Vigil held in Brooklyn to remember bicyclist fatally struck by tanker truck

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A community in Brooklyn came together Monday night to remember a bicycle courier killed when she was sideswiped by a tanker truck.

A vigil was held for Aurilla Lawrence at the site of the crash in Williamsburg.

Bike messengers lit candles, hugged and remembered a good friend. "Being a messenger is so difficult and seeing her made our days so much brighter," one said.

It was dark under the elevated subway just before midnight Feb. 28 when the 25-year-old Lawrence died in an apparent hit-and-run on Broadway at Marcy Avenue.

Video obtained exclusively by Eyewitness News shows the silver tanker truck police believe sideswiped Lawrence and kept going.

"Unquestionably we're gonna throw everything we've got at the perpetrators of these crimes," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

But that wasn't what the cyclists wanted to hear from the mayor.

"Where are you Mr. Mayor?", said one cyclist. "Why aren't these changes happening? Why aren't they happening now?"

Instead, bike safety activists and Aurilla's friends are furious at what they describe as the slow pace of progress of de Blasio's own Vision Zero initiative.
In just the first two months of this year, five cyclists have been killed by cars, half the number who died in all of last year.

City Council member Antonio Reynoso says the stretch of Broadway was prioritized for a bike lane - four years ago.

"The city is moving at a snails pace in allowing many of these changes," said Reynoso. "I just wish we didn't need to have these conversations when somebody dies."

And as bike messengers shared stories of their own brushes with death, Aurilla's friend Jamal Brown said it is the cost of doing business in their line of work, and that for all the talk of bike safety, this will always be a car town.

"We're in a sea with big whales and sharks," said Brown. "See those little fish that swim around the whales and sharks, we like those little fish that find our way through traffic. It's New York. You can't control traffic, you just gotta flow with it."

Police believe they know who the driver is in the crash that killed Lawrence.

The DOT did not return our requests for information about the plans for a bike lane on Broadway.

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