Accidents involving sanitation trucks and pedestrians or bicyclists seem to occur frequently. One more happened last week, when a private sanitation truck operated by CityWide hit a bike rider at 23rd and Madison Avenue.
How the accident occurred is the subject of some debate. Eyewitnesses quoted in one news story say that the bicyclist was walking her bike along the curb when she was struck. Another article reported that she was riding her bike and had just moved into traffic. In any event, nearby pedestrians cried out the sanitation truck driver to stop, but it was too late. The cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to reports, the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet, although at least one report suggested that it would have made no difference in the outcome of the accident. She was reported to be around 60 years old, and blonde.
The sanitation truck driver has not been charged, and police have reported that no charges are expected.
The incident has sparked many online posts and comments, some of which suggest that such accidents are the fault of transportation commissioner Janette Sadik, who has transformed the city by adding hundreds of miles of in-street bike lanes. The result, according to critics, has been a significant increase in the number of both bicycle riders on city streets and the number of bicycle accidents.
Sources: Examiner, “Bicyclist’s body mangled under wheels of garbage truck in deadly accident,” Jan. 5, 2013: Gothamist, “Cyclist Fatally Struck By Private Garbage Truck In Flatiron District,” Jan. 4, 2013.