On February 28th, 2019, my daughter Aurilla Lawrence was struck by an oil tanker truck near the intersection of Broadway and Rodney Street in Brooklyn. The driver attempted to pass Aurilla and came back in on her causing her to lose control. She ended up under the wheels of his truck.
This driver took my daughter's life, and he didn’t even stop. He left her to die alone on the street as he continued on his way.
Aurilla loved to ride and was well-known in the New York City cycling community. It became her life, inspired her passions and helped her to connect with people from every walk of life. Aurilla was a very skilled cyclist. She knew how to handle herself and her bike, which was practically an extension of herself.
I have read that there have been talks of bicycle lanes being placed in the area where Aurilla was killed. My only question is, why has this not been done yet? I’m sure many other families have the same question as well. My daughter wasn’t the only person struck in this area. Action must be taken.
Far too many families have had to bury a loved one this year because of unsafe streets and reckless drivers. Nothing will bring her back, but at the very least Mayor de Blasio ought to be doing everything in his power to make sure nobody else’s family has to go through what mine has.
But they’re doing the opposite. I was furious to learn that the morning after Aurilla was killed, police were out giving tickets to bicyclists on the same block where she was struck. The truck driver was the one who killed my daughter and fled the scene, so why were the police out on the street treating cyclists like criminals? Did Mayor de Blasio not understand that many of these cyclists who were being targeted were actually headed to a memorial ride in honor of Aurilla?
People on bikes aren’t the ones maiming and killing people—it’s the cars and trucks. So maybe the mayor should tell the police to use their resources more wisely by making sure the worst drivers have a harder time getting behind the wheel. It doesn’t seem right that drivers who kill people should be able to continue to put their fellow New Yorkers in danger.
It’s also time to stop making excuses for dangerous streets. Since the street where my daughter was killed is missing a bike lane, and if it seems like putting up a bike lane would prevent somebody else’s daughter from getting killed, it’s probably time to put in a bike lane. Seems pretty straightforward.
A few years ago Aurilla wrote on her Facebook page that “biking taught me that you should have no hesitation when it comes to believing in your movements. Sometimes I feel like poetry in motion.”
It’s impossible to feel that way if you live in fear that you might get run down every time you get on your bike. But Aurilla was a fearless bicyclist. Mayor de Blasio, please honor her by being a fearless mayor and doing everything you can to eliminate all this senseless death.