Senior bicyclist died from bus collision
December 8th 2007
BY Mike Jaccarino and Rich Schaprio
Only one person thought it was still safe for Franco Scorcia to take to the streets by bike – and that was Franco Scorcia.
For years, friends told the 72-year-old Bronx father to “leave the bike alone.”
The ex-cabbie’s two sons were so worried about their dad they offered him a car.
“We told him so many times, ‘Don’t ride the bike,’” Scorcia’s son, Vito, 37, recalled Friday.
The elder Scorcia brushed such demands aside, saying he loved cycling too much to quit. It was that fondness for experiencing the city on two wheels that cost him his life Thursday night when he crashed into a charter bus in midtown.
“My life is empty now,” a shaken Vito Scorcia told the Daily News. “He meant a lot to me. And I have no father anymore.”
Franco Scorcia’s death marked the second time in as many days an elderly cyclist was killed in midtown.
The Bronx dad was riding his bike east on W. 40th St. when he collided with a charter bus as he and it both turned south on Broadway, police said. The driver of the bus was not charged, though he was given six summonses, cops said.
On Wednesday, David Smith, 63, died after a pickup truck driver accidentally opened his door, knocking the avid cyclist into the path of a box truck along Sixth Ave. near W. 36th St.
Advocates say the spate of deaths shows the city must do more to protect bike riders.
“As much as the mayor and DOT [the Department of Transportation] are doing positive things in terms of bike safety, they’re not doing enough,” said Barbara Ross, spokeswoman for Time’s Up, which advocates for bicyclists.
City officials said the number of bike fatalities has remained steady in the past decade. Twenty-two bikers have been killed on city roads this year, the DOT said, compared with 18 last year and 24 in 2005.
That’s no consolation to Vito Scorcia and his brother Vincent.
“I can’t believe my father’s gone,” Vito Scorcia said.