Giovanni Nin died in a bicycle accident in NYC last June in the Bronx, NYC. The driver who hit him fled the scene of the accident. 11 months later the police arrested him. On June 11 2016, Giovanni was heading for a nap at his girlfriend’s between two shifts at Fedex. It was around midnight. As he was riding his bike on East Tremont Avenue he was hit by a BMW SUV. The driver left him dying on the street. The police identified the car but the car owner, 44 year old Victor Pelaez declared his car stolen. He told the police he wasn’t behind the wheel during the accident. However cell phone records showed that Pelaez was near the scene of the accident when it occurred. Pelaez was also seen by an NYPD detective driving the supposedly stolen car on August 10. He was arrested last week and charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Read more in the Gothamist
People riding bikes in New York City decrease their risk of being seriously injured in a bike accident by 75% when they are using a protected bike lane. According to a 2014 DOT study, protected bike lanes have led to a decrease of 22% of pedestrian injuries and to a minor decrease of bicycle accident injuries despite a dramatic increase in bicycle traffic in the city. Recently a new DOT proposal to extend the Amsterdam Avenue protected bike lane with a painted bike lane above 110 street seems somewhat weak.
The Amsterdam Avenue segment that runs from 110th street to 162nd street is a busy two way 4 travel lane corridor with no bike lanes. Columbia University, City College of New York, several senior centers as well as various commercial and residential buildings are located on this segment of Amsterdam Avenue.
Speeding, unsafe intersections and the absence of bike lanes are making the avenue unsafe for the community. Between 2010 and 2016, 4 pedestrians died on this segment of Amsterdam Avenue. Between 2010 and 2014 8 bicyclists and 28 pedestrians were severely injured.
A 76 year old man was critically injured in a bicycle accident in NYC last Friday. The man was riding his bike North on Colden Street in Queens, New York City. He was struck by a car at the intersection of Colden Street and Elder Avenue around 5:30 pm. The car driver didn’t stop. He fled the scene of the accident leaving behind a man suffering critical personal injury.
The NYPD is still looking for the suspect who was driving a teal-colored Honda CRV. He was seen fleeing South on Kissena Boulevard from Franklin Avenue.
If you have any information about the suspected hit and run driver you can call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577. Below is a video of the car just before the bicycle accident. Read More.
Bicyclists may soon be better protected from bicycle accidents on Fifth Ave between 23rd Street and 8th Street in Manhattan. Yesterday night the Community Board 2 endorsed a project from the New York Department of Transportation (DOT) to create a protected bike lane on Fifth Avenue between 23rd Street and 8th Street. The Community Board 2 also asked the DOT to extend the protected bike lane until Washington Square.
According to statistics from the DOT, the actual non protected bike lane that runs down Fifth Ave from 23rd Street to 8th Street gets more bike traffic than any other Manhattan avenue. Unfortunately the bike lane is often obstructed by double parked vehicles, forcing bicyclists to get in heavy traffic to ride around it. It is usually in this type of situation that bicyclists are exposed to a high risk of being struck by a car. Between 2010 and 2014, 1 person died and 24 of them suffered severe injury on this specific segment.
The new proposal will not only prevent bicycle accidents but also pedestrian accidents. In addition to switching the bike lane with the parking lane, the DOT also proposed the installation of painted pedestrian islands as well as the installation of two split-phase signals. Split-phase signals offers a separate crossing phase for cyclists and pedestrians at intersections where motorists are making a left turn. The CB2 also endorsed these two proposals. They additionally asked that the painted pedestrian islands be cast in concrete. The CB2 members also asked the DOT to consider adding loading and unloading areas to avoid double parking.
Vision Zero was launched in an attempt to reduce pedestrian and bicyclists deaths in NYC. However, in an unexpected twist, the program primarily helped in curbing motorists deaths.
Back in 2013 before Vision Zero started, 286 people died and 54,818 suffered personal injury in motor vehicle accidents in New York City. Among the 286 deaths were 168 pedestrians, many of them children and elderly. In New York City, car accidents have been the leading cause of child deaths for many years. According to statistics, two thirds of the children involved in fatal accidents were child pedestrians being struck by cars. Elderly are also at higher risk of being struck by cars in New York City, especially after sunset when the visibility is reduced.
When Bill de Blasio became Mayor on January 1st 2014, he pledged to change this situation and provide safe streets for New York families. Vision Zero was launched for this purpose in January 2014 and is still ongoing. The program includes various initiatives such as speed limit reduction, dangerous streets re-design and more forceful prosecution of traffic violations. Since the program started, the total number of traffic deaths gradually declined from 286 in 2013 before the program to 250 in 2014, 235 in 2015 and 223 in 2016. From the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2016, the total number of traffic deaths declined by 22% in New York City.
9 people including 7 pedestrians and bicyclists died in NYC car crashes in the first 10 days of 2017. In a recent statement, Paul Steely White, the Transportation Alternatives Executive Director, expressed his outrage and asked the city of New York to accelerate street redesigns. He also wants the New York police to change their attitude and be more accountable.
In his statement, Steely White, noted that 7 of the 9 fatal crashes occurred in locations that have been previously identified by Vision Zero as “priority areas”. Transportation Alternatives asks the city to allocate immediate funding to redesign these high crashes locations.
Steely White also expressed his outrage towards NYPD investigators behavior. The NYPD has a horrible habit of blaming the victims and exonerating drivers. For example, the driver of the box truck who fatally struck Rafael Nieves last week and left the scene of the accident was let go without his case being referred to the district attorney (see previous blog). The police also didn’t charge the driver who killed 43 year old Marlon Palacios. The driver told the police his leg had become stiff and got stuck on the accelerator. The police have the power to act as a judge and a jury while a court should make such decision. Additionally the police are supposed to deter dangerous driving in New York City but they often blame the victims and let go reckless drivers.
37 pedestrians and one bicyclist were among the 50 victims who died in NYC traffic accidents last fall (September, October, November). This is 15 less accident fatalities than in the fall of 2015, 21 less than in the fall of 2014 and 34 less than in the fall of 2013. Since 2013, the number of people dying on the road has been decreasing each fall in the city.
While less people are dying in NYC car accidents, more are getting injured. After recording a decline in 2014, the number of people injured in traffic accidents during the fall months went back up slightly in 2015 and reached its highest in 2016. 15,480 people were injured in traffic accidents in New York City during the 3-month period of September, October and November 2016 compared to 13,693 during the same period of 2015, 13,350 during the same period of 2014 and 14,449 during the same period of 2013.
The total number of motor vehicle accidents in New York City is continuing to rise as well.
A NYC pedestrian was fatally struck by a dump truck. A bicyclist died after being clipped by a box truck. A pedestrian lost his life after being hit by a car. All 3 accidents occurred in Brooklyn Monday afternoon.
85 year old Rafael Nieves was walking back home from a trip to the supermarket around 1pm in Williamsburg. As he was crossing Grand Street near Lorimer a dump truck ran over him. The driver didn’t even stop. The police located him later on. According to their investigation the truck driver didn’t know he hit someone. Nieves, a Puerto Rican military veteran leaves behind him two children and five grand children.
A few hours later, around 4:45 pm, a 70 year old bicyclist died after being hit by a delivery truck. Iosif Plazinsky was riding his bike on Avenue X near Coney Island Ave. The bicyclist was hit twice by the truck. After the first collision he lost balance and fell. Then the truck veered to the right and struck him again. Plazinsky was rushed to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved. The truck driver stayed at the scene of the accident. Plazinsky was a retired construction worker from Odessa. He lived in Brighton Beach with his family. He had 3 grand children and one about to be born.
After a young bicyclist was struck by a car in New York City, the Court of Appeals held the city of New York liable for failing to install traffic calming measures in a street the city knew was dangerous. The Court of Appeals decision is related to a crash between a bicyclist and a car that occurred back in 2004 on Gerritsen Avenue in Brooklyn, NYC.
On December 5 2004 around 6:30 pm, 12 year old Anthony Turturro was riding his bike on Gerritsen Avenue. At the time of the accident, Gerritsen Ave was a four lane avenue with two lanes of traffic going in each direction. As he was attempting to cross the avenue at mid-block, the young boy was struck by a car. The driver, Louis Pascarella, was speeding. The police investigation established that when the crash occurred, the driver’s speed was 54 mph, 24 mph over the 30 mph speed limit at this location. Turturro suffered serious injury. The driver pleaded guilty to assault in the second degree.
RECKLESS DRIVING AND SPEEDING
A bicyclist was fatally struck by a cement truck in New York last Thursday. The bicyclist was heading to the Greenway and was in the crosswalk of the West Side Highway at the intersection of West 55th Street. The cement truck was driving west and was making a right turn onto the West Side Highway when it struck the victim. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident. He hasn’t been charged so far. It is not clear yet if he failed to yield to the bicyclist. The bicyclist was found by the police unconscious at the scene of the accident with severe head and bodily trauma.
According to the Gothamist, so far this year the police recorded 21 crashes at this location with 5 people injured in 3 of them. The previous year there were 20 crashes at this intersection 4 resulting in injury. Among the people injured was another bicyclist who had been struck by a car.