A charter bus driver killed 80-year-old cyclist Michael Mamoukakis in Chelsea on Saturday, the second such fatal crash in less than a week.
Mamoukakis was riding south on Seventh Avenue, with traffic, at around 1:30 in the afternoon when the driver struck him while turning right onto W. 29th Street, NYPD told the Times and other media outlets.
“The bike, I guess, was in the crosswalk,” the bus driver told the Post:
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” she added.
“I was driving the bus, but when I looked, I didn’t see anybody. When I heard the thump, I didn’t see anything. He was laying over there on he ground, in the crosswalk.”
“I turned around and I saw bus wheels go over a man’s body,” a witness told the Daily News. “It was horrible.”
Mamoukakis, a retired cobbler who according to his family rode his bike regularly, died at Bellevue Hospital.
The bus was registered to Buckeye Limousine and Charters Corporation of Ohio, the Times reported. The driver’s name was not released by NYPD or reported in any media coverage that we’ve seen.
If the crash occurred as NYPD says, Mamoukakis would have had the right of way. Streetsblog has messages in with NYPD and the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance for updates on the case.
There is no bike lane where Mamoukakis was hit. Earlier this year DOT announced a plan to add a protected bikeway to Seventh from 30th Street to Clarkson Street, where thousands of people bike every day.
Last Monday a charter bus driver sideswiped 36-year-old father of two Dan Hanegby on W. 26th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, knocking him to the street and killing him. That crash prompted a renewed call — from City Council transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez, Transportation Alternatives, and members of the public — for protected bike lanes on crosstown Manhattan streets.
City Council Member Corey Johnson, who represents the district where both crashes occurred, wants to convene “an emergency meeting that includes the NYC DOT, the NYPD, my colleagues in government, Community Board 4 and representatives of charter bus companies that operate in Chelsea and West Midtown,” Gothamist reported.
City traffic code prohibits buses from streets that aren’t designated truck routes, but Manhattan Community Board 4 chair Christine Berthet says non-compliance is common.
Neither W. 29th Street, where the driver who struck Mamoukakis was going, nor W. 26th Street, where Hanegby was killed, are truck routes.
“It’s so prevalent in Midtown,” Berthet told Streetsblog. “It’s a regular occurrence. They [bus companies] know the bus routes. They publish a document that [says] buses should respect the truck routes, so this is very clear.”
Berthet says it’s not realistic to station NYPD officers “at every corner catching buses.” She believes it would be more effective to link route compliance with companies’ ability to do business in NYC.
“The risk of losing their stops or their license would be helpful,” says Berthet, “so that the companies really do proper education and the proper self-enforcement.”
With reporting by David Meyer.