March 15, 2019 By Jon Cronin and Christian Murray
A vigil will be held Saturday to pay tribute to the bicyclist who was tragically killed on a Hunters Point street Thursday morning.
The vigil will be held on the corner of Borden Avenue and 2nd Street, where Robert Spencer, 53, was killed while riding his bike to work.
Spencer, according to the police report, was traveling west bound on Borden Avenue—against the flow of traffic—at around 7:50 a.m. when he was struck while riding through a red light. He was hit by a 51-year-old female driver who was traveling southbound on 2nd Street who had the green light, according to the report.
Spencer, who was not wearing a helmet, was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival.
The driver, who was in a 2014 Chevy Cruze, remained on the scene. The police have not found any criminality in terms of the crash at this time. However, the investigation is ongoing.
Juan Restrepo, the Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives and an organizer of the vigil, said that tomorrow’s attendees will commemorate Spencer’s life and will pay tribute to all those who have died bicycling on city streets.
He said that the group aims to reinforce the message that more needs to be done to make city streets safer and prevent these deaths.
He said that while it’s easy for some to focus on the fact that Spencer may not have been following the rules, it should not be forgotten that the underlying issue is public health crisis. He said people who follow the rules are constantly getting killed.
He said that Transportation Alternatives will also be advocating for the passage of a bill that would require the DOT to meet a list of Vision Zero requirements when it redesigns arterial streets. Should the requirements not be met, the city would have to publicly disclose why.
Restrepo added that Transportation Alternatives is currently reaching out to Spencer’s family to see if they would like to attend the vigil.
A close friend of Spencer’s plans to be there.
“He’s been my best friend for 30 years,” said Richard Livingstone, a Bronx resident. “He was the most kind, charming and loving guy I know. He would stop whatever he was doing to help you and give you the shirt off his back or the last penny in his pocket.”
“Robert was like a mentor to me,” said Livingstone, who met Spencer in 1985 when the two worked as security guards at a building complex in the Bronx.
“He lived the way most of us want to live our lives. He never stayed still. Always active,” Livingstone said of his friend.
He noted that although Spencer made his living working for the Department of Homeless Services, his passion was mechanics. He owned two motorcycles and a Jeep that he loved to work on.
Livingstone added that Spencer had been approved for a loan to buy a Harley Davidson CVO Street Glide, “his dream motorcycle,” the day before he was struck.
“We were just talking about taking it out and riding our motorcycles together,” he said.
Livingstone added that although he loved his Jeep and motorcycles, fitness was also a passion and he rode his bicycle to work as often as the weather would allow.
Livingstone said that Spencer is survived by an adult son and three siblings.
— Rodrigo Salazar (@pabilas) March 14, 2019
Note: The headline has been modified to include the word “reportedly.”
The account of the crash is based on the NYPD police report, as reflected in the article. The article also states that the investigation is ongoing. The word “reportedly” in the headline reflects that this is the account of the NYPD.