Teen truck driver fatally strikes Corona e-bike rider in Long Island City: NYPD

A man riding an e-bike was struck and killed when a pick-up truck driver veered into the bike lane on Honeywell Street in Long Island City on Monday, Oct. 11. (Screenshot via Google Maps)

A 32-year-old Corona man was struck and killed while riding an e-bike on Honeywell Street in Long Island City on Monday morning.

Thomas Panto was traveling northbound on the roadway which spans the Sunnyside Rail Yards around 7:22 a.m. when he was struck by a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by an 18-year-old that was traveling southbound when it veered into the northbound lane, according to a preliminary investigation by the NYPD.

Police from the 108th Precinct in Long Island City responded to a 911 call regarding a motor vehicle collision involving a bicyclist at the intersection of Honeywell Street and Northern Boulevard when they discovered the victim unconscious and unresponsive with trauma to the body, police said.

EMS transported Panto to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead. The 18-year-old driver of the pickup truck remained at the scene, police said. He was not arrested but the NYPD’s Highway Patrol Collision Investigation Squad continues to investigate the collision.

Transportation Alternatives blamed the collision on Mayor Bill de Blasio for failing to maintain protected bike lanes across the five boroughs. The safe streets advocates say the bike lane on which Panto had been traveling had been downgraded since a protected bike lane was installed in 2017.

“Thomas Panto was killed on Honeywell Street, a street with a painted, unprotected bike lane. It is like every painted, unprotected bike lane in New York City: a parking lot or travel lane, regularly abused by drivers,” Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris said. “At best, painted bike lanes are useless, but at worst, they are a reckless invitation from the city of New York to its residents, inviting New Yorkers to ride a bike while failing to adequately protect them.”

QNS reached out to the city Department of Transportation and is awaiting a response.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer offered his “heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones” of the victim before blaming the state of the Honeywell Street bike lane for the deadly collision.

“The loss of any life is tragic, but especially when it’s entirely preventable,” Van Bramer said. “Clearly the bike lane on Honeywell Street should have remained protected, and when the plastic flex-posts were destroyed by drivers this should’ve signaled the need for further fortification, not an excuse to make it more dangerous. Panto’s death is yet another painful reminder that our City must do more to make Vision Zero a reality.”

Transportation Alternatives accused the de Blasio administration of scaling back its Vision Zero initiative across the five boroughs by cutting funding and failing to advance critical initiatives on time, and ultimately losing sight of Vision Zero’s goal of having no New Yorkers killed in traffic crashes by 2024.

“Today, another family will forever be devastated,” Harris said. “At a time when we should be traveling from groundbreaking to groundbreaking for lifesaving projects, our mayor forces us to travel from vigil to vigil for dead New Yorkers.”