Post Wonders What Woman Did to Get Herself Run Over by Cab Driver

It's unclear if this cab driver was violating traffic laws when he ran over a pedestrian, but Post reporters do not appear to be paying attention.
It’s unclear if this cab driver was violating traffic laws when he ran over a pedestrian, but Post reporters do not appear to be paying attention.

It used to be that the tabloids would focus on any mistake by an injured or deceased pedestrian while ignoring what a motorist did, or didn’t do, to cause a crash. Now, in the absence of actual evidence that a pedestrian was in any way at fault, the Post has taken to spreading innuendo.

Yesterday afternoon a woman was run over by a cab driver in Midtown. Here’s what happened according to Post reporters Minsi Chung and Natasha Velez:

A puddle of blood next to a crosswalk on 6th Avenue marked the spot where the woman was struck as she crossed the wide avenue. A taxi turning left from W. 38th Street clipped the woman moments after she stepped off the sidewalk.

It was unclear if the pedestrian was jaywalking, but a witness said the woman did not appear to be paying attention as she crossed the busy street.

See what Chung and Velez did? They insinuated the victim was jaywalking through pure speculation. And for good measure added a vague but damning detail from an unnamed witness.

It may be unclear if the woman was “paying attention” before she was struck in a crosswalk on a city street teeming with pedestrian traffic. Since there is no rule against distracted walking, and the law puts the onus on drivers to avoid running people over, this is irrelevant.

But here’s what else is unclear: We don’t know if the cabbie who hit her violated her right of way, was driving at an appropriate speed, or using the cell phone he’s shown holding in the Post photo. And the reason it’s unclear is because the tabloids routinely fail to address motorist behavior in their zeal to blame the woman who ends up under the cab or bus.

Implying without cause that a fallen pedestrian might have been asking for it is not reporting. Post reporters and their editors should provide readers with fact-based traffic violence coverage and leave the gossip to Page Six.

  • Robert Wright

    I got into a row yesterday with a cabbie who honked at me to hurry me up as I crossed the street. I told him his behavior led to cab drivers killing people. He responded that I was wrong – he said the reason more people were dying was because they were distracted by their phones. It brought home to me how invidious this victim-blaming is – it’s letting bad drivers excuse their own bad behavior. Needless to say, I wasn’t using my ‘phone.

  • Geck

    The post reported:
    “A taxi turning left from W. 38th Street clipped the woman moments after she stepped off the sidewalk”
    That would, if anything, indicate that the victim was not jaywalking as both the cab driver and the pedestrian would have had the signal at the same time.

  • Reader

    Not paying attention as you cross the street seems to translate, in Post-speak, to “not looking directly at the cab which sped around the corner at an absurdly high rate of speed before it ran her over.”

    Shameful.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    Ugh. One of the things that gets on my last nerve is when drivers honk at peds to hurry up, or wave their hand for you to hurry up and cross semi-seconds after they’ve actually bothered to yield to you by braking so that they are 2 feet away from mowing you down. My max speed is 4 mph, buddy — I don’t do zero to fifty in .8 seconds on my two feet in a crosswalk or anywhere. So you’ll just have to wait that eternity of 5 entire seconds for me to mosey on my way.

    Last night I shook my head at a driver who’d stopped at a red, but well into a crosswalk so that we had to go into the intersection to cross. He yelled out the window, “SO sorry I almost hurt someone!” in a big voice dripping with sarcasm. Hard to get people to see they are blaming the victim when they don’t even recognize/care that they are a threat to others.

  • Drivers act this way here in Chicago all the time. I’m originally from NYC, and in my entire life there I never saw as many blown red lights, stop sign roll throughs, and flat-out stops in crosswalks as I see here. You see it every single day, multiple times a day, and you learn never to step into the crosswalk until the last one–or three–cars runs the red light when it changes.

  • Jeff

    In their minds, speeding up to run the red light with reckless abandon within a second or so after it just turned red is okay, but approaching the red light on your bicycle, stopping, looking both ways, and proceeding slowly while yielding to other road users is the devil.

  • Thing is, most cyclists here blow the red lights and stop signs, too. Chicago hates rules.

  • Robert Wright

    I apologize in advance to the many on here who will have read it before, but I wrote just before Christmas about general attitudes to crashes involving pedestrians – and the bizarre assumptions behind them: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-brooklyn-heights-commuter-untimely.html People seem to think vulnerable road users are utterly irrational and drivers compassionate and caring towards others. It just doesn’t square with the observable facts of human nature.

  • ag

    If she crossed outside of the crosswalk, maybe just by a few feet, maybe there was a massive puddle she was trying to step around, would that be jaywalking? I’m guessing it would, and that’s a problem. I’d like to see it written in law that you can leave the crosswalk if the crosswalk is unusable, say if there is a massive puddle in the way, and that drivers have to take turns slow enough to stop for a pedestrian they can’t see around the corner.

  • stairbob

    Do the cyclists hate rules in general or just the ones that slow them down in order to facilitate motor traffic?

  • EileenM57

    More and more I think that we could resolve all of the legal issues by just giving pedestrans right of way against all vehicles (except emergency vehicles responding to an emergency) anywhere, anytime. At least in cities. It probably wouldn’t make anyone safer, but it would ensure that responsibility is properly assigned and that “jaywalking” would be irrelevant.

  • coupdefoudre

    Today, I shook my head at a SCHOOL BUS DRIVER who blatantly ran a solid red light as I was trying to cross in front of him. No kids on the bus, but really fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?

  • qrt145

    I also saw a snowplow driver run a solid red light today. The light had been red for several seconds, and he didn’t even slow down…

  • Rabi Abonour

    Getting mad at the Post for being inane is sort of like getting mad at rain for being wet, but this is still incredibly frustrating. Victim-blaming is so ingrained into the way our country thinks about automobile/pedestrian collisions.

  • mike

    For the record this lady had the walk signal and was in the crosswalk when she was struck by the taxi. I was there and informed NYPD officer on the scene.

  • Andres Dee

    …but you used a phone some time in your life, right? Jaywalker!

  • Miles Bader

    Will that make any difference in how they handle the case?

  • mike

    I don’t know if it will I just wanted it to be clear she was not jaywalking when she was struck. Hope she recovers.

  • Alex

    We really struggle with a “THE STREET IS FOR CARS” notion in the US. The prevailing wisdom is that cars/drivers should have primacy in the roads and be able to do whatever they want with impunity within that space, so long as they are sober. Pedestrians use of crosswalks is seen as a privilege that allows them brief access to DRIVER territory. Any pedestrian error or deviation that results in their death or injury is on them as they knew what they were getting into by entering that space. Any error or deviation on the part of a driver is excusable as they were in their domain and have important things to do and cannot be held up by people on foot or bike, who clearly do not have anything important to do. (This one is especially baffling to me since every driver is also a pedestrian.)

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