York Post reporter David Meyer.

“We’ll look at this strategy and it’s something we’re looking to adjust,” Monahan said.

The most recent incident comes after a drunk driver killed 29-year-old Mohammed Abdullah, who was riding an e-bike in Canarsie, on June 9. Three cyclists were fatally struck in Brooklyn within four days in May.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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