Private Dump Truck Driver Kills Woman at 23rd and Madison

Photo: ##https://twitter.com/sabredutch/status/287254181239193600/photo/1/large##sabredutch## via Gothamist

Gothamist reports that a private dump truck driver ran over and killed a woman this afternoon in Manhattan:

A woman was fatally struck by a private sanitation truck in the Flatiron district in Manhattan today. According to police, the incident happened around 12:26 p.m. at East 23rd Street and Madison Avenue. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the woman was pronounced dead at the scene, but had little other information. Based on photos, it appears she was hit by a CityWide demolition and rubbish removal vehicle.

Update: According to the Post, the victim was biking east on 23rd when she was struck by the dump truck driver, who was “pulling out into traffic.”

Two things to keep in mind while we look into this fatal crash:

  • Private dump trucks have the highest pedestrian kill rate of any type of vehicle on NYC streets, according to the 1999 report “Killed by Automobile” produced by analyst Charles Komanoff [PDF]. Maybe someone with power and authority, like City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca, should look into that and help to prevent more bloodshed.
  • There’s a law on the books requiring large trucks to be equipped with safety mirrors that let drivers see blind spots in front of the cab. However, the law also has some huge loopholes, including an exemption for vehicles registered out-of-state. CityWide Demolition is headquartered in Brooklyn. Among other aspects of the crash, Streetsblog will be looking into whether this truck was equipped with the special mirrors.

This fatal crash occurred in the 13th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to NYPD Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 13th Precinct community council meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 230 East 21st Street, at 6:30 p.m. Call (212) 477-7411 for information.

The City Council district where the victim was killed is represented by Rosie Mendez. To encourage Mendez to take action to improve street safety in her district and citywide, contact her at (212) 677-1077.

  • Anonymous

    We all know how this goes:
    “I didn’t see her!”
    “No criminality.”
    [Impotent fist shakes of a few people, the absolute highest on the totem pole being a city councilmember.]
    [Business as usual.]
    [Another death.]
    “I didn’t see him!”
    “No criminality.”
    And on and on and on.

  • Voter

    Based on the legislative priorities of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, if you’re a New Yorker who happens to be crushed by a truck while on foot or while cycling, it does not appear as if James Vacca and Christine Quinn care about you at all.

  • I saw this poor woman under the truck. Rest in peace! People, be careful!

  • Anonymous

    @yahoo-OLPOHMUMJQC4OKFMHDNCG64FLI:disqus I’m sure your comment is well intended, and I wouldn’t want to have seen what you did, but I don’t actually think the burden of being careful is equally distributed here. Drivers of large heavy vehicles need to be the ones reminded to be careful. In my experience, and based on the numbers, they’re very often not. They enjoy the weight of their vehicles and their consequent ability to use that weight as a threat against other road users. Not accidentally, they kill a lot of people. A lot.

  • I note that the Daily Post story remarks the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet – which is no more than a gratuitous little dig that she probably wasn’t being careful enough. It’s very hard to see what possible difference a helmet could have made to her in this circumstance.

  • Julysera

    I saw this happen. It was horrific. RIP.

  • Rissdog

    I hope this cyclist can RIP and I send prayers to her family, I know this is obvious but we really some protected cross town bike lanes!

  • Clarke

    I saw a dump truck going probably 50 mph on East Broadway on Monday, passing cars on the left (in the oncoming traffic lane). This insanity has to stop.

  • Cristinabutti

    I was there and I saw this poor woman under truk’s wheels and i thought to her family and her kids waiting mom pick them up at school. RIP

  • LN

    Was the driver on a NYC contract at the time? Does CW hold city contracts?

    I wonder if agencies using private haulers might consider the safety record when awarding those contracts? I wonder if they might be persuaded to do so that our tax dollars don’t pay for these deaths? Perhaps responsible private companies could do the same?

  • Sean Kelliher

    @f4d0e1a5e2226d785214065ae403b737:disqus Thank you for mentioning the need for protected crosstown bike lanes. I work in midtown and use the rather sad crosstown lanes on 9th/10th and 20th and 21st. I tried but gave up on the really sad sharrows/Class II combination lanes on 29th/30th, 39th/40th, and 49th/50th. With all of them you ride in a wavering state of anxiety, watching for opening doors, motorists pulling in or out of parking spaces, or drifting over the painted line. Of course, you spend a good deal of time circling around double parked vehicles too.

    When DOT rolled out the new crosstown lanes that I mentioned above, I attended one of  its presentations. During the Q&A part, I explained to Hayes Lord, the DOT’s presenter, that these lanes provided little to no protection. I then asked if they were “as good as it gets” or an interm step to a better option? He didn’t answer my question. Instead he re-directed into talking points about how great sharrows were. His explanation involved mostly wishful thinking and fuzzy math. Everyone parked near the curb, there were no oversized vehicles, and no double parking. His illustration showed bicyclists on a completely traffic free street. I let it go because Mr. Lord seems like a decent man and, in this case, he was surrounded by a crowd largely concerned about parking spaces. He had his hands full.

    However, I think it’s important to raise this issue and I’m glad others are thinking about it.

  • Bill

    On my way to lunch, I saw the woman under the truck as she died.  All the girls walking by burst into tears when they looked.  I thought I could handle it because I’m a “tough guy that never cries”.   However, it rattled me all day.  I was telling everyone at work about it but I was still uneasy.   It wasn’t until I got home that night and told my brother on the phone when I suddenly burst into tears,  it just came out of me. If you saw this happen, please talk to people about it and let out your emotions.  Don’t bottle it in because it could come out years from now in a bad way.    My heart and prayers go out to the family.   It’s not safe on those streets people!  Do whatever you can to avoid those freaking garbage trucks and buses. 
     

  • One of my most terrified moments was when a land rover driver, in broad daylight, suddenly “pulled out” into the physical space I happened to be riding in, only pausing when I screamed for my life. At the inevitable next red light I knocked on her window and demanded to know why she did this. The disturbingly calm driver claimed a) not to have seen me and b) that I must have seen her and should have gotten out of the way.

    I think some drivers who are “pulling out” in large vehicles don’t look for cyclists and don’t care if they do see any. They assume that we’ll give way no matter what, forgetting that we may not even be able to because of other traffic, or street conditions. On a lot of our crappy streets there is only one way to go between the potholes and uneven manhole covers. As a rule I will not make an unplanned move into faster traffic just because a stopped driver is apparently ready to enter the street.

    Stopped drivers need to learn to look for and wait for cyclists riding in the street to pass, the same as they do for other drivers when there is metal at stake. The only way it’s going to happen for cyclists is if laws are enforced in killings like this one.

  • Anonymous

    My sincere condolences for the cyclist family. But I also want to send out my prayers for the truck driver who must be devastated and must feel like nothing. We can all put our two sences and blame the truck or blame the cyclist but we won’t no what really happen. All these post that I read have different info. some say she was walking her bike, others say she was riding it, or that he knew she was there and that’s why he stopped, or that he was flagged on the cyclist being under the wheels. Our prayers should go for everyone and God bless them all.

  • Adam Anon

    The private dump trucks and the concrete mixers trucks, they drive like they own the streets and are above the laws. If I see them I stay far away. They’re reckless and have zero respect for others. They break the laws knowingly and all the time. The Ferrara bros concrete trucks drivers around Maspeth and Williamsburg are psychopaths, for instance.

  • T Siino

    Anyone know her name?

  • T Siino

    I also saw the body under the truck,nypd should of done a better job of hiding the body,she had on a white shirt .So sad .I take the bus on 23 rd and Madison Avenue.I was surprised to see the body still there at 3.

  • Anonymous

    @Sam2929:disqus 

     We can all put our two sences and blame the truck or blame the cyclist but we won’t no what really happen.

    The thing is, we’ll *never* know what happened. The NYPD will yawn their way through this–guaranteed. 
    And so what do you do if you’re that woman’s family? What do you have? A bunch of mind-blowingly bad police work (see @147028296544c62d17f2fffb27cb33d1:disqus ‘s comment), a brick wall of bureaucracy–and no resolution. You won’t even be able to sue in civil court very effectively because the police will have botched the investigation so utterly that you’ll be left with not even the meagerest of information.
    And well-meaning people will think “everyone needs to be more careful” and “the driver probably feels bad.” 
    And the fake balance of that will obscure the reality that the tragedies are entirely one-sided.

  • Frank Dell

    A few random thoughts.  First of all, RIP nameless cyclist.  As others have commented, this does point out the need for safe crosstown routes.  Personally, there is no way I’d ride on 23rd.  Driver’s Ed must improve if driving practices are going to change.  Most large SUV drivers think they’re driving a car when they are, in fact, driving a truck.

  • Oaguilar0604

    Thank you for posting… I saw it and felt all the things you did. It was surreal and devasting to witness this scene.

  • Redwill0w

    I won’t give the victim’s name because I feel that is up to her family, but I knew her. She was a selfless, kind person professionally and personally, who always looked at how she could help others rather than how she could be served. When Hurricane Sandy hit and her building was without power, she carried supplies up flight after flight of stairs to the elderly and unwell in her building for weeks, despite hurting her knees in the process. She was bright, kind, funny, loving, thoughtful and full of life and enjoyment. A really fine human being. I miss her, and am so sorry for her family and loved ones.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who is here for the first time, looking into what happens after someone kills a cyclist in New York City, should read articles on Mathieu Lefevre:
    http://www.streetsblog.org/?s=lefevre
    And you’ll see that the police feel an odd compulsion to exculpate drivers who kill and falsely condemn the cyclists who are killed.
    And Lefevre’s killing was, as these things go, totally normal. The only thing that clearly makes his situation different is his family’s unusual willingness to pour resources into finding out the truth.

  • Julysera

    I saw this happen as well and feel totally traumatized. The worst part was seeing people take out their camera phones to take photos. Those people should be ashamed of themselves. God help them if they are ever lying in pieces in the street, slowly dying while a bunch of rubberneckers post their last moments to facebook. Disgusting. Additionally, I’ve been haunted by what I saw for a few days. If anyone knew her, please pass condolences to the family. I can hardly cross the street lately – I’m so full of anxiety.  

  • If they ever put bike lanes on 23rd Street, they should be named after her.

  • biker dude

    i was there just after she died.  it certainly was an awful feeling standing there so close to someone else who had just died.

    i think the point about the helmet wasn’t that it would have saved her from getting crushed by the truck but that she was reckless in general.  i ride 1000s of miles every year and never would ride 10 feet without a helmet on.  i don’t know anything about the woman or what happened (nobody other than the driver probably does) but riding without a helmet, at the very least, gives a presumption of reckless riding.

  • Jcraverbkny

    Redwillow, please let her family know that the NYC biking community sends their love and deepest condolences. I work four blocks from there and have often ridden along 23rd St. Not anymore tho. Peace.

  • The media is going to keep on saying things like “was not wearing a helmet” as long as various organizations and the city keep on promoting these vastly over-rated objects.

  • Anonymous

    @twitter-18585314:disqus I want to live in this city that you and Louise Hainline imagine–where the recommendations of Transportation Alternatives thunder across the plains, unleashing no end of havoc for ordinary, good-hearted New Yorkers.

  • This poor woman was killed five days ago and has yet to be identified? Does she have a name? Does anybody care?

  • Joe R.

    @dporpentine:disqus I think toddedelman’s larger point is that you mostly hear stuff like “wear a helmet and obey traffic laws” with regards to bike safety. None of the mainstream bike advocacy organizations say anything different. This is bound to have an effect on the way the media reports bike accidents (i.e. no helmet = cyclist is presumed reckless). Once, just once, I would love to hear something more aligned with reality from so-called cycling advocacy groups. Remember overseas the majority of people on bikes don’t wear helmets, yet their injury/death rate is far lower than ours. Yes, good infrastructure has something to do with it. In fact, it has a lot to do with it. The converse is true as well. Helmets aren’t going to make any statistical difference in survival rates in the type of collisions likely to kill cyclists. Promoting them as the be all and end all of bike safety is at best disingenuous, especially when unbiased studies at best show them to be marginally effective, and then only in low-speed incidents not involving motor vehicles.

  • Joe R.

    “i ride 1000s of miles every year and never would ride 10 feet without a helmet on. i don’t know anything about the woman or what happened (nobody other than the driver probably does) but riding without a helmet, at the very least, gives a presumption of reckless riding.”

    Riding helmetless only gives the presumption of reckless riding to those ignorant of the facts. The media and a lot of those in positions of power can’t be bothered to research the facts. Rather, they want to continue the same old meme that cyclists are largely responsible for their mishaps because to do otherwise would require a change in how we do things. The good thing is facts can’t stay buried forever. During the last year I’ve read more on the inconvenient truth about helmets than I have in the previous two decades. I personally think bike helmets are a passing fad which is thankfully on the way out. Bike share will hopefully finally give some legitimacy to the idea that riding without a helmet not only isn’t dangerous, but also makes cycling infinitely more useful as day-to-day transportation.

    I also practice what I preach. I’ve ridden for close to 35 years without a helmet. They didn’t exist when I started riding. By the time they did come out I already had a wealth of experience telling me cycling is a very safe activity, so I saw no good reason to start wearing one. Nothing I’ve read or seen since then has been compelling enough to change my mind. A lot I’ve read in the past year more or less tells me I’ve been right all along. 

  • biker dude

    joe r, your post is ridiculous.  just because you are reckless and don’t wear a helmet doesn’t mean that wearing one is useless.  claiming that helmets are a “passing fad” might be one of the most ridiculous comments i ever have seen on the internet.  i’m sorry to inform you that they are a lot more than a fad and it is incontrovertible that they protect the head if a person crashes and hits his or her head.  in the future, please refrain from posting any more nonsensical ideas that claim otherwise.

    regarding the woman, yes, the fact that she didn’t have a helmet on gives the presumption that she was reckless.  so does the fact that she pushed off mid-block into moving traffic and wound up getting run over.  i don’t know what happened — and neither do you — but i would be very surprised if this accident wasn’t entirely her fault.

  • Brad Aaron

    @yahoo-673HZ5SWZ23ZMXSGTH2EYEYV2Y:disqus NYPD could not confirm the victim’s identity as of late Monday afternoon.

  • Anonymous

    @75a5efbb1afba25b9e95b90d9c478dbf:disqus 

    i would be very surprised if this accident wasn’t entirely her fault.

    That’s revolting.

  • biker dude

    That’s revolting.

    you can’t deal with what likely is the truth?

  • Joe R.

    @75a5efbb1afba25b9e95b90d9c478dbf:disqus “joe r, your post is ridiculous. just because you are reckless and don’t wear a helmet doesn’t mean that wearing one is useless”

    Please do yourself and the rest of those here a big favor by learning about a subject before you post nonsense like the quote above. You can start here:

    http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

    Here’s a relevant link from that site in case you can’t be bothered to search it:

    http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1251.html

    The last sentence reads:

    “This is a powerful paper that discredits some of the most widely cited pro-helmet research by applying rigorous tests for bias and conflict of interest. It also notes that more recent research does not show any clear benefit from helmet use and that the failure of post-law research to find the predicted benefits from helmet use may be explained by behaviour patterns that could be an artefact of promoting and mandating helmet use.”

    I’ve read extensively on this subject, both pro and con. I also have nearly 35 years and 68,000+ miles of road experience which says riding without a helmet isn’t reckless. Comments like yours play right into the hands of those who look to blame cyclists for their own deaths. If you want to wear a helmet, then by all means please do so. However, don’t make blanket statements that those who don’t are acting recklessly when the facts state otherwise.

    I’ll reserve judgement for who was at fault here until all of the facts come out, if they ever do.

  • Maliz

    @000f150344da3dd96bcfb370136cb7a3:disqus  You certainly knew her.  I am her niece and miss her smiling eyes.  Thank you for the kind words and complete respect for our privacy.

  • Maliz

    Not sure you saw my post above. She was my aunt. Thank you for your kind words and respecting our privacy. It’s painful beyond belief knowing what happened to her. She was so kind and I will miss her smiling eyes. We are coming in from CT tomorrow with family to go to her apt and I get to me L, her SO for the first time. Going to be a hard day. May God bless you.

  • Lou

    Redwillow, thanks for all your kind words, and for anyone who thinks she was Identified they are wrong, she was ID by me Saturday morning after searching for her all night on Friday, you would have thought the Police would have called me since I was her emergency contact as well as her boyfriend, and all my personal information was on her, but the time they called me Saturday afternoon I was already at the morgue and already started the process of having her handled with the respect she was due, she was an amazing lady, I remember her helping people during the aftermath of Sandy and she helped people everyday of her life as she was a nurse. She is not nameless but we grieve privately, the fact it took so long to remove her from the scene is disgraceful.
    If anyone has any information about the accident and would share it with me I would be grateful, her family and I are still in shock and are having a tough time trying to figure how this happened….thank you all your kind words, your prayers, on behalf of her and all of her family I thank you   Lou    lou@329@aol.com 

  • Lou

    She gets run over by a truck, she did not Rin in front of it, it got to close yo her and it was her fault …I hope I truck doe not clip you one foot off the curb but if it did I am sure it would be your fault too

  • Anonymous

    @c367c4415e9659c8d1783ab9beb7540e:disqus Want to try that again? I can’t make any sense of what you wrote.

  • T Siino

    what was her name/
    ?

  • Jackie

    To the family and friends of the deceased. Please accept our deepest condolences for your loss. You are in our thoughts.

    Recently a ghost bike memorial was installed at 23rd Street and Madison Avenue. We hope that this memorial will bring you some comfort.

    We are writing to invite you to participate in the Eighth Annual Memorial Ride and Walk, which is scheduled for April 21, 2013. We encourage you to say a few words. We will spend approximately 10-15 minutes at the location, including a moment of silence and a bike lift in her honor and memory. The full schedule for the day is posted on http://ghostbikes.org/node/949

    Please contact us http://www.ghostbikes.org/contact
    We would be honored if you could participate.

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