On January 10, 2023, Sarah Schick, 37, was struck and killed by a truck driver along an especially dangerous stretch of 9th Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn. She was riding an electric Citi bike on a section of road where a protected bike lane ends and transitions into sharrows — painted arrows on the road which offer no protection from vehicles at all. She died at the scene. Schick was the mother of two young daughters — 6-year-old Lena and 9-year-old Manon.
Victim's family is suing the city for negligence
This week, Schick’s family announced a lawsuit filed against the city for $100 million in municipal negligence. Streetsblog NYC reports that there have been five previous deaths on that same corridor in the past 18 years. Schick’s widowed husband Maxime Le Munier says that the city was well aware of the danger of that section of road and continued to do nothing. The family also plans to sue the driver of the 26-foot box truck, who collided with Schick as she was riding, and caused a gruesome crash.
Much of 9th Street saw the addition of protected bike lanes in 2019, but the Department of Transportation neglected this section of road from Prospect Park West to Smith Street — a heavily trafficked area for pedestrians and cyclists, especially children. This area of Brooklyn is full of families, schools, and parks.
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Other cyclists have died in the same intersection
In 2004, two young boys — 11-year-old Victor Flores and 10-year-old Juan Angel Estrada — were hit and killed by a truck driver while they were walking home from school on that same stretch of road. Then in 2018 a driver hit and killed two children — 1-year-old Joshua Lew and 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein — and injured a mother, which resulted in the death of her unborn baby.
Schick’s family says that she would still be alive if protected bike lanes existed on the entire stretch of 9th Street. A section of road that the New York Times identified as exceptionally dangerous in 2004, and that advocates have continually pointed at since. In addition to so many tragic deaths, Streetsblog NYC reports that 11 cyclists and six pedestrians have been injured in the 48 reported crashes between Third Avenue and Smith Street since 2020, according to city stats via Crash Mapper.
No amount of money will bring back the lives of those lost, but Schick’s family is hopeful that the city will add the necessary infrastructure to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.