Schlicting in his capacity as a a captain of the Five Boro Bike Tour in 2013 (Facebook)
David Schlichting, a 66-year-old cyclist and longtime fixture in New York City’s bike community, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Long Island this weekend, according to authorities.
Nassau County Police say that Schlichting was riding his bicycle on the Long Island Expressway’s south service road near Lake Success at around 9 a.m. on Sunday when he was struck by a minivan driver, who then fled the scene. Schlichting was thrown off his bicycle and suffered severe head trauma in the crash, police said. He was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead shortly after.
As of Monday morning, local police said that the suspect remained at large. A photograph taken near the scene of the crash is believed to show the driver’s silver minivan.
(via Nassau County Police Department)
A resident of Long Island, Schlichting is remembered as an avid cyclist and traffic safety proponent who played an instrumental role in the launch of several New York City cycling institutions.
“He was a very generous guy, and he was an extremely conscientious and safety-minded cyclist,” recalled Steve Vaccaro, a friend of the victim who is an attorney and safe streets advocate. “He believed in doing it by the book, and the importance of safety education for cyclists.”
Schlichting’s contributions to the cyclist community spanned decades, beginning with his involvement in the American Youth Hostels nonprofit, which for much of the 1960s and 1970s organized frequent bike trips throughout New York. In the late 1970s, the group was spun off into the Five Borough Bicycle Club, with Schlichting helping to produce the Five Boro Bicycle Tour, an annual 40-mile ride that remains the country’s largest gathering of cyclists.
Schlichting served as a marshal captain of the tour through 2018, and was expected to resume that role again this year, according to organizers. He also volunteered for the Escape New York ride, and helped spearhead multiple safety and educational campaigns for fellow cyclists.
“David was happy to make substantial volunteer commitments, but not concerned about getting credit for work that he did,” noted Vaccaro. “He was really ubiquitous in New York City cycling for decades.”
Schlichting is survived by his wife, Lisa.
In a statement, Bike New York President & CEO Ken Podziba called Schlichting “one of the most disciplined bike riders we know,” adding that his death illustrated that “no matter how experienced and careful a bike rider is, cyclists in the New York area will continue to die and be hurt until governments at all levels take street and road safety seriously enough to build networks of protected bike lanes, design streets to operate at safe speeds and get problem drivers out from behind the wheel.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the hit-and-run to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.