This was the scene on the Prospect Park loop Saturday afternoon. With two pedestrians having sustained serious injuries in collisions with cyclists on the southwest side of the park over the last six months, NYPD and the Parks Enforcement Patrol set up at the base of the hill where the crashes happened. (The Daily News, in a typical he-said/she-said style piece, claimed credit for the police checkpoint this weekend.)
Heightening awareness of the need to look out for other park users is all to the good. But Doug Gordon at Brooklyn Spoke raised a good question this morning. Namely: Why can’t locations with a history of traffic crashes that cause injuries also get NYPD checkpoints?
It seems like only bike-ped crashes elicit this kind of response from police, while locations where motorists cause fatalities are forgotten as soon as the crash scene is cleared and the NYPD declares that “no criminality is suspected.”
Around the corner from Streetsblog HQ is one of the most crash-prone locations in the city. The intersection of Lafayette and Canal saw 13 crashes and one pedestrian injury in the month of August alone, but I’ve never seen officers on the scene, on the lookout for motorists who fail to yield or run a light. The more common sight is a traffic enforcement agent waving cars and trucks through crosswalks where pedestrians have the signal.
There are thousands of locations in New York City where police could hand out flyers about obeying the speed limit and yielding to pedestrians to drivers stopped at red lights. If NYPD can devote resources to bike-ped conflicts in the Prospect Park loop, why not send a few officers out to the places where people are getting maimed and killed in traffic?