Nurse killed by motorcycle remembered at vigil

A vigil was held in Sunset Park Tuesday for Clara Kang, a nurse at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn who was killed in a collision with a motorcyclist Saturday.

Kang, 31, was riding her bicycle east on 56th Street when she collided with a man driving a 2018 Suzuki GSZ-R north on Third Avenue. She was pronounced dead at NYU Langone. The motorcyclist, 29, was also taken to NYU Langone, with trauma to his head and body. He was listed in critical but stable condition. No arrests have been made.

A woman writes a message on a sign at the vigil.

Family, friends, elected officials and members of the community gathered at Martin Luther Playground on Second Avenue and 55th Street to honor Kang and call for solutions to the traffic situation on Third Avenue.

“Clara actually joined us in the middle of the COVID wave,” said Dr. Marwa Moussa, section chief of hospital medicine and medical director of the nurse practitioner service at NYU Langone. “She worked through the nights. She was able to always bring energy and life to the team.”

Moussa said Kang’s dream was to become a critical care nurse practitioner.

A man lights a candle at the vigil.

Sunset Park resident Rob Aguilar witnessed the fatal accident and demanded change.

“We are tired of having these vigils,” he said. “We come to the community every single time to mourn a life.”

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez said Third Avenue is congested with heavy trucks, pedestrians, cyclists and cars and that the city must identify the most dangerous streets.

“It’s not only about safety measures,” Velazquez said. “There is an education that has to happen … We have to call for respect and understanding that our actions can cause someone to die.”

Cesar Zuniga, chairperson of Community Board 7, said traffic deaths in the community don’t receive the attention they deserve.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca light candles.

“This isn’t reinventing the wheel,” he stated. “This is about adopting best practices and solutions that already exist. Why in this community do we have to ask and beg and have these types of events to bring attention to something that’s absolutely fixable?”

Councilmember Carlos Menchaca read the names of people who have died on roadways in the 38th District and said essential workers need better protection.

“We should be protecting our essential workers, who are getting on their bikes every single day to go to work because that’s the safest way they can get to work,” he said.

Councilmember Carlos Menchaca addresses the crowd in Martin Luther Playground.

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