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NYC Cyclist Deaths: Hundreds Rally To Honor Man Killed In Brooklyn, Call For Safer Bike Lanes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Bicyclists in Brooklyn are demanding safer bike lanes across the city after 19 of their own were killed this year.

That number includes a man who was killed after police say a driver ran a red light, causing an SUV to slam into the cyclist, CBS2's Marc Liverman reports.

A sea of supportive cyclists rallied Sunday at Bartel-Pritchard Square next to Prospect Park to honor 52-year-old Jose Alzorriz, who was killed while waiting at a red light. He had become a staple in the cycling community.

Alzorriz was dating Amanda Hanna-McLeer's mother.

"This is the community showing their love," Hanna-McLeer said.

cyclist rally
At the end of the rally on Aug. 25, the cyclists made their way to the intersection where Alzorriz died, placing a white bicycle there as a memorial and hoping this tragedy can lead to change. (Photo: CBS2)

Brooklyn prosecutors say the man responsible for Alzorriz's death is 18-year-old Umar Baig, who is due back in court in October.

On Aug. 11, Baig was allegedly speeding, going over 60 mph in a 25 mph zone, on Coney Island Avenue. Authorities say he then ran a red light at Avenue L and struck an SUV, causing that vehicle to hit Alzorriz.

"When he passed, I was just struck on so many levels, and I knew that he would want to do something like this," Jonathan Blyer, Alzorriz's friend, said.

Blyer and Alzorriz's partner, Irene Hanna, brought hundreds of cyclists together in his memory.

"He was a wonderful person, supportive. He was a real partner," Hanna said. "It would make him really happy because he was a huge advocate for cyclists and pedestrians for safety."

The cyclists aren't just asking for more bike lanes; they're demanding that the city make cycling safer. They want bike lanes to be protected and connected across all five boroughs.

"We don't need bike lanes. Those are garbage. We need protected bike lanes that cars can't double-park in, that motorists can't drive through," one person said. "We need a safe place to travel."

At the end of the rally, the cyclists made their way to the intersection where Alzorriz died, placing a white bicycle there as a memorial and hoping this tragedy can lead to change.

Meanwhile, Baig faces multiple charges, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. He was released on $10,000 cash bail.

There have been 19 cyclists deaths in New York City so far this year, compared to 10 in all of 2018:

  • Jan. 1 – Hugo Alexander Sinto Garcia, 26, was killed on Third Avenue near East 28th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
  • Jan. 4 – Hector Ayala, 41, was killed on Linden Boulevard near Crescent Street in East New York, Brooklyn.
  • Jan. 26 – Susan Moses, 63, was killed at Kings Highway and Van Sicklen Street in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
  • Feb. 4 – Joseph Chiam, 72, was killed by a tractor-trailer truck at 8th Avenue and 45th Street in Midtown, Manhattan. The driver took off.
  • Feb. 28 – Aurilla Lawrence, 25, was killed at Broadway and Rodney Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  • March 14 – Robert Spencer, 53, was killed at Borden Avenue and Second Street in Long Island City, Queens.
  • April 17 – Pedro Tepozteco, 26, was killed on 47th Street near 17th Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
  • April 27 – Victor Ang, 74, was killed on 11th Avenue near West 30th Street in Chelsea, Manhattan.
  • May 11 – Kenichi Nakagawa, 22, was killed at Dean Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
  • May 12 – Robert Sommer, 29, was killed by a car on Avenue U between Burnett and East 33rd streets in Marine Park, Brooklyn.
  • May 15 – Yisroel Schwartz, 16, was killed at 17th Avenue and 53rd Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
  • June 9 – Mohammed Abdullah, 29, was killed by a car at Avenue D and 105th Street in Canarsie, Brooklyn. The driver was charged with driving while intoxicated with her 4-year-old daughter in the backseat.
  • June 24 – Robyn Hightman, 20, was killed by a tractor-trailer truck at West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue. The driver was cited for equipment violations.
  • June 27 – Ernest Askew, 57, was killed by a car at Chester Street and Sutter Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
  • July 1 – Devra Freelander, 28, was killed by a cement truck at Boerum Street and Bushwick Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  • July 23 – Alex Cordero, 17, was killed by tow truck at Castleton Avenue and Clove Road in the West Brighton section of Staten Island.
  • July 23 – A 58-year-old man was killed by a box truck at McGuiness Boulevard and Norman Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
  • July 29 – A 30-year-old woman was killed by a tractor-trailer at 35th Street and Third Avenue in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn.
  • Aug. 11 - Jose Alzorriz, 52, was killed when a car ran a red light and slammed into an SUV at Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
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