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Bicyclist Killed by Driver on East Houston Street Last Night

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Photos by Sara Brittany Somerset.
Photos by Sara Brittany Somerset.

Editor’s note: Reporting for this story was provided by Sara Brittany Somerset.

There was a fatal traffic accident on East Houston Street near Pitt Street last night. It happened around 10 p.m. A bicyclist was struck by a driver in a station wagon. The force of the collision sent the bike flying into the air. It landed inside the center island on East Houston Street. The contents of a large bag of food the victim was apparently carrying were strewn on the pavement. The driver stayed on the scene. Police say “there is no apparent criminality,” meaning charges are not expected to be filed.

UPDATED 9:59 A.M. The victim was 61-year old Shan Zheng, who lived in Ossining, in Westchester County.  The driver was behind the wheel of a livery cab. Zheng was on Pitt Street, heading north. The driver was moving east on Houston Street.

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  1. Why do you mention the point about the bike lane? First of all, how do you know he wasn’t in the bike lane? It seems unlikely that, after a crash of such force, there’d be much certainty about where the bike started out. Secondly, do you know why he wasn’t in the bike lane? They’re often obstructed and, even when not, the risks from opening car doors are such that it’s safer to be elsewhere. Thirdly, why would his being or not being in the bike lane have any bearing on whether a driver barreled into him with enough force to send his bike flying into the air? There’s no legal obligation to use bike lanes in most places, certainly not when they’re obstructed. It sounds as if it might have been more germane to question the speed the motorist was driving.

  2. The bike lane on Montgomery/Pitt Street heading north stops at Grand St. There is no bike lane on Pitt between Grand and Houston. That stretch of Pitt Street right before Houston would not be wide enough to have both, so even if there was a bike lane, it would have to be shared.

  3. This accident is a tragedy..but all too often I have seen bicyclists especially delivery men totally ignore the traffic laws. They go right through stop signs, red lights go the wrong way on one way streets and bike onto sidewalks at fast speeds with total impunity to either their safety or that of pedestrians. Having almost been seriously been injured after being hit by bicycle delivery men it is time for greater education to be given to bicyclists about following the NYC traffic laws and riding their bikes in a safer way. Until that happens these type of accidents will continue to occur.

  4. The livery cab driver hit this cyclist with such force that his bike flew many feet into the air. I don’t know about your experience of New York City traffic but I regularly see drivers of all kinds – including, often, livery cab drivers – driving without due attention and at grossly excessive speed. There’s nothing like enough detail in this piece to suggest precisely what caused this terrible tragedy. But it certainly sounds as if the livery cab was going fast and evidently too fast to avoid the crash. There’s also plenty of research into New York crashes that shows most crashes between motorists and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists are the motorist’s fault. There’s no reason at all to jump to the conclusion that the poor victim brought this tragedy on himself.

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