By Lincoln Anderson
A bicyclist was struck and killed by a truck on E. Houston and Elizabeth Sts. on the morning of Wed., June 22. Police responded to the scene at 10:24 a.m. The biker, Andrew Ross Morgan, 25, of 517 47th St., in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, was taken to St. Vincents Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
According to police, the truck and bicyclist were both traveling westbound on Houston St. when the truck turned right onto Elizabeth St., and Morgan was trapped under the truck.
A police spokesperson said the truck driver, 42, did not leave the scene. He was issued a summons for an expired inspection sticker. No arrests were made.
Morgans is the second death of a bicyclist on E. Houston St. in just over a month. On May 8, Brandie Bailey, 21, was killed at E. Houston St. and Avenue A when she was hit by a private garbage truck while riding a fixed-gear track bike.
The site of Wednesdays accident is a block and a half from the headquarters of the pro-cycling group Times Up! Bill Di Paolo, Times Up!s founder and director, said he arrived at the scene just after the biker had been taken to the hospital. Di Paolo said the mans bicycle and helmet were still on the ground, and that the normal-looking 10-speed road bike appeared undamaged.
It was a big white truck, he said. Not an 18-wheeler, but just before that.
Di Paolo noted there is a construction project in the middle of Houston St. on that block, which narrows the number of lanes on each side from three to two, squeezing traffic. The street surface is also rough and uneven, with its top layers having been stripped off for the project and covered with large concrete slabs in spots.
Last week, Times Up! renewed its memorial campaign of spray painting stencils of the outline of bodies and the names of bikers and pedestrians where they were killed by cars and trucks. Times Up! started by painting four stencils at the Houston St./Avenue A intersection, one of the deadliest in Manhattan.
This is very ironic, because we have launched a campaign that focuses on the dangers of cycling and the dangers of Houston St., Di Paolo said. And heres another death on Houston St. The community is outraged at the increase in cyclists deaths. This is the third cyclist killed [in the city] in just over a month. The bicyclist community is demanding more infrastructure from the city to create safer streets and punish drivers who injure pedestrians and cyclists.
Two years ago, the Department of City Planning presented Community Board 3 some preliminary findings for an E. Houston pedestrian safety study for pedestrians improvements and a bike lane, as well. But David Crane, chairperson of the C.B. 3 Transportation Committee, said they havent heard anything back from City Planning.
A bike lane makes it clear to motorists to expect to see bicyclists, though it doesnt give total safety, Crane noted. Houston St. is a street that could really use bicycle lanes and for pedestrians its too wide.