Beloved community leader, cyclist killed in accident

March 18, 2010 6:26:20 PM PDT
A woman in the Bronx who spent her life trying to improve the lives of others has been killed while riding her bicycle. Twenty-four hours later, the grief was only beginning to set in.

"It's a shame to hear something like that," Manny Vega said.

The loss is being felt from Vega, also a cyclist, to the staff at Montefiore Hospital where Megan Charlop was the community health director for the hospital's school health program.

"Every person in the Bronx has been touched by her activities and her person, where they know it or not," Margee Rogers of the Montefiore Medical Center said. "I think it's going to take an awful lot of us working really hard to fill Megan's shoes. We're all going to have to give everything we've got to make life better for the children of the Bronx."

The accident happened Wednesday morning. Ms. Charlop was riding her bicycle to work. She swerved into the path of a New York City bus after a motorist suddenly flung open his car door.

Renee Webb lives just across the street.

"He should have had his car door closed. She would have had to go around it, you know. She would be here today," Webb said.

Charlop was an avid cyclist who devoted her life to community service. She successfully fought for a series of bike lanes that have yet to be built. One of those places is the very street where she was killed.

"Whether it was taking on teenagers and bringing them into her house, giving them a meal, giving them a home to fixing people's houses or fighting for bike lanes. Always thinking about her neighbors. She was an amazing person," Shin-pei Tsay, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, said.

Megan Charlop was 57. She is survived by her husband and four children.