2016 has been a terrible year for cycling deaths and injuries in New York. Saturday marked the twelfth cycling death the city has experienced this year. The New York Times reports that Matthew von Ohlen, 35, was intentionally struck down and killed by a black Chevrolet Camaro as he biked home to Brooklyn from his bartending job in Manhattan.
Security cameras from a nearby bar showed that Mr. von Ohlen was in the bike lane, following traffic rules, when the car intentionally swerved to hit him. He was later pronounced dead at Belleview Hospital. Police have not found the driver.
Mr. von Ohlen was an avid cyclist and the founder of Bikestock, a bike repair vending machine business. His death was mourned by his many friends in the biking community.
The New York Police Department reports that bicycle accidents in the 90th Precinct, where Mr. von Ohlen was killed, are up 51 percent this year. The police have been criticized for strictly reprimanding cyclists for infractions while failing to appropriately enforce the law when motorists commit traffic violations that injure or kill cyclists.
One traffic death is too many. Twelve traffic deaths is egregious. This death is a tragedy and a huge loss to the community. Hopefully, it will serve as a wake-up call to increase protections for bicyclists who are targeted on the streets of New York.