The truck driver who struck and killed a female cyclist in Bushwick this morning has been arrested for failing to yield to her in the bike lane.
Police said that at about 6:45 a.m., the truck driver made a left turn from Evergreen Avenue onto Hart Street, striking 27-year-old Leah Sylvain, who was riding in the bike lane. The driver, 52-year-old Joseph Cherry, remained at the scene, and Sylvain was transported to Woodhull Hospital, where she was pronounced dead upon admission.
Cherry was arrested and charged with two counts of failing to yield to a cyclist or pedestrian and causing injury; one count of failure to exercise due care; and one violation of a local law, though police couldn't specify which law.
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Failure to yield is a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail, and failure to exercise due care can similarly be punished by up to $500 and 15 days in jail.
Evergreen Avenue and Hart Street are not part of the city's network of truck routes, though the intersection is about a block away from Myrtle Avenue, which is a truck route.
In April, another cyclist, James Gregg, was killed by an off-route truck driver in Brooklyn, but that driver received only five summonses and no criminal charges. When another truck driver killed Heather Lough in the Bronx, he was charged with reckless driving and failure to yield.
"It was just over a month ago that two other cyclists were killed by trucks, and we know trucks are at least twice as deadly as other vehicles," said Caroline Samponaro, deputy director of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. "So on the one hand it's good news that the NYPD was quick to act and to charge the driver, but I think the rash of incidents of trucks killing cyclists points to a bigger problem, and as a city we need to be taking more proactive measures to hold professional drivers and fleet operators in New York City to higher standards."
According to NYPD crash data, the intersection of Hart and Evergreen has seen nine other collisions since 2013, none of which were fatal but two of which led to injuries. Google Streetview shows that Hart Street has sharrows, while Evergreen has a painted bike lane, but neither has a protected lane.
"There's a very clearly marked bike lane," Samponaro pointed out. "The thing about this part of Brooklyn is that it's a neighborhood with a lot of bike traffic and pedestrian traffic, but there has been a lot of truck traffic, so it's really important that's taken into account...There's no way the driver wasn't being anything but reckless. The cyclist was in a painted bike lane doing everything right."