Another Cyclist Killed at East Harlem Intersection, NYPD Again Blames Victim

E. 108th Street and Park Avenue, where two cyclists have been killed by motorists in the past year. Image: Google Maps

For the second time in less than a year, a cyclist has been killed by a motorist at the intersection of E. 108th Street and Park Avenue, in East Harlem.

On Sunday evening at around 7:40 p.m., 18-year-old Marvin Ramirez was riding east on E. 108th when he was hit by the driver of a Dodge sedan, who was traveling north on Park, according to DNAinfo and the Post.

Ramirez suffered head trauma and died at Harlem Hospital. The driver was not charged.

Park Avenue is divided by the viaduct, which limits visibility at intersections, from E. 102nd Street to points north. One cyclist and three pedestrians were killed on Park between E. 97th and E. 132nd between 2000 and 2008, according to Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat.

Published reports included no mention of driver speed. The Post took care to report, however, that “Police said the cyclist sailed through a steady red light.” Unless a motorist who kills a cyclist or pedestrian is drunk or leaves the scene, NYPD normally leaks crash information to the media only when it serves to exculpate the motorist.

Case in point: The Post and the Associated Press reported last week that a cyclist riding a Citi Bike ran a light before she was hit by a livery driver. Fortunately, the victim lived to tell her side of the story. According to writer and occasional Streetsblog contributor Alex Marshall, the victim says she was proceeding through a yellow light when the driver “jumped the green” in an attempt to get in front of another motorist. Many times, the victim of a bike or pedestrian crash is unable to rebut the driver’s version of events.

A ghost bike was installed at E. 108th and Park last summer, following the death of Shaquille Cochrane, who was struck by the driver of a yellow cab on July 30, 2012. Like Ramirez, Cochrane was 18. The crash happened at 7:50 p.m., about the same time as the crash that killed Ramirez. NYPD’s own accounts of the crash varied, but police told Streetsblog Cochrane was riding the wrong way on E. 108th, which is one-way eastbound, and the cab driver was traveling south. No charges were reported filed against the driver.

This fatal crash occurred in the 23rd Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Eric Pagan, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 23rd Precinct council meetings happen at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the precinct, 164 E. 102 Street. Call the precinct at 212-860-6430 for information.

The City Council district where Marvin Ramirez was killed is represented by Melissa Mark-Viverito. Mark-Viverito is one of the council’s strongest voices for street safety, but she should be alerted to dangerous conditions at this intersection. Mark-Viverito may be contacted at 212-828-9800, mviverito@council.nyc.gov and @MMViverito.