Fatal Gerritsen collision sparks petition for safety measures

The recent death of a Xaverian High School graduate in a collision on Gerritsen Avenue in Gerritsen Beach has sparked an online petition calling for safety measures to be put in place in order to prevent another such devastating incident from occurring.

The petition, addressed to State Senator Martin Golden and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, asks for increased traffic lights and speed bumps along Gerritsen Avenue, where the collision occurred.

“Gerritsen Beach has seen yet another horrifying tragedy, due to speeding vehicles. We have petitioned, we have begged, we have pleaded for more traffic lights to line Gerritsen Avenue,” the petition states. “We demand lights be put on our avenue….speed cameras simply do not work.”

A Bay Ridge resident, Thomas Groarke, 24, was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when he crossed over a painted median on Gerritsen Avenue, striking 17-year-old bicyclist Sean Ryan with his white Honda Accord on Sunday, July 17 at around 8:47 p.m. Ryan was pronounced dead at the scene after EMS found him unconscious and unresponsive. Groarke was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DWAI (driving while ability impaired) Alcohol.

Since the petition’s creation, it has racked up over 1,200 supporters, a number that is climbing.

“We have begged for years to put more [traffic] lights up, not speed cameras,” commented petition supporter Janet Jemec. “Lights will slow the traffic pattern and allow parents, children and the elderly to cross our street safely.”

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