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Another senseless cyclist death in Williamsburg

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Another cyclist was killed by a motor vehicle in Williamsburg this weekend — the third fatality in the past two months and the 10th in the city so far this year.

Nicholas Djandji, 24, was riding eastbound with a friend on Borinquen Place and was about to turn left onto Rodney Street at 8:25 pm, when a black Toyota traveling in the other direction struck him in the intersection.

A witness told the New York Post that the car dragged him through the street and there was “blood everywhere.”

Djandji was found unconscious at the scene and he was dead on arrival at Woodhull Hospital.

Police determined that the cyclist ran a red light at Rodney Street. The driver stayed on the scene after the accident and he was not charged.

The gruesome cycling fatality is the second in the past week and the third in the past two months.

Last Tuesday, a car ran over Williamsburg resident Erica Abbott on Bushwick Avenue after she tumbled into the middle of the road after running over a piece of wood.

Her family told the Daily News that her death was “senseless” and construction debris should have been removed from the bike lane on Bushwick Avenue.

In early August, a cyclist was struck and killed by a truck on Gardner Avenue while he was trying to turn onto Metropolitan Avenue.

Police say the cyclists, not the drivers, were at fault in both of those accidents.

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Reader Feedback

Or from Yellow Hook says:
"Police determined that the cyclist ran a red light at Rodney Street. "

Yup, sounds like another senseless cyclist !
Sept. 7, 2011, 6:26 am
mike from GP says:
Or, you should know that the determination of fault by the NYPD is often wrong in crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists. So please, no more insensitive smart-assness.
Sept. 7, 2011, 7:10 am
john from bh says:
mike: you claim that the facts are not the facts and that the NYPD determination is wrong - do you have any evidence to support this claim? without evidence, such claims are sensational, create hatred and frankly people making them lack honor and principle. So either back it up, or be ashamed of yourself.
Sept. 7, 2011, 8:06 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Wait a second: if Nicholas Djandji was riding eastbound on Borinquen before turning, and the driver was traveling in the opposite direction, then didn't the driver also run the red light? The facts don't seem to add up -- which is precisely why so many of us have a major problem with the NYPD's de facto position of never finding fault with drivers in fatal crashes with cyclists or pedestrians. Sometimes an "accident" isn't just an accident.
Sept. 7, 2011, 8:22 am
dk from BedStuy says:
What Dave from Park Slope says.
Sept. 7, 2011, 8:32 am
M to the I from Park Slope says:
Thirded what Dave from Park Slope said.
Sept. 7, 2011, 8:38 am
chris from cg says:
Left turns into oncoming traffic is considered running a red light unless there is a left turn light (there is not at this intersection); thats true for cars and cyclist. The oncoming traffic has the right of way.

That does not diminish the loss for the family or friends.
Sept. 7, 2011, 8:59 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
chris from cg: Actually, that's called "failure to yield" - in that case, the cyclist wouldn't have yielded to oncoming traffic. Turning left on a green is not running a red light. So either the NYPD completely ignored the driver's offense, or they have no idea how to write an accident report.
Sept. 7, 2011, 9:18 am
S from PPW says:
Dave from Park Slope: right on.
Sept. 7, 2011, 9:20 am
Chris from cg says:
The two facts that are mentioned in both papers (here and NY post) is that the cyclist was turning left onto incoming traffic. That is almost always considered the fault of the person making he left turn unless there is a left turn light. The running red light is only mentioned here in this paper and not in the NY Post story

The point is unless you have hard solid facts to support disagreeing with the police report I suggest blaming the driver of the car is reckless.

From one chris to another!
Sept. 7, 2011, 9:24 am
Chris from CG says:
That intersection is a nightmare to begin with; Borinquen splits into a west bound and eastbound right before Rodney, making that left turn a real doozy (even for car drivers), having to cross what amounts to about 5 lanes.

Probably deserves a dedicated left turn lane....
Sept. 7, 2011, 9:29 am
Chris from Bushwick says:
Chris: I never blamed the driver, but the driver certainly bears some blame IF the Brooklyn Paper's report that the cyclist "ran the red light" is correct for reasons that Dave and I both stated above. Presumably, that statement came from the NYPD's report on the incident.

But if The Brooklyn Paper pulled that statement out of thin air simply to fan the flames of hatred of the "all cyclists run red lights" anti-bike crowd, shame on them.
Sept. 7, 2011, 9:39 am
Chris from CG says:
After a bit more searching around "The left on Red" was according to a witness and not in the police report.

The police simply report that no charges have been filed and that the investigation is ongoing.

Seems like everyone builds the facts to fit their own narrative these days (including me at times)
Sept. 7, 2011, 9:46 am
BrianVan from Kips Bay says:
It sounds to me like this accident needs some serious followup on behalf of the police and the news media. It sounds like an unlikely, but not impossible, chain of events for this to have happened directly as described.

There's really nothing the city can do if it is indeed true that the cyclist turned directly into a clearly-visible oncoming vehicle. But there is certainly a bigger problem - and story - if the truth is different from this "official" recollection of the incident. And I would hesitate to take that explanation at face value without additional evidence, considering that it's so unlikely (but again not impossible) for anyone to purposely attempt such a stunt.
Sept. 7, 2011, 10:03 am
mulberry from williamsburg says:
I'm so glad commentators on here have raised the point that the driver must have run a red light as well. It doesn't mean nick still didn't make a mistake, but it wasn't entirely his fault... he was such a considerate guy, endlessly sweet. It's so easy to screw up while biking. I can't believe he's gone...it's not fair at all. It's just so unfair. There are so many people who waste their lives and don't treat others with kindness, but Nick was the total opposite. He was very talented and helpful. Nothing's fair at all.
Sept. 7, 2011, 10:11 am
Bill from Heights says:
There is a delayed green at this intersection. I have never understood why, but there is. If you are traveling eastbound like the biker was, you can have a red while the westbound has a green. I can easily see where the biker assumes the driver has to stop like him.
Sept. 7, 2011, 10:33 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
"I'm so glad commentators on here have raised the point that the driver must have run a red light as well."

Note to journalist: I can't tell from the article if the driver was on the same street as the cyclist, and thus also ran the light, or was driving on the cross street.
Sept. 7, 2011, 11:07 am
I Walk from Boerum Hill says:
While the driver may not face legal charges, he does share some of the blame.

When you get behind the wheel of a car in New York City, you have a reasonably good chance of killing someone. There are about 300 pedestrian/cyclist deaths each year in New York City, and all of them are caused by drivers. Maybe the bicycle made a quick turn without thinking, but the driver took the first step by getting in the car in the first place and then not exercising due care while he drove.

When I read about these articles, I often wonder where was the driver going in such a hurry. Couldn't he have taken the bus or the subway?

I think it's safe to say that if the driver were going slower and paying better attention, the cyclist would have had a better chance of being alive today.
This is not to say that the driver did anything that would put him in jail, just that the vast majority of "accidents" are preventable, if people would just slow down, and pay attention.
If you drive, unless you are extremely careful, it's only a matter of time...
Sept. 7, 2011, 12:33 pm
Ken from Clinton Hill says:
reading the comments i see many lawyers are jobless...

only to blame is DOT commissioner siddic-khan for implementing bike lanes all over the place.

just for the records biker didn't follow rules and regulations not use any light /reflectors or helmet...
isn't just an accident!!!!!
Sept. 7, 2011, 12:43 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
At least this article mentions that the cyclist ran a red light unlike the last one. This should be a wake up call to showing that cyclists must follow the rules or they are putting themselves into harm's way. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if Streetsblog tries to spin this around and hide the fact that he did such a thing as running a red light. Please don't take it the wrong way and make it as if I am saying that he deserved to die from this. As for the driver, unless there is proof that he also ran a red light, I will assume from this point that he didn't until then.
Sept. 7, 2011, 1:18 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
That could not have been me at 2:18 pm since I was not at my computer until just now. It's clear that Streetsblog has much influence as the NYPD if not more and that they do their best to cover up the real details of accidents like this. Since car drivers kill hundreds of people each year this should be a wakeup call for them, in reality. Since the Brooklyn Paper keeps writing these stories without details we can't beleive them and must wait until Streetsblog releases more.
Sept. 7, 2011, 1:24 pm
wkgreen from Park Slope says:
@ Ken from Clinton Hill, you might note that in the account of Erica Abbott she "tumbled into the middle of the road after running over a piece of wood" that was in the bike lane. The city could install bike lanes on every street, but it would make little difference regarding safety if they refuse to keep them clear.

Perhaps the driver was not to blame either in this incident, but it is difficult to fathom how the NYPD would say that the cyclist was. This story REALLY does not add up, and calls into question anything that they would say in either case. It demonstrates that they "shoot from the hip" when it comes to reports involving cyclists. "Ho hum. More paperwork. Involves a cyclist? They must be at fault (yawn) (stamp)"
Sept. 7, 2011, 2:40 pm
Bill from Park Slope says:
WKGREEN

From the initial reports the cyclist turned left into oncoming traffic; also it seems they ran a red light (how is this possible, because the light at that intersection is a delayed green meaning it is red in one direction and green in the other for a period of time)

If that is indeed the case its hard to not lay some of the blame with the cyclist. Perhaps the driver was speeding, perhaps they did not have their lights on, but otherwise all accounts point to a largely blameless driver.

There a many cases of driver negligence that kills pedestrians and cyclist. Why does the biking community have to try and turn every cycling accident into an anti car rant.
Sept. 7, 2011, 2:58 pm
sara from greenpoint says:
The rules can be debated until kingdom come. But the issue is that too many young people on bikes are getting killed. i feel strongly that the Administration, the DOT, whomever needs to run a very agressive campaign to educate both car drivers and cyclists on safety rules -- and then enforce them!!

Was he wearing a helmet?
Sept. 7, 2011, 3:07 pm
Joe from Crown Heights says:
No mention of whether the speed of the driver was a factor in this crash resulting in a fatality. Supposedly you have an 80% chance of surviving a crash with a car going at or below the 30mph speed limit so if this driver wasn't speeding then this fatality is something of an anomaly. Hey this crash may have been the cyclist's fault - even though trying to make a left turn from a bike lane on the right side of a two-way, four-lane street while the light is green sounds like a nearly impossible maneuver - but what's important is that mistakes do happen on the city streets and people shouldn't have to pay with their lives just for trying to get around. Our streets need to be designed to make vehicle movements restricted and predictable and enforcement of even small infractions needs to be prioritized because there's no reason 300 people need to get mowed down and killed every year whether they were following traffic rules or not. If someone gets hit on a restricted access highway, you can say sure - they never should have been there. But on a crowded city street where people are going to homes and stores and restaurants and jobs and walking and biking and doing whatever, the cars should be the guests in that environment and if someone gets struck and killed by a motorist in a busy city neighborhood I say the motorist wasn't paying enough attention to unexpected movements. If people drive around with the frame of mind that Tal describes - "cyclists must follow the rules or they are putting themselves into harm's way" - then they are absolving themselves of their responsibility to take precautions against the consequences of the mistakes of others. "Well, you didn't follow the rules, so now you're dead. Sorry." It doesn't have to be a life or death equation out there. For starters, if the speed limit on dense urban streets were 20mph instead of 30mph, and were actually enforced at all, right off the bat you would probably save 150 lives a year.
Sept. 7, 2011, 3:36 pm
Car Driver from BayRidge says:
Some Pedestrians and Cyclist are asking to get hit sometimes. Numerous times have I had to swerve or slam on the brakes to avoid hitting some dumb person crossing the street without looking or a cyclist jumping into my lane 2 feet in front of me. What about those pedestrians who stand in the middle of the road waiting to cross or the runs who run to try to beat the car or the young kids who literally walk into incoming traffic because it makes them look tuff. I like the bike lanes on Prospect, it keeps the cyclist away from us preventing less hazards.

Pedestrians and cyclist need to respect traffic laws just as much as us drivers are expected to. When they don't they are causing a major hazard for us all.

Know this if you don't respect the traffic laws, you are running the risk of having a collision with a 3500 lb of moving metal, pedestrian/cyclist vs moving metal not good for the pedestrian/cyclist no matter what speeds are involved.

These cyclist should be forced to take a safety class like us drivers before they hit the streets and might as well make them pay for insurance since they want to be treated like cars. Fine those who don't take a safety class.

The roads are meant for cars, if cyclist want to share them, make sure they do follow the same regulations we do.
Sept. 7, 2011, 5:10 pm
S from PPW says:
The roads were meant for horses, trolleys, and people. Cars a historic anomaly that are bound to get rarer as gas gets more expensive.
Sept. 7, 2011, 5:33 pm
wkgreen from Park Slope says:
@ Bill from Park Slope:
I would agree that the reporting in this article is a bit garbled. I would hope that it reflects some impossible deadline.

Be that as it may, you are confusing the two (actually three) different accident accounts that are discussed here. Erica Abbott WAS NOT turning, but was killed when she ran over construction debris and fell out of the bike lane and into traffic.

According to the last line of the article: "Police say the cyclists, not the drivers, were at fault in BOTH of those accidents." (my emphasis) Presumably this refers to Djandji AND Abbott.

My point is that if the police are blaming the Abbott accident on the cyclist, as the article seems to say when by all accounts she was doing EXACTLY what she was supposed to be doing, how can we trust any accounting that they give?

Cyclist or not these are human lives we are talking about. The streets are not just for cars. They belong to EVERYONE and being a cyclist does not make you automatically guilty. Nor does it relieve the driver of responsibility for watching out where they are going or of the city for making the streets safe for cyclists.
Sept. 7, 2011, 5:58 pm
Mustachioed Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Go away Tal. No one wants you around, you idiot vulture.
Sept. 7, 2011, 10:52 pm
AC from Williamsburg says:
I drive and I bike.
It's true that some bikers are risk takers and do run reds. I see that all the time.
It's true that drivers are not defensive and have total disregard for bikers.

From my perspective, as a driver, when you drive, because you have more "power" you should be that much more careful how you wield it on the streets. The last thing you want to do when you're driving is hit a body. You have to live with the sound of that thud every day of your life. That idea alone scares me and makes me want to drive defensively and in deference to bikers and pedestrians.

I think this is the point of "Defensive Driving." You reduce risk of accidents/injury by driving defensively, even if the other party were to make a mistake by running a red light.

On the flip side, as a biker, I think you're supposed to be pretty paranoid about getting hit, and do whatever it takes to keep yourself safe. Even if it means getting off your bike and walking it across an intersection, especially given the current lack of regulations and laws surrounding cars vs bicycles.

I think the city has to do a much better job implementing better conditions for vehiclists (I know, that is a made up word.) The city should create a neutral space where both sides are represented by practical and calm people with the one goal to reduce car-bike accidents and together there should be thoughtful planning, rather than putting up or taking down lanes, and dealing with the consequences later. At the end of the day, everyone will be happier if no one gets hurt.
Sept. 8, 2011, 7:30 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
How about manditory Bikers Ed classes for Bikers who wide in the streets?

It is obvious from the bikers here that they are unaware of the rules of the road. Bikers run red lights even in the protected bike lanes of the West side of Manhattan.

Education would be a good thing. Bikers are such good citizens that they will give these standardized classes to each other of their own time, sperading the word to each other.

How can education be a bad thing. Step up to the plate bikers, it's for your own survival, and the future of all bikers. It's for the children.
Sept. 8, 2011, 8:58 am
S from PPW says:
Or, here you go:

"With such a gaping hole left unaddressed by media reports, we called NYPD for clarification. A spokesperson told us there was no mention in the incident report of Djandji running a red light. When we told the officer what the papers were saying, he was dismissive, indicating that this detail did not come from NYPD."

http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/09/08/nypd-contrary-to-the-tabs-fallen-cyclist-nicholas-djandi-didnt-run-a-red/

Step up to the plate, commenters.
Sept. 8, 2011, 1:11 pm
Chris from Bushwick says:
The cyclist didn't run a red light. Who says so? The NYPD. So, Brooklyn Paper, when are you going to issue a correction to your article and end your victim-blaming?
Sept. 8, 2011, 1:54 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, a statement like that Pete makes me feel that you were the one who impersonated me. Nevertheless, why are you bike zealouts trying to justify breaking the laws? Why is it okay for cyclists to disobey all traffic lights and signs? Why is it good to be thrown into harm's way? BTW, why are some complaining that the cyclist didn't run a red light when the police report states otherwise? As usual, Streetsblog tries to spin it around. If anyone is complaining about the enforcement on cyclists, I say that the police isn't doing enough of it. Enough with this claim that it's blamming the victim when in fact the cyclist ran a red light to begin with.
Sept. 8, 2011, 6:16 pm
S from PPW says:
Tal, what part of

"A spokesperson told us there was no mention in the incident report of Djandji running a red light"

don't you understand?

The NYPD incident report does not mention the cyclist running a red light. That detail was invented by the media, including this newspaper.
Sept. 8, 2011, 8:32 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I strongly beleive that it was the case that the cyclist in questoin did run the red light as that was what more than one person told me at the latest Ratner town hall meeting that I went to yesterday. Besides, it makes sense, b/c that is why he was hit by the toyota b/c he was where he shouldn't have been . So. the issue of not running red light is thoroghly debunked. Again, the problem is not the motorist but rather is the cyclist, of course you won't get many taking my perspective b/c most of you are streetsblog bike zealouts or influenced by streetsblog bike zealouts. On a side note, it is just like what happens to Israel. Israel (the Toyota) is just doing what it is supposed to do while Hammas (the Biker) is playing the victim card even when they know they are at fault. The only things being invented are the stattements being made by some of the poasters here.
Sept. 9, 2011, 2:48 pm
Tal Barzillai from The Planet Kohutek says:
That could not have been me yesterday at 3:48 pm. At the time, I was busy throwing rancid compost at a picture of NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. An hour later, I spoke to my lawyer Dewey Cheatham. He agrees that my lawsuit against Streetsblog for their ongoing harassment and intimidation to my good intentions has merit and is going forward. Boy, are you guys in a lot of trouble!
Sept. 10, 2011, 2:19 pm
Tal Barzilla from Hummusville, N Y says:
Other Mike, I know it is you, so cut out the personal imposterizations. I could not have made that post today at 3:19 as I was watching a rerun of Mr. Rogers on PBS and I never miss it. On a side note, I do have a layer and he is recommending that I sue this site, streetsblog, Skyscrapercity.com, and the New York Times for allowing all the slanderus and imposter posts directed against my person. So, unless you want to find yourself at the end of a lawsuit, each of you guilty of impostering me over the last two years at the above sites should pay me 1 million dollars and seeson tickets to all WNBA games, or face 30 years in solitury confinement in a federal penetentiary, b/c the punishment for cyberimpostering is a capital crime.
Sept. 10, 2011, 8:16 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Hay imposterer

I prefer to be called Michael
Sept. 11, 2011, 4:26 am
George from Park Slope says:
This papers bicycle coverage is so ridiculous and so desperate to gin up controversy that I'm done with it. No more reading these posts and no more supporting your adverstisers.
Sept. 11, 2011, 8:39 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, I wasn't here yesterday or the day before. Whoever wrote that, wasn't me, not to mention that Hamas isn't even spelled right along with a bunch of other words. Reguardless, I don't buy into what a spokesperson says. Sometimes, they can be very biased, and bike zealout websites such as Streetsblog have a history of this. The point is that cyclists have to start following the rules, and such rules need to be enforces. I am tired of hearing your kind always acting like victims to the rules or thinking that they apply to anyone but themselves. Their very attitude is the reason why there is even a call to have them recquire licensing and registration just like all other vehicles. It's an irony that they want to use the road just like any other vehicles, but won't take the responsibilities that come with them.
Sept. 11, 2011, 11:48 am
Reguardless from Spell Hell says:
Reguardless, I don't buy into what a spokesperson says.
Sept. 11, 2011, 5:36 pm
Mike says:
I can't even tell which one is the parody Tal anymore, or whether they all are. Bravo.
Sept. 12, 2011, 11:18 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, it's probably because you did them to insult me, and you are a very good suspect unless you can tell me where you were at those times.
Sept. 12, 2011, 2:58 pm
Mike says:
I was visiting the white tigers at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Happy now?
Sept. 12, 2011, 4 pm
Mike says:
That could not have been me yesterday at 5 PM because I was helping broker a deal to bring a WNBA team to the Barclays Center. The only condition is that they must arrive at all games on bicycles via the PPW bike lane.
Sept. 13, 2011, 10:57 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville NY says:
Those comments couldn't have come from me because I rode my Handa Civic over to the White Plains mall to buy crak from my dealer. Then I went to the Secrete Sociaty meeting to learn myself up on how bicycle activist radicals like Marc Groton are actually Hamas agetns trying to infiltrate Amurican life.
Sept. 14, 2011, 10:26 am
Daquan13 from East Boston says:
Tal is a sick, depraved individual is nothing but a fanatic, a maniac who steals my screen name, my identidy, steals MY own personal pics of myself from other websites, smears my name all over the place to make me look like the bad guy and he just won't stop!!

I'm not letting him get away with this crap! The kids I tutor have more intelligense than that imbacile does! That bum who's been banned from streetsblog is over at NYTimes.com using MY screen name here. He's been sternly warned, and on my recommendation, he has been ordered not to use any of my pictures in his avatar! If you go over there and see his screen name (which is mine here), you'll see a KitchenAid mixer in his avatar. No wonder Tal was never disiplined! Probably did all the butt kissing for them by doing their dirty work!!
Sept. 14, 2011, 8:07 pm

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