Cyclist killed in Sunset Park

Cyclist killed in Sunset Park
Photo by Caroline Ourso

A truck driver struck and killed a 30-year-old cyclist in Sunset Park on Monday.

The victim, identified as Em Samolewicz, was traveling north along Third Avenue near 36th Street when she swerved into the path of a massive 18-wheel Freightliner truck traveling behind her to avoid a door of a parked van at 9 a.m., cops said.

Emergency responders rushed the victim to NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn where she was pronounced dead, according to police.

The 37-year-old driver remained on the scene, and the investigation remains ongoing, authorities say.

Police set up a crime scene surrounding the fallen bike, which lay on Third Avenue near a pool of vomit. The white van that forced the cyclist into the trucker’s path remained barricaded behind police caution tape, according to witnesses.

The victim’s death marks New York City’s 18th cyclist fatality in 2019, the 13th in Brooklyn, and the first fatality since Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an expansion of the city’s bike lane network last Thursday in response to the mounting bike deaths.

“The fact that this all happened in such a small amount of time — it’s a crisis and an emergency,” de Blasio said at Thursday’s presser.

A cyclist swerved out of the way of a parked van’s opening door (left) on Third Avenue, driving into the path of an oncoming tractor trailer.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Under the bike plan, the city will install 80 miles of protected bike paths, police will issue more tickets to vehicles parked in bike lanes, and transit officials will redesign 50 intersections.

The mayor’s plan would create a two-way protected bike lane on Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park. Some cycling advocates think it’s time to make Third Avenue more bike-friendly, too.

“Third Avenue, which has eight lanes for cars and zero for bikes, is a product of a bygone era when transportation decisions were made with the sole intention of moving as many vehicles as possible through our neighborhoods, without regard to the people living and working in those neighborhoods,” said Ellen McDermott the deputy director of Transportation Alternatives.

The first cyclist killed in 2019 was struck only eight blocks from Monday’s incident, McDermott added.

Local politicians expressed their sadness after Monday’s tragedy.

“This crisis is real and mounting,” Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park) said on Twitter.

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306.
An 18-wheel commercial truck struck and killed a cyclist on Monday morning as the two were traveling northbound.
Photo by Caroline Ourso