Another motorcyclist dies at Dead Man’s Curve: NYPD

By Alex Robinson

A perilous intersection in Whitestone known as Dead Man’s Curve has claimed another motorcyclist’s life, police said.

John Barrett, 49, of Middle Village, became the latest of at least four motorcyclists since 2006 who have died in accidents while exiting the Cross Island Parkway onto the southbound Whitestone Expressway.

Police said Barrett was driving just after 10 p.m. the night of Aug. 30 when he hit a pothole, lost control and was flung from his bike.

Responding authorities found him unconscious with trauma to his head and rushed him to New York Hospital Queens, where he was pronounced dead.

The first of a string of fatal accidents occurred at the location in 2006, when 24-year-old Eric Arsenault, of Port Washington, L.I., lost control of his motorcycle and died, only a week after buying the bike he was riding.

In 2010, Phil Clemens, a 27-year-old off-duty NYPD officer lost control of his Suzuki motorcycle and died the same way.

After each accident, then-City Councilman Tony Avella wrote to the city and federal Departments of Transportation to demand a solution to the winding intersection.

Avella called for an alternative to the design of the guard rails that line the road, contending they can be a deadly impact zone for motorcyclists who crash into them.

Avella’s office said DOT responded by cutting some foliage and putting up an extra sign.

The senator once again called on the DOT to do more to make the intersection safer after Barrett’s death.

“Something has got to be done to ensure safety at this dangerous location,” Avella said. “Although I have been in touch with the Federal Department of Transportation, which is currently completing a study into accidents of this nature, we can no longer afford to sit back and wait for their recommendations.

“The City Department of Transportation must step up and take measures to address this situation. This is clearly a very dangerous curve which has proven to be deadly for motorcyclists. I will continue to call for additional measures until this area is made safe once and for all.”

A spokesman for the city DOT said the department is reviewing the location.

The federal DOT told Avella’s office in a letter that it was conducting a study of motorcycle crashes into guard rails through a project called “Factors Related to Serious Injury and Fatal Motorcycle Crashes with Traffic Barriers.”

The department first expected it would be complete in 2012 and then in 2013, but is still not finished, Avella’s office said.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobi‌nson@‌cnglo‌cal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

More from Around New York