March 4, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
A vigil will be held later this afternoon to honor the life of the 25-year-old cyclist that was killed in a hit-and-run on Broadway last week, with activists to also call on the city to “do more” to make the roadway safer.
The vigil will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Broadway and Marcy Avenue, about one block away from where Aurilla Lawrence was fatally struck by the driver of a tanker truck at around 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 28.
Police say the grey/silver tanker truck and Aurilla were headed eastbound on Broadway and approaching Rodney Street when the driver drove over her. He did not remain on the scene, and continues to be at large.
Lawrence was found unconscious and unresponsive on the roadway with trauma to her entire body. She was pronounced dead by EMS on the scene.
The vigil, organized by Transportation Alternatives’ North Brooklyn Committee and Families for Safe Streets, honors Lawrence’s life and demands that the dangerous conditions that allowed for even an experienced cyclist to die be fixed, and for “the most vulnerable people on our streets, those who bicycle and walk” to be protected.
Lawrence, whose Facebook profile is filled with photos of her on her bike, worked as a delivery cyclist. The site where she died now sees a white ghost bike, where friends and colleagues also gathered the day after the hit-and-run to create a memorial.
A memorial ride was also held for Lawrence on Sunday, where hundreds of cyclist rode through the streets of New York to remember the 25-year-old, who was well-known in the cycling community.
“She was the glue that held a lot of people together—just look at how many people came out for her,” said Shardy Nieves, a Bronx-based delivery cyclist, according to Gothamist. “We wanted to show her family that Aurilla had family out here. Even though she came [to New York] by herself, this is bigger than any family you’ll ever have.”
Lawrence’s death was also met with calls from Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Stephen Levin for actions to be taken to prevent tragedies and other injuries to cyclists and road users.
“I am saddened & angered by this tragic, preventable loss of life,” Reynoso said.
Transportation Alternatives called on the mayor and Department of Transportation “to guarantee a safe route for all New Yorkers who bike by building out a true, connected network of protected bike lanes,” after her death.
“When a driver makes one bad move on a street like Broadway, where there’s no room for error, people die,” said Marco Conner, TA interim director. “This is the sad reality of biking in New York City in 2019.”
Lawrence became the fifth person to have been killed while biking in New York City in this year alone. Four of the deaths have happened in Brooklyn.