Eyes on the Street: Park Slope Pedestrian Struck by Ambulance

lich_ped_4.jpgPhotos: Ed Ravin

Reader Ed Ravin sent in these photos of a collision between an ambulance driver and a pedestrian in Park Slope, which happened around 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. He writes:

According to another bicyclist watching the aftermath, a Long Island
College Hospital ambulance, with its lights flashing but sirens off,
struck a pedestrian at 7th Ave and 9th St. When I got there, the pedestrian was lying on her back in the crosswalk, and the EMTs from
the LICH ambulance were attending to her. From the position of the
ambulance, it looked like they were turning from eastbound 9th St to
northbound 7th Ave, but they had "sliced" the turn so that they were
driving wrong-way from the south side of 9th St into the west side of
7th Ave, and presumably would have proceeded to the northbound side of
7th, with traffic, going toward Methodist Hospital, had they not struck
the pedestrian.

Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat shows eight pedestrian- and two cyclist-involved collisions at this intersection between 1995 and 2005, with one pedestrian fatality in 2004.

Streetsblog has a message in with NYPD for details on the Saturday incident.

lich_ped_3.jpg
  • Paul

    The geometry of this pedestrian rich intersection is much too wide. It needs curb extensions asap.

  • Jason

    Please don’t use the term “ambulance driver.”

    The individual was either an EMT (emergency medical technician) or a paramedic. The other term is ignorant and offensive to EMS personnel. For instance, is a fireman a “fire truck driver” or a police officer a “police car driver?”

    My father has been a paramedic (and a teacher of paramedics) almost as long as there has been paramedics, and he explained to me more than once that the perception that they are just people to drive the truck to take people to the hospital harms their ability to do their jobs and have patients work with them. They are in fact highly-trained medical professionals.

  • Jason, you’re being unreasonable here. For the purpose of how they drive and whether they hit pedestrians, they’re drivers. Whoever is driving at the time, no matter how highly trained in also offering medical care at other times, is nonetheless the driver of the ambulance.

  • kaja

    > For instance, is a fireman a “fire truck driver” or a police officer a “police car driver?”

    While they’re driving? Yes.

    Christ, get off the horse.

  • I guess if I was going to get hit, getting hit by an ambulance isn’t the worst option out there.

  • Jason

    I’m not saying the person was a good driver or that emergency personnel (fire, ems, and police) don’t need to learn to drive better.

    I’m just pointing out that Mr. Aaron is inadvertently disrespecting a whole profession. I’ll suspect that a significant chunk of those reading this earn their living in a job that relies on computers to a great deal. But we don’t call them keyboard operators, do we? That is not really what they do.

    There was a time when “ambulance drivers” did exist. They were virtually untrained drivers who loaded stretchers and took people to hospitals to receive care. Now they are educated and tested professionals.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramedics_in_the_United_States

    More importantly than respect is the fact that many people don’t realize that the “ambulance drivers” have the training, skills, and equipment to save their lives. But because of what existed 40 years ago, combined with continued use of the term “ambulance drivers,” they don’t trust EMS personnel when they need help, often to their own detriment.

  • Jason, at the bottom of the NYS Prehospital Care Report there’s a spot that says “Driver’s Name.”

  • CBrinkman

    Didn’t Tom Vanderbilt just cover emergency services crash rates on his blog? I think the study he linked to or mentioned said that the crash rate for ambulances is shockingly high – the speeding and risky driving they do in the name of faster transport is perhaps not paying off? And that the design of ambulances is not up to the type of driving they do. It must be hard to balance the urgency with safety.

  • Jason

    Jonathan,

    That is because most crews have 2 people, and for that reporting purpose, they want to know which person was driving.

    Is the other crew member an “ambulance rider?”

  • daveinbedstuy

    Well, whatever you call them, they need to learn how to drive better.

  • Brooklyn Chicken

    Maybe if the driver were trained in driving as well as medical care, he or she wouldn’t have hit the pedestrian. Way to miss the point, Jason.

  • Anon

    9th Street should really be one-way.

  • Anon

    Same as 5:25, here.

    Frankly 9th St should be one-way and the sidewalks on 9th St should be widened. There’s TONS of people walking up and down that block constantly to and from the subway and to and from the park. There’s this super-wide street while people in on the sidewalk can barely get past each other. And then that ginormous intersection…it’s crazy.

  • Sydney Bristow

    Emergency vehicle operators or whatever you want to call them are dangerous drivers especially when they feel the need to speed whenever they please whether or not there is an actual emergency. We were very nearly struck by EMT operators or whatever you want to call them on two occasions. Once in Windsor Terrace on Reeve place while I was seven mths pregnant, with two four-year-olds in the back seat, the ambulance turned left off of PPSW onto oncoming traffic on Reeve Place — apparently NOT aware that is was a two-way street. And no one bothered to stop to ensure we were OK. Another incident, we were rear-ended by another ambulance on First ave in Manhattan — again the driver neglected to STOP.

  • Ed

    Yes, the term ambulance driver is condescending to EMS personnel. The correct term is either EMT or Paramedic. He is not being unreasonable. Yes, the driver should not have hit the pedestrian ambulances have a great deal of blind spots. The pedestrian may have seen the ambulance but walked in front of it anyway. Most people don’t care much about emergency vehicles unless they are responding for their call for help. Jason tell your father Happy EMS week for me.

    The woman who was hit in the rear by an ambulance. let me guess you would not yield right of way to the ambulance by pulling to the right and stopping. or did you slam on the brakes when you saw the ambulance approaching. In response to your first incident why would the ambulance stop if you were almost hit by the ambulance. maybe they almost stopped to see if you were ok

    Ed
    Proud EMT

  • TK

    Does anyone know if this ambulance was actually engaged in some urgent business? Or was the crew just trying to skip lights or traffic? Seems like police cars to that all the time; I’ve even seen one go the wrong way up FLATBUSH Ave with lights flashing but no sirens. Then the lights go off once they get past the lights or the traffic.

    Even more dangerous all the private van buses that roar up and down Flatbush. I heard most to none are licensed. I bet they cause a lot of unsolved hit & run accidents on Flatbush, since they try to go 50 mph in the parking lanes and use bus stops to pass cars. Does anyone know why the police and the TLC allow them to operate this unsafely, or at all?

  • Christa

    I recently saw the remnants of a car crash on our city’s main street where cars leisurely travel at 20 MPH.

    I heard a woman wailing from the ambulance.

    Now the ambulance is gone, but I will never see that street corner the same way again. It’s a beautiful, respectable street, too, in one of the most fiscally wealthy places in the world. But health is true wealth, and the streets should reflect this reality.

  • Pierre Rinfret

    Jeez, who knew ambulance drivers–excuse me, EMTs–were so sensitive. Kind of reminds me of that old joke: “What do you call a doctor who flunked out of medical school? A dentist.”

  • flp

    i’ve always wondered, if the ambulance personnel are so highly trained at the medical profession, why do they feel the need to drive so recklessly through city streets. yes, i know that time is of the essence, but shouldn’t personnel respect the lives and safety of all generally healthy road users and drive more carefully in order to also administer the needed medical attention to the patient on-board? i don’t see how careening through traffic as if in a tv show is allowing the opportunity to stabilize the patients condition.

  • stacey2545

    Anyone know what the blind spots are on an ambulance? Portland’s Hard Drive blog just had a post recently about the blind spots on a bus that hit several pedestrians. Just wondering if that could figure into this case.

  • chris

    A few things you are all assuming. Who had the right of way. Did the pedestrian run in to the street. Maybe the ambulance was going around cars that would not move or could not move. Its easy to blame the driver. But where is the responsibility of the person walking in front of the ambulance. Most pedestrians that are hit by cars are in the wrong place or are jay walking

  • chris

    Oh and if you law abiding citizens pulled over to the right (not the left or stop right in front of it) when an emergence vehicle was behind you there wouldn’t be a need for them to drive on the wrong side of the street or all craze cause there trying to figure out what your doing next

  • QueensMedic

    I am kind of late responding to this article but just wanted to drop some knowledge for the all knowing people who are posting on this article. First, most of the people in NYC have no idea what our job is and what we do for that matter. being an EMT for some time in NYC I have learned a lot about the general perception about EMS from the public. Yes, almost all people call us “Ambulance Drivers”. Yes, most of the time people like the play frogger with the ambulance and even with lights and sirens on people think its a game and run right out in front of the moving vechicle. Yes,as I’m driving with my sirens on I get nothing but people yelling at me and giving me the finger cause the sirens are hurting there ears. The same people that when they need us its always “what took you so long”. I don”t know..maybe people like you didn”t want to yield to us at a light, and did not want to move out of our way while driving here. Ems in NYC will always be in the back round of NYPD and FDNY, nothing against what they do but almost always we are on scene with them and do just as if not more work. It’s a shame the we don’t get the respect we DO deserve but maybe one day us as MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, will get that respect from the general public.

  • RMSI has its core competence in repatriation. They are a extremely knowledgeable operator of air ambulances both as helicopters and planes and also has a vast fleet of on land ambulances. Their skill is within hostile and remote areas where they serve a number of organizations in supply medical security to their staff.

  • Hans Hugo

    my assistant was searching for CBP 434 this month and was informed about an online platform that has 6 million forms . If others require CBP 434 also , here’s a https://goo.gl/lLcV5f

  • MAREN WEGMAN

    Good article, Thanks!

  • DONALD TAGUE

    Good article, Thanks!

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