Cyclist Killed in Brownsville is 14th, Well Surpassing All of Last Year

TransAlt Declares Vision Zero in a State of Emergency; Calls for a Reckoning of Racial Inequities in Safe Street Infrastructure
Joseph Cutrufo -
(646) 873-6027

Statement of Transportation Alternatives Interim Co-Executive Director Marco Conner:


“Last night, Ernest Askew, a 57-year-old cyclist, was killed by a driver in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He is the 14th cyclist killed in 2019. The number of cyclists killed in 2019 had already surpassed the number killed in the entirety of the prior year on May 14, when cyclist Kenichi Nakagawa succumbed to injuries sustained three days earlier when he was struck by a driver in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Today, just over a month later, the death toll stands four above all of last year. Vision Zero is in a state of emergency, and the mayor is absent. 


The City of New York is fully aware of how to protect cyclists like Ernest Askew; protected bike lanes are statistically proven to reduce these crashes. But frankly, the lack of protected bike lanes in Brownsville sends the message that our Mayor is not willing to invest equally in already disenfranchised neighborhoods of color. Wealthy, predominantly white neighborhoods not only have more bike lanes, but more of the safe protected bike lanes we know save lives. This modern inequity sits atop historically unequal investment in infrastructure in black neighborhoods, making streets in Brownsville doubly unsafe.

In the coming weeks, Mayor de Blasio must develop a comprehensive plan to rescue Vision Zero, including a revision to existing plans in recognition of the rising tide of cyclist fatalities. He must adopt the City Council’s plan for a connected network of protected bike lanes, building out 50-100 miles per year, and ensure aggressive investment in neighborhoods of color. All future protected bike lane installation should provide safe passage for cyclists where it is most needed and seek to correct these long standing racial inequities.”