On Saturday, per The New York Times, an 80-year-old cyclist was struck and killed by a charter bus in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, marking the second time in one week that a bus has been involved in a fatal crash with a cyclist in Chelsea. Now, residents are calling for safety reforms to keep cyclists safe on the streets of New York.
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) June 18, 2017
According to The New York Times, Michael Mamoukakis — an 80-year-old cobbler and cycling enthusiast — was riding his bike when he was struck near the intersection of West 29th Street and Seventh Avenue. Police reported that both Mamoukakis and the bus that struck him were traveling southbound on Seventh Avenue, and that Mamoukakis was hit by the bus when it attempted to turn right onto West 29th.
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” the driver of the bus that struck Mamoukakis told the New York Post. “I was driving the bus, but when I looked, I didn’t see anybody. When I heard the thump, I didn’t see anything.”
Gothamist reports that the bus driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged in the fatal crash. In a statement following Mamoukakis’ death, Chelsea City Council Member Corey Johnson said he was “angered and heartbroken to learn of a second cyclist fatality tonight in my district.”
WNYC reported that the accident has sparked cries for traffic reform among cycling advocates in New York City.
🚨2nd cyclist's death by coach bus in Chelsea this week. Buses on side streets are scourge to cyclists & pedestrians! https://t.co/0MMuC46FBB
— Senator Brad Hoylman (@bradhoylman) June 18, 2017
“We have to start making tough choices,” Caroline Samponaro, deputy director of the non-profit Transportation Alternatives, told WNYC, saying that the city needs to consider installing separate bike lanes and, as a result, eliminate parking spaces on narrow streets in the city. “As we see the number of daily riders go up every month, every year, we have to start to make decisions about how we’re going to use that space.”
While others echoed Samponaro’s calls for eliminating parking spaces to WNYC, some motorists told CBS New York that they often feel like cyclists are not cautious enough while biking through the city.
“They don’t really stick to a bike lane, they’re just, they’re all over traffic, they’re not really following the rules of the road,” one New Yorker told CBS Local about cyclists in the city.
WNYC reports that Mamoukakis, who immigrated to the United States from Greece, is the seventh cyclist involved in a fatal crash in New York in 2017. Mamoukakis’ brother told The New York Times that cycling brought his departed brother happiness.
“Biking was his pleasure,” Mamoukakis’ brother told the paper. “He loved his bike.”
Read more about biking in New York City