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Tragic Accident Claims Cyclist’s Life on Empire Blvd.

CROWN HEIGHTS [CHI] — A Jewish woman in her early 20s died after being struck by a truck as she was crossing an Empire Boulevard intersection this morning.

The incident occurred at around 11:00 AM at the intersection of Empire Boulevard and Bedford Avenue, in front of the eyes of horrified witnesses.

Witnesses said that the cyclist was traveling down Bedford Ave. from Montgomery St., and the truck had been making left turn onto Empire Blvd. from Bedford Ave. The driver, who was visibly shaken, told CrownHeights.info that “she was just coming so fast and I was already into the turn; I just could not stop”.

The victim was run over by both the front and rear tires of the truck, and was pronounced dead at the scene by Hatzolah. According to rescue personnel, the victim was a student at City Tech and was apparently on her way to school.

Chesed Shel Emes and Shomrim were called to the scene, and once the NYPD Highway Accident Investigation Squad completed their investigation they proceeded to give the proper Kavod Hames and cleaned up the scene.

The name of the victim has not been released pending proper family notification.

No criminality was suspect to be involved, and no arrests were made at the scene.

Update: The victim has been identified as Emma Blumstein, 24.

Boruch Dayan Ha’emes

42 Comments

  • 4. biker wrote:

    this is why there should not be a law about riding on the sidewalk. she was driving in the bike line

  • 7. Dave wrote:

    Such sad news. I am a cyclist too, and often come down Bedford. It is a really steep hill and without trying you can go really fast. As a warning to all other cyclists please, please apply your brakes as you go down Bedford. I do, and still the bike moves quite fast, yet you are a little more in control of the bike than if you don’t apply them at all.
    I am sick to my stomach by this accident – the poor, poor girl and he poor family.

  • 9. Drivers need to LOOK before making turns wrote:

    I don’t know what happened here but- it’s a fact that Many drivers in CH make fast turns without slowing down and giving a good look to see if any pedestrians, who have the right of way, are crossing.

  • 10. Baruch Dayan Haemes wrote:

    Where is zaka/chesed shel emes? Was she married? Any children? Who was it? Is there any way we can help out the family?

  • 12. open your eyes wrote:

    to number 7: Chessed shel emes was there along with shomrim did you not see the pictures?!

  • 13. frazzled in da hood wrote:

    PUBLIC CH NOTICE:

    To HATZOLOH MEMEBERS!!!

    Why don’t you guys wear your VESTS on an accident or in public.????

    It does a DISSERIVCE when you waltz around like lost bystanders tzises flyin with no one knowing who you are???

    We live in a hood w/mixed races and various non-frum neighbors, and their is no reason to behave this way. I see one shomrim guy actually wearinmg and presenting himself as a someone.

    I believe I see at least TWO ch hatzola guys who look like anyone really – standing and whatever in the street – what does it take to grab your vest and put it on??

    I know yingi always wears a vest,a handful of other long time members do too – I think – why not EVERYONE??

    Thatsaid BDE – how sad – we should share only good news from now.

  • 18. Tuff times make for an increase in light wrote:

    BS’’D
    Boruch Atoh Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Dayan Hoemes.

    very sad news, Hashem should send us MOSHIACH NOW!
    Keep pushing, we need achdus, we will get there.

  • 19. To #14 wrote:

    Some in the shomrim volunteers also volunteer for chessed shel emes

  • 20. bocher wrote:

    such sad news baruch dayan emet.. 13 makes a great point.. always pay attention and take procaution.. such a sad news, and sad day..

    i hate coming on this sight since there are always people who come here and just rant about their personal politics.. number 8, if you are going to post your concerns and want to acctually cause a dent, then show that you are a person of caring natuure.. maybe with addressing your sorrow first.. no one wants to hear from people who see a story (in this case a horrid one) and just look at small details!! if this was acctually a consern why dont you contact hatzala and pursuey them to have their volenteers go home and get their vest on their way to a emergency.

  • 22. so tragic wrote:

    I wish I could just hug the loved ones of the departed. Such a heartbreaking loss. We the Jewish community of Crown Heights mourn with you in your loss, and though I’m an individual, I’m sure I speak for entire community.

  • 23. community member wrote:

    Sholi Veiser iz a zeyer guter yid.

    May Hashem comfort the family of the poor woman killed.

  • 26. Nanach wrote:

    BDE so terrible.

    As an extensive biker I ride on the sidewalk or on the left side of the street where I can see oncoming traffic and move onto the sidewalk when they are approaching — wherever I can avoid the cars which I assume are not watching me, are distracted, and could turn at any time. I’ve gotten a ticket for riding on sidewalk but the court threw it out a couple days before the court date.

  • 28. I feel so bad!! wrote:

    YOU know all the people who write comments like for example bde or oy vay like thatit shows that you care about another jew!Even if you didnt sit and cry for an hour!!VEry proud!!!

  • 29. 2275CROWN wrote:

    ITS A VERY SAD SITUATION… PEOPLE WHO DRIVE CARS HAVE TO BE AWARE THAT THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEMSELVES AS WELL AS THE PEOPLE ON THE STREETS THAT GOES FOR THE BIKERS AS WELL… WHEN I AM CROSSING THE STREET ITS AMAZING TO SEE HOW CARELESS PEOPLE ARE WHEN THEY ARE OUTSIDE .. YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS…..

  • 30. Steve F wrote:

    The truck was making a left turn onto Empire, while the bicyclist was going straight through on Bedford. By law, the bicyclist, as straight through traffic, has the right of way. By law, the truck was supposed to wait for the cyclist to pass before turning.

    Number 9. “Drivers need to LOOK before making turns” has it right – this IS the law!

    The truck driver violated traffic law. The drive failed to look before turning, or looked and did not recognize the bike as traffic smaller than a car, or saw Ms. Blumstein, but decided to beat her to the turn.

    There is something very wrong when the Police make the statement that “No criminality was suspect to be involved” even before a professional investigation has been completed. The driver made the left turn improperly, a woman is dead, and the Police find no reason to suspect the driver of any wrongdoing.

    Ms. Blumstein appears to have been doing everything right – bicycling on the roadway, in the direction of traffic, traveling under the 30 MPH speed limit. A bicyclist follows the law and is killed, the NYPD doesn’t care and won’t do anything about it.

    I now see two crimes here. One by the driver and one by the Police.

  • 32. #13 is right on the money!! wrote:

    hey #13 you right on the money !!

    Hopefully they will implement this…I thought something was big time odd with the pictures too.

    HOW LUCKY is this girl that she got at l;east the kovod – what hasgocho protis – how sad BDE!!!

  • 33. Rebetsen wrote:

    What can be done if the NYPD won’t do its job and enforce the law?

  • 34. Mordkhe Yerachmiel wrote:

    BDE, may her family be comforted.
    Why is there no left-turn signal at this heavily-traveled intersection??
    Who bicycles through this intersection? Lots of students heading to studies (Brooklyn C., Medgar Evers), medical professionals heading to the hospitals, and families (many frum) going to see friends or to ride in the park.
    Why is there no left-turn signal to help protect them from the commercial and commuter motor traffic?

  • 35. JR wrote:

    #30- You speak as an eyewitness. Were you there? Just wondering, because we don’t want to make any accusations without having evidence that what we say is in fact correct. 5 people can see an accident and have 5 different points of view.

    I pray for comfort to this family as they grieve the loss of a loved one.

  • 36. Steve F wrote:

    JR # 35 – Good question. You should ask the Police how they came to a conclusion of no criminality without completing their investigation, if they even started one.
    I am a professional transportation planner with experience in traffic safety and bike facility designs. For 25 years I lived just up the hill from the crash site, and bicycled through the intersection regularly including to Brooklyn College.

    Obviously my conclusions have been based on the news reports and those could have errors, so you are right to be concerned. Photographs included in these articles are dramatic, but also very useful for crash reconstruction.

    There does not appear to be any conflict about two key points: that the truck was northbound on Bedford making a left turn onto Empire; and that the cyclist was southbound on Bedford traveling straight across the intersection.

    To the best of my knowledge, this was an experienced cyclist who should have been clearly visible riding south in the roadway. Visibility up Bedford Ave from the left turn pocket should have been excellent, and there has been nothing in the reports to indicate that the truck drivers view up Bedford was in any way blocked.

    As traffic law is clear that left turning traffic MUST yield to all straight through traffic, there is no question that the truck driver made an error in turning while there was oncoming traffic. The cyclist had the right of way through this intersection. Unless some quite different facts are discovered, the only question here is what sort of error the driver made.

    The need for the Police to perform a professional investigation is not simply to lay blame, but to determine what sort of errors caused this fatal crash – it was no accident – so that measures can be taken to prevent these crashes and deaths in the future. Zero traffic deaths is the goal, not punishment. Punishment is only a tool to “encourage” drivers to pay full attention to driving safely. This intersection has features that should have prevented this crash. There is good visibility in all directions. Bedford Ave has left turn pocket lanes where left turning traffic can wait quietly until oncoming traffic has cleared the intersection. Left turning drivers are not pressured by straight through traffic behind them, straight through cars have their own lane. #34 suggests a left turn signal, but normally, that is needed to clear backups of left turning vehicles, and would be needed if southbound Bedford traffic was so heavy that left turning traffic never got a clear roadway. There does not appear to be backups at this intersection. Rather, it appears that the truck driver simply did not want to wait for the cyclist to pass before starting the turn. Traffic signals alone cannot force a driver to stop the truck, they have to want to stop.

    It appears that the solution to the critical problem here is driver education, backed up by effective enforcement. Drivers need to know the law and practical rules of the road, and follow them with full attention to their driving and respect for other road users, even women traveling on bicycles.

  • 37. 123 wrote:

    http://www.legacy.com/obitu

    BLUMSTEIN, Emma Age 24 years, of Brooklyn, NY, formerly of Brookline, by accident, on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Beloved daughter of Steven & Mona (Rothman) Blumstein of Brookline. Dear sister of Alyssa Blumstein of Brooklyn, NY. Cherished granddaughter of the late Max & Ida (Surdut) Rothman and Irving & Sophie (Kanovitz) Blumstein. Also survived by many loving friends. Services at Temple Israel, 477 Longwood Ave., Boston, on Friday, June 15 at 11:00am. Burial in Temple Israel Cemetery, 500 North Ave., Wakefield. Memorial observance at the home of Steven & Mona Blumstein following interment through 7pm continuing Sunday from 4-7pm. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to a charity of your choice . Levine Chapels, Brookline 617-277-8300 http://www.levinechapel.com

  • 38. JustMe wrote:

    oy nebach ;/

    Hey Steve F.

    Thanks for spending the time to clarify these details etc.

  • 39. Susan M wrote:

    I get so infuriated by what seems to be the dismissive handling of these incidences.
    How many lives must be lost before the aggressive, impatient and life threatening behavior of many (not all) drivers is addressed in a more legally accountable manner. I would love to commute by bike, but it is not safe. In my opinion, there are enough streets for cars, trucks and busses, we need some just for pedestrians and cyclists,

    God bless Emma, her family and friends.

  • 40. Ian Turner wrote:

    Susan M.: Notwithstanding the horror of the present incident, and the generally apathetic approach to traffic exhibited by the NYPD, cycling remains one of the healthiest forms of transportation out there. While this crash is horrifying, you are still more likely to get hit by a heart attack than a lumber truck; cycling can help a lot with the former, even if it it creates some risk of the latter.

  • 41. Mordkhe Yerachmiel wrote:

    Steve, #37– Thanks for your comments. Re left-turn signal that I suggested, I agree that the backups at the intersection happen only occasionally, although during rush hours some left-turning vehicles don’t get a clear roadway before the light change. A second value of installing a left-turn signal at Bedford and Empire, besides guaranteeing a clear roadway, is to have a flashing-yellow signal for the turn, reminding the many left-turning vehicles that they must yield and exercise caution.

  • 42. eskia wrote:

    my condolence to her friends and familes,i was on my way from the gym,on that faithful rainy day in june,as i approach empire i saw the bike in the road, and the body was covered,Emma may your soul rest in peace

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