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“F*** cars forever”: Comedians unite in demanding safer cycling conditions after peer killed while riding a bike

The death of stand-up comedian Kenny DeForest took the number of cyclists killed in New York City this year to 28, the second-most deadliest year for cyclist deaths ever recorded

Comedians in the United States have joined forces to call out the dangers posed to cyclists by drivers and the dire need for better, segregated cycling infrastructure after a celebrated member of the community was killed while cycling in Brooklyn, New York last week, taking the total number of cyclist deaths in the city to 28 in 2023 and making it the worst year since 1999, and the second-deadliest ever recorded in terms of cyclist deaths.

Kenny DeForest was a stand-up comedian, mostly known for his hilarious and beloved appearances on Comedy Central, as well as shows like "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and "The Late Late Show with James Corden".

According to a GoFundMe page that was set up by his friends, DeForest was riding his e-bike in Brooklyn last week when the collision occurred. The 37-year-old was rushed to the Kings County Hospital, where he underwent neurological surgery to remove a piece of his skull and relieve pressure from a brain bleed.

StreetsblogNYC reports that he was in a stable condition following the surgery, however, he passed away at the hospital five days later. Following his death, a number of comedians have come forward to raise awareness about safer cycling and even vented their anger at drivers for the loss of their peer.

Comedian Adam Conover, mourned his friend's death on Instagram, writing: "Kenny DeForest was one of the funniest and most beloved comics any of us knew. A tragedy. Watch his special on YouTube. It came out three months ago. It’s beautiful. Fuck cars forever."

Conover, also a writer, actor and labour organiser, with several appearances on shows like Bojack Horseman, was once a guest on the ironically named podcast "The War on Cars", discussing car culture and its negative impact on American suburbia. He even did a segment about jaywalking on his show "Adam Ruins Everything".

He says in the video, talking about the history of the term: "A group of private businessmen coined an offensive slur to promote the product and it worked so well that today it's a legal term... The street went from being a public place where everyone was welcome to a terrifying, off-limits death trap."

> "I don't care that I'm in the bike lane, just go around me!": Note on car parked in a cycle lane leaves cyclists dumbfounded and angry

Another comedian Kate Willett, shared a grief-stricken message on social media, writing: "Kenny was an incredible comic and nice to everyone... He was struck by a driver while on his bike and I’ve never been more convinced of the need for widespread protected bike lanes. He deserved the chance to live out his life and we all deserved a chance to keep hanging out with him and hearing his new material."

Many people in the comments came forward to offer sympathies, but also rage at the car-culture which has ingrained itself in the United States. One person wrote: "Cars destroy communities. They end lives. They wreck the planet. What a terrible mistake they are."

Another user commented: "It's infrastructure problems plus reliance on car culture to the point of ignoring safety. A driver's test should be harder than it is, and our road infrastructure isn't safe or has no care for pedestrians and cyclists, and does not prioritize their safety."

> NYC cab driver in crash that severed British tourist's foot blames cyclist for incident

Transportation Alternatives, a New York-based non-profit organisation aimed at "reclaiming NYC from cars" and transforming the streets into "safe, sustainable, & equitable places to walk and bike", also lamented DeForest's death.

Its executive director, Danny Harris said: "We are devastated to learn that another New Yorker riding a bike was killed in New York City, making 2023 the deadliest year for cyclists since 1999.

"Our leaders failed Kenny — and every bike rider killed in this record-breaking year for cyclist deaths. Our leaders know how to prevent crashes from happening, especially as we’re on track for the safest year for pedestrians during Vision Zero, and they must bring this same effort and urgency to keeping cyclists safe."

Adwitiya joined in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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andystow | 5 months ago

Update: there may not have been a car involved.

Family and friends initially believed the accident to be the result of a collision involving DeForest’s bike and a car but after consulting an EMS report and discussions with a nearby crossing guard the comic’s friends now suspect DeForest was riding an e-bike and somehow crashed at the Rogers Avenue and Sterling Place intersection near Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

An EMS report was filed, but the NYPD apparently was not called to the scene.

In a statement to Deadline, DeForest’s friend and fellow comic Ryan Beck said, “We’ve learned more information today from an EMS report. Kenny was on an e-bike and crashed. I spoke with crossing guards at the area today, and am still in search of more information. There is no police report because it was not a hit and run as first understood.”

Secret_squirrel replied to andystow | 5 months ago

Awks. 😬

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