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NYPD Upholds Tradition Of Ticketing Cyclists Near Site Of Fatal Hit-And-Run

A cyclist is issued a ticket in Greenpoint this week.
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A cyclist is issued a ticket in Greenpoint this week. via Luke Ohlson's Twitter

Police officers have been on a cyclist ticketing blitz in Greenpoint this week near the intersection where 27-year-old Neftaly Ramirez was killed by the driver of a private sanitation truck while biking home last weekend, according to tweets from locals.

Franklin Street is a popular cycling route, as it leads directly into the protected lane on Kent Avenue. Cycling advocates say the tactic is unfair, as summonses for careless driving are rare.

"I've heard directly from police officers that they have a policy to ticket all road users, but we only ever see cyclists," said Caroline Samponaro, an organizer with Transportation Alternatives, following Ramirez's death. A new petition from the group calling on the City Council to help "change the policy" has 467 signatures as of this writing. It references other recent ticket blitzes in the aftermath of cyclist deaths: Matthew von Ohlen and Lauren Davis in Brooklyn, Kelly Hurley in Manhattan.

Bushwick saw a 160 percent increase in cyclist tickets between mid-May and Mid-June over 2016, according to a recent DNAInfo analysis. The local precinct said the crackdown followed a spike in cyclist "accidents."

"They don't have to ride in the bike lane but they do have to stop at stop signs," said 83rd Precinct Deputy Inspector Sergio Centa at the time. "When we see an increase in accidents that's where we direct our enforcement."

Police stationed a digital sign seeking tips on the driver at the intersection where Ramirez was killed, the video below shows. Police have also identified the garbage truck involved in the crash: it belongs to Action Carting and has New Jersey plates, according to the NYPD.

Ramirez, who lived in the East Village, was fatally struck shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 22nd, according to the NYPD. A preliminary report from the Collision Investigation Squad found that he was cycling on Franklin Street when a garbage truck driver, headed south, turned right on Noble Street and struck him. The driver left the scene and Ramirez was pronounced dead.

Ramirez was known as "Neffy" to his coworkers at Paulie Gee's pizza restaurant.

"He was a very gentle and innocent young man," proprietor Paul Giannone told Gothamist. "That's the best way to describe his demeanor.... The most important aspect of his job was the social aspect of it. He loved being with his coworkers."

Local politicians gathered Tuesday at the intersection of Noble and Franklin streets, demanding that the garbage truck driver turn himself in, according to DNAInfo.

"I'm appealing to the perpetrator’s basic humanity and asking them to turn themselves in," said Greenpoint councilman Steve Levin. "Neftaly Ramirez was just leaving work, engaged to be married, and by all accounts a beloved member of the community, and his life was cut short."

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