19th Cyclist Death This Year, Driver Charged
The creation of more bike lanes and the availability of Citi Bike has meant that there are more people biking in New York City than ever. While this could account for the increase in bicyclist fatalities over this year, it may not be the only factor. In 2018, there were 10 fatalities total involving bicyclists. So far for 2019, there have been 19 fatalities involving cyclists. Cycling enthusiasts have held protests, including a “die-in” where cyclists all laid down with their bicyclist to protest for better laws protecting cyclists. Even Mayor Bill de Blasio called the current number of cyclist deaths “a crisis.”
CBS Local New York reports that an 18-year-old driver has been charged in the death of the 19th cyclist.
On August 11th, 18-year-old Umar Mirza Baig ran a red light and slammed into an SUV in Coney Island. After being struck by Baig, the SUV struck and killed 52-year-old Jose Alzorriz. Alzorriz was an avid cycling safety enthusiast from Spain.
Also injured in the crash were the driver of the SUV and a pedestrian.
Baig was initially released without any charges. He was not intoxicated, he had a valid license, and all law enforcement had was a video of him running a red light. They had to wait for the DA’s office to press charges.
Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in, stating that the driver showed negligence and that there should be charges.
Police arrested Blaig on Wednesday and charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, and other charges.
Alzorriz was the 19th cyclist to be killed this year in New York City.