The distraught family of a Brooklyn cyclist killed when she was hit by a box truck says the area’s poorly designed streets are responsible for her death and is suing New York City for $100 million.
Sarah Schick, 37, a mother of two, was riding her bicycle on Ninth Street near Second Avenue in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn at about 7:20 a.m. Jan. 10 when a truck hit her on the bike path, which is unprotected.
Lawyer Sam Davis said her death could have been avoided if better safety measures had been taken in the notoriously dangerous stretch of Ninth Street that forces cyclists to share the bike path with cars and trucks.
The tragedy marks the sixth fatality in 18 years along the Ninth Street corridor, prompting protesters and cyclists to hold a “die-in” near the area where Schick was killed, while a growing memorial filled with flowers and photos could be seen.
Department of Transportation officials have since announced that the unsecured section of Ninth Street would be redeveloped later this year.
Sarah Schick, 37, died with her husband Maxime Le Mounier after being hit by a truck last month on a shared lane on Ninth Street near Second Avenue in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood
Department of Transportation officials have since announced that the unprotected portion of Ninth Street will be redesigned later this year
Schick’s family said they also plan to charge the 39-year-old driver of a 2022 26-foot Freightliner box truck that remained at the scene. No one has been charged in the crash.
Both the truck and Schick were driving through the intersection when the light turned green, but as the lane narrowed, the truck plowed into her electric Citi Bike, police said.
Her steering wheel hit the truck and was thrown to the ground, where the truck’s rear tires ran her over, police added.
Davis, the family’s attorney, said some city streets, like the one Schick was driving on that day, are filled with “deadly flaws.”
He explained that the shared job – known as a “sharrow” – contributed to Schick’s death.
“This is what happens when a 26-foot box truck with a 6-foot cab that is eight feet wide is asked to navigate a narrow lane,” Davis said Monday. “That leaves a meter or less of space on that road.”
He said her death is due to the the city’s failure to do what it is their responsibility to do, i.e. to study what a safe street is, to design it as a safe street, to bring it up to date with what the current needs are to respond to the many deaths and injuries and collisions.
“Sarah’s death will be the force that forces the City of New York to remedy these deadly deficiencies,” Davis added.
Protesters and cyclists organized a ‘die-in’ near the area where Schick was killed, while a growing memorial filled with flowers and photos was on display
Lawyer Sam Davis said her death could have been prevented if better security measures had been taken in the notoriously dangerous stretch of Ninth Street
A memorial to Schick was placed at the intersection where she died. Her husband Maxime Le Mounier said the city should be held responsible for her death. They have two children
The Department of Transportation added protected bike lanes to much of Ninth Street in 2019, but a swath remained unprotected for cyclists west of Third Avenue
He also said there is no proper reporting of lane merging.
“Unfortunately, that sign was placed about 300 feet from where it was supposed to be placed, where the dedicated bike path ended,” Davis said.
The Department of Transportation added protected bike lanes to much of Ninth Street in 2019, but a swath remained unprotected for cyclists west of Third Avenue. This has not changed despite pressure to make improvements as accidents continued to occur in the same area.
“The only change that was made was a delay in the traffic lights that give a pedestrian or cyclist a chance to cross the intersection before being overtaken by vehicular traffic,” Davis said.
The New York City Department of Transportation said it will study street design, which happens at every intersection of an accident.
Schick was a director of a finance company that raised funds for transportation projects
Schick, pictured with her two children, lived in Brooklyn and often posted photos to Facebook
Her lawyer said she was involved in infrastructure projects that made the kind of difference in community safety in those communities that we need from the city
Schick was the wife of Maxime Le Mounier, who said the city should be held responsible for her death. They have two children aged 6 and 9.
“It is unacceptable that Sarah died while respecting all traffic rules,” said Le Mounier. “The city needs to take action and be held accountable for what happened.”
Schick was a director of a finance company that raised funds for transportation projects.
“She was involved in infrastructure projects in those communities that made the kind of difference in community safety that we need from the City of New York,” Davis said in the press. He called it “the irony” of the situation.
Schick’s family is still trying to come to terms with their loss.
“There is a lot of uncertainty in our future at the moment. So we just take it day by day,” said Le Mounier NBC4.
“There are no words to describe what we actually live,” said Evelyne Schick, the victim’s mother.
Schick’s death was just the latest Ninth Street tragedy in years to spark calls for a redesign.
Le Mounier said it is “unacceptable that Sarah died in violation of all traffic rules. The city must take action and be held accountable for what happened’
Schick’s family said they are still trying to come to terms with their loss. In the picture with her children
Schick’s Facebook page is filled with family photos. She has been with her husband since high school
“There is a lot of uncertainty in our future at the moment. We just take it day by day,” said Le Mounier
In 2018, a car driven by Dorothy Bruns drove into two children Joshua Lew, 1, and Abigail Blumenstein, 4, killing them at the crosswalk on Ninth Street at Fourth Avenue. Blumenstein’s mother, actress Ruthie Ann Miles, who was injured in the crash, also later lost her unborn child.
The tragedy sparked an outcry and led lawyers to meet with DOT officials about the need to add security measures to all of Ninth Street.
But the Ministry of Transport chose to add only a protected bike path and between Prospect Park West and Third Avenue and pedestrian islands, despite pressure from elected officials at the time to extend the improvements all the way to Smith Street.
Fourteen years earlier, in 2004, Victor Flores, 11, and Juan Angel Estrada, 10, were beaten and killed on Ninth Street at Third Avenue while walking home from school.
Lawyers said they have been fighting for years to make the streets safe.
Le Munier said he didn’t learn about the Ninth Street fatalities until after his wife’s death.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Le Munier. “She died respecting all traffic rules, so the city should be safer for cyclists. That particular intersection and many others in the city need to be made safer, and we don’t want to see another tragedy.”