A 66-year-old Hell’s Kitchen resident has died nearly a month after an e-bike accident outside the Javits Center, according to police.
Kwok Kwan was doored by a car passenger on 11th Avenue and W37th Street at around 11am on Sunday, January 16. He died of his injuries in hospital on February 11. Kwan’s bike collided with the rear passenger door of a Toyota Prius and fell to the street. He suffered head injuries and was initially taken to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital. Police said that Kwan lived at The Westport on the corner of 10th Avenue and W56th Street.
Streetsblog reported this morning that neither the 42-year-old driver nor his passenger were summonsed. In just the three blocks near the convention center where Kwan was struck, there have been 90 reported crashes since January 2019, injuring four cyclists, eight pedestrians and 17 motorists. The Department of Transport records show that this is the first cyclist death of 2022. Police said the investigation is ongoing.
Streetsblog also reported that “On the larger mile-and-a-half stretch from W57th Street to the end of 11th Avenue at West Street, there have been 913 reported crashes over the same three-year period, injuring 32 cyclists, 48 pedestrians and 118 motorists, with a cyclist and a pedestrian being killed.”
Earlier this month, local council member Erik Bottcher held a press conference in Hell’s Kitchen about improving bike safety on 10th and 11th Avenues. In October last year, the city extended a bike lane on 11th Avenue heading from W42nd Street toward the Javits Center. Many at the time made the point that this gave little protection to cyclists without the addition of Jersey barriers.
This afternoon, Jeffrey LeFrancois, the Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, reacted to the news, saying: “Another preventable death of a cyclist because New York City is decades behind in planning for safety for all users of the street, not just vehicles — and it’s devastating. Manhattan Community Board 4 has a long history of advocating for safety first in all the city’s planning. We’re losing neighbors at an alarming rate because change in the name of safety takes so long.”
Local activist Christine Berthet from CHEKPEDS told us: “This is so upsetting but not surprising: The transition where the cyclist goes from the protected bike lane to traffic chaos is extremely dangerous, as the awareness does not switch fast enough. We hope New York City Department of Transport will extend the protected bike lane on 11th Avenue from W38th to W23rd very soon.”
Electric bikes are banned from the Hudson River Greenway, which runs parallel to 11th Avenue and is the busiest bike path in the country. It’s unclear whether Kwan had taken the 11th Avenue option on his e-bike because of that.