A 33-year-old cyclist was killed on Wednesday night in a collision with an MTA bus driver.
According to the NYPD, at around 7:30 p.m., Adrian Coyotl De Los Santos was riding his e-bike north on Graham Avenue near the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue, next to an MTA bus driver who was traveling the same direction.
"In the course of travel, the bicyclist collided with the side of the bus, for unknown reasons, and the bicyclist came to a rest on the roadway," the NYPD release states.
An NYPD spokesperson could not provide any additional context for this account. The investigation is ongoing, and the 50-year-old bus driver remained at the scene.
One witness told the Daily News that he had a conversation with De Los Santos moments before he was killed.
“We stopped to talk right there at the light, he was going to work in Greenpoint at a food truck. It’s crazy, he was just going to work,” the witness told the paper.
“This is a terrible tragedy and our heart goes out to the cyclist and their family during this tremendously difficult time," MTA spokesperson Amanda Valdes said in a statement. "Our thoughts are also with the bus operator. We are working closely with the NYPD on this matter.”
According to the MTA, there have been seven fatal crashes involving buses this year, though the agency pointed out that was out of 16,113,986 bus trips. Overall bus collisions declined by 22% and injuries decreased by 22% compared to 2019.
When it comes to traffic fatalities, it is not uncommon for witness accounts or video surveillance to contradict the police department's initial determination. In 2017, after cyclist Kelly Hurley was killed in the East Village by a truck driver making an illegal turn, an NYPD spokesperson asserted that Hurley had "slipped off her bike."
That same year, video footage obtained by Gothamist showed that cyclist Dan Hanegby was struck and killed by the driver of a tour bus in Midtown, contradicting the NYPD's initial claim that Hanegby "swerved" into the path of the bus.
In 2019, 14-year-old cyclist Mario Valenzuela was killed by a truck driver in Long Island City; police initially said that Valenzuela was “unable to stop before colliding with the front right side of the vehicle." Video evidence uncovered by his family's attorney showed that the truck driver veered left before making a hard-right turn into Valenzuela, without using their turn signal.
This year is on track to be the deadliest year on New York City streets since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014. At least 238 people have been killed in traffic crashes in 2020, 25 of them cyclists.
Danny Harris, the executive director for Transportation Alternatives, pointed out that a cyclist was killed by a truck driver in 2017 at the same intersection where De Los Santos was struck, but that the city hasn't installed any additional safety measures there.
"The Mayor has known this street is unsafe, has known the proven measures that prevent deaths, but has chosen not to act. This is inexcusable,” Harris said.
“Just yesterday, Mayor de Blasio said that ‘we are a Vision Zero city and we need to be more of a Vision Zero city.’ But with cyclists dying at increasing levels, and overall traffic fatalities rising for the second year in a row, we need action and not words from Mayor de Blasio to stop the carnage on our streets now.”
The Department of Transportation said that they have retimed traffic signals on Metropolitan Avenue to 25 miles per hour, and have given pedestrians more time to cross the intersection.
Alana Morales, a spokesperson for the DOT, said in a statement, "This is an awful tragedy and we mourn with the victim's family. We've taken permanent steps to make NYC's streets safer this year, but Vision Zero means no death is acceptable. We're committed to building on our progress for the rest of this administration and we won't rest until our streets are safer for everyone."
This post has been updated with a statement from the DOT.