A cyclist was killed and two others were injured after a teenage driver blew through a red light in Midwood on Sunday, crashing into an SUV and sending both vehicles careening onto the sidewalk, police said. The tragedy marks the 14th cyclist fatality this year in Brooklyn alone, compared to ten in all of 2018.
According to an NYPD spokesperson, the 18-year-old driver was traveling south on Coney Island Avenue at around 12:30 p.m. when he T-boned a blue Honda SUV at the intersection of Avenue L. Dashcam video captured the moment of impact, with both vehicles flying across the intersection, crushing the unsuspecting cyclist as he waited for the light. (Warning: footage is disturbing)
The victim has been identified as 52-year-old Jose Alzorriz, a Park Slope resident. He was found unconscious at the scene and transported to Coney Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A pedestrian was also hospitalized with a leg injury, and the driver of the SUV suffered body trauma—both were listed as stable, according to a police spokesperson.
The teenage driver was taken into custody and questioned by police, but was released Sunday night without charges. (A separate police spokesperson said that charges were pending).
Nineteen cyclists have died on city streets this year, the highest number to date since the launch of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative in 2014. In response, city officials have vowed to crack down on drivers and accelerate the installation of safe cycling infrastructure—though some advocates say the situation on Coney Island Avenue is proof of the mayor’s lagging commitment to street safety.
has @NYCMayor ever been down to coney island avenue? there’s virtually no vision zero improvements and i, as a pedestrian, have came very close to getting hit by a car twice. https://t.co/WsOan0Sgi2
— zainab iqbal (@planetzainab) August 11, 2019
Coney Island Avenue is a death trap. A pedestrian was killed there last month. A vigil was held for her on Thursday. https://t.co/Zv8oRusAyb https://t.co/QHDJ5hIkXX
— Doug Gordon (@BrooklynSpoke) August 11, 2019
Just last month, a pedestrian was killed in the crosswalk of Coney Island Avenue prompting calls for pedestrian-friendly changes to the busy highway-like street. Streetsblog notes that there have been at least 578 crashes on the 2.7 mile corridor since last July, injuring 19 cyclists, 43 pedestrians and 114 motorists. A local resident told the outlet that a “complete lack of enforcement for double parking” is partially to blame, causing drivers to “zig zag in and out of lanes and make turns from the wrong lane.”
A spokesperson for the DOT could not immediately say whether a redesign was under consideration.
“Coney Island Avenue is a hostile environment, especially for those not in a vehicle,” said Transportation Alternatives’ Thomas DeVito in a statement. “Designed to move cars as quickly as possible, this street is incompatible with Vision Zero.”
The advocacy group is demanding an immediate redesign of the deadly street. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also called Sunday for the DOT to begin a safety study into potential traffic calming measures on the corridor.
A spokesperson for the mayor, who was in Iowa at the time of the crash, said in a statement, “This was a tragedy, and we offer our deepest condolences to the victim’s family. From the expanded use of speed cameras to the Green Wave plan to protect cyclists, we pledge to continue our efforts to prevent such needless tragedy and reach Vision Zero.”