75-Year-Old Man on Crutches, Wearing Reflective Vest, Killed in Manhattan

A 75-year-old man on crutches was killed while trying to cross First Avenue on the Upper East Side this morning.

Photo: ##http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/05/08/man-critically-injured-after-being-hit-by-truck-on-ues/##CBS 2##

According to reports, the victim, who was wearing a reflective vest, crossed in front of a stopped box truck at First at 89th Street at approximately 8:20 a.m. When the signal changed, the victim was caught in the street.

Gothamist has this statement from NYPD:

The traffic light changed from red to green and a truck standing (northbound on 1st Ave) at the traffic light waved the pedestrian to cross. Another vehicle also traveling northbound on First Ave began to move causing the pedestrian to fall back into the path of the truck’s rear tire. The operator of the truck believed the pedestrian had completed crossing the street and proceeded to drive, striking the pedestrian.

A witness told City Room: “The truck, from Ace Party Rental, was not going fast, just inching forward, but, unaware that the man had fallen beneath, the driver struck him.” No summonses were issued, police told the Times.

Though there are many unknowns, if the crash unfolded as described it is as much as anything another indictment of the absolutely unforgiving nature of New York City streets. When a vulnerable user feels the need to don a reflective vest to protect himself from drivers and, to paraphrase the Times, it still isn’t enough, your system is broken.

DOT has been building pedestrian refuges on First Avenue in the 60s as part of the East Side protected bike lane project. The safer redesign, which gives pedestrians shorter crossing distances, will extend up to 125th Street, but the construction timetable is unclear. It’s safe to say, however, that work would have proceeded faster if not for the misguided resistance of a few businesses along the route.

This fatal crash occurred in the 19th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Inspector Matthew A. Whelan, the commanding officer, head to the next precinct community council meeting. The 19th Precinct council meetings happen at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month at the precinct station house, 153 E. 67th Street. Call the precinct at 212-452-0600 for information.

  • bill b

    This is in my neighborhood, First ave is a major truck route. I was there about 15 mins. after it happen. Witnesses were saying that the man lost his balance and fell backwards.  The cushion top from a crutch was lying just under the truck.  If he was an oldtime resident, I or a relative would know him. God rest his soul.

  • Hilda

    Pedestrians crossing First Ave have a hard time no matter what age. I have gotten off my bike on my way up a number of times to walk across with someone that has gotten stuck when the light changes. Often it is someone who is elderly, but I have also helped moms with strollers. Add it to the “things to do when stopped at a red light” list.

    It is so intimidating, to anyone, to have vehicles inching forward, not going fast, but it is worse if you are a little slower to cross. Have to say that if there wasn’t a witness, this would probably be deemed pedestrian crossing against the light. 

  • What a horrifying death. He would have had fewer steps to take if Stephen Goldsmith hadn’t postponed the installation of the pedestrian refuge islands on this stretch about two years ago.

  • Horrifying in every way. Really unfortunate for everyone involved.

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