Two Pedestrians Killed in a Month in Same Upper East Side Precinct

Motorists have killed two pedestrians in the 19th Precinct, on the Upper East Side, in the last month. The second victim was a woman hit by a school bus driver yesterday.

Photo: Neetzan Zimmerman / ##https://twitter.com/neetzan/status/464490348698693633/photo/1##@neetzan##
Photo: Neetzan Zimmerman / ##https://twitter.com/neetzan/status/464490348698693633/photo/1##@neetzan##

The victim was crossing E. 93rd Street at Second Avenue south to north at around 3:30 p.m. when she was run over by the bus driver, who was traveling west on 93rd, according to reports. She died at the scene.

NYPD had not released the victim’s identity as of this afternoon. Reports said she appeared to be in her 40s.

From the Daily News:

“The bus was traveling westbound and trying to get through a yellow light before it turned red. The bus driver didn’t see the pedestrian. He was looking straight ahead trying to make the light,” the witness said.

He said the [Second Avenue subway] construction barriers were likely a factor.

“It really does obfuscate the view,” he said.

Multiple media reports speculated that the victim may have been crossing against the light, though one man told DNAinfo that drivers often run reds at the intersection.

Freddy Alvarez, the resident manager at the nearby Waterford Condominiums, did not witness the accident but saw the gruesome aftermath and groceries scattered in the roadway.

He said that traffic barriers and equipment from construction on the Second Avenue subway line create a hazard for pedestrians and a distraction for drivers.

It is “very dangerous. They don’t stop,” he said. “The fence blocks the [traffic] light.”

A temporary light was placed at the intersection when a stop sign failed to properly regulate traffic, Alvarez said.

“Even with light,” he added, “people don’t stop.”

No summonses were issued to the driver, an NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog, and the investigation is ongoing.

In April, 22-year-old Kelly Gordon was struck and killed by two cab drivers at York Avenue and E. 81st Street, 11 blocks south and two blocks east of yesterday’s crash. Media reports claimed Gordon was jaywalking, but family members said the police report contradicted that account. No summonses were issued, according to Gordon’s father, who testified before the City Council at a Vision Zero hearing last month.

As of March, officers from the 19th Precinct had ticketed 15 drivers for speeding in 2014, and 185 for failure to yield. Local officers wrote 29 speeding tickets in all of 2013.

Both crashes occurred in the City Council district represented by Ben Kallos, who went to the scene yesterday. Kallos said six kids, from age five to 11, were on the bus. “Nobody should die from a traffic accident,” Kallos told DNAinfo.

  • cjstephens

    While it’s never pleasant to blame the victim, it looks like, in both of these cases, the pedestrians were not where a driver might expect to see them. I’m not saying that a jaywalking ticket blitz is the answer, but please, people, look both ways before you cross the street. Especially if you don’t have the light in your favor.

  • Joe R.

    Part of the problem here seems to be that you can’t see what’s coming until you’re already in the traffic lane. Traffic lights or not, I refuse to cross any street where I can’t see what’s coming in advance. The city should require clear lines of sight at all crossings. If this isn’t feasible due to construction then it should install pedestrian bridges and block access to the crosswalk at street level.

  • cjstephens

    Indeed, the slight lines are tricky around construction (and around certain large trucks outside of construction areas, but that’s a rant for another day). All the same, as a pedestrian, when I can’t see oncoming traffic, I edge out slowly, even if I have the light, and I certainly don’t cross against the light when I can’t see oncoming traffic, which appears to be what happened here.

  • Joe R.

    It’s a pity there’s not a camera at that intersection to definitively tell us what happened. Sure, you shouldn’t cross against the light if you can’t see what’s coming. By the same token, having the light is no guarantee of safety in this city where drivers increasingly run red lights. I’ve noted that latest trend seems to be going through steady reds, rather than lights which just turned red. Pedestrians typically expect drivers to try and make lights as they change, so they don’t cross until the light is red for a few seconds. However, now with more and more drivers running even steady reds, pedestrians need to look all the time before crossing.

  • I’ve also noticed motorists using construction as an excuse to drive even worse than usual, pulling fully into crosswalks when the walk sign is still white. Surprised pedestrians are forced into the street, while visibility is reduced and danger is increased for everyone.

    No reason to assume the motorists had green lights here any more than the pedestrians ; legal proceedings would be the fair and proper way to get closer to the truth, but we can’t have *that*.

  • NerdieGummies

    The school bus that killed the lady was from my school. It is such a shame that people have to die to get actual notice to a serious problem.

  • Aunt Bike

    Any excuse to drive more recklessly and thoughtlessly. Rain, congestion, a lot of pedestrians, and apparently the time of day. Rush hour may pretty much be over by 9 AM, but the increased danger to pedestrians has just gotten started, and it keeps up until 6 PM.

  • Philip Orton

    I live on the street and can vouch that ZERO cars obey the speed limit when not slowed by traffic. The speed limit between 1st and 2nd Avenues is 15mph and clearly labeled due to the construction, but to my knowledge nobody pays attention to it and nobody ever pays a price. Until now.

    It is time for the city to start enforcing the speed limit or we need to do something to take matters into our own hands.

  • WalkingNPR

    “He said the [Second Avenue subway] construction barriers were likely a factor. ‘It really does obfuscate the view,’ he said.”

    Then maybe, just maaaaybe, you shouldn’t have been playing “beat the light.” Maybe, we could even remember that yellow lights are supposed to mean “slow” not “speed”

  • 1bestdog

    Where the hell do you get your information? In “both cases?’ Did you not read that the police report for the tragedy on York said she did not appear to be jaywalking? And we do not know a thing about Thursdays accident except the driving sped up to beat the light and she was in the crosswalk. Does it make you all feel better to blame the victims?

  • 1bestdog

    A crossing guard was posted at the same intersection today after a pedestrian was struck at 11 am crossing Second Avenue with the walk sign by a car turning left from 93 st. this time the injury was a broken leg.

  • cjstephens

    The press reports I read about the pedestrian death on York Avenue had eyewitness statements that the victim was jaywalking. As for this incident, I have yet to read anywhere that the driver was at fault.

    I’m a pedestrian almost all the time (never owned a car), and I have little patience for the official stance that drivers should get everything they want. That said, if we want Vision Zero to become a reality (i.e. zero deaths), we have to remember that pedestrians need to take at least the minimum precautions, like making sure there is no oncoming traffic when we cross the streets. I see reckless, dangerous behavior from pedestrians every day.

    Refusing to accept the possibility that sometimes, just sometimes, the pedestrian might be at fault, makes our side look bad and diminishes the chances of getting the political backing we need to make our streets safer.

  • 1bestdog

    I read speculation no definitive eyewitness accounts. I read every article there is. It is reckless and disrespectful for anyone, press, police or otherwise to speculate like this if they do not know the facts. Meanwhile I took actual video yesterday that shows less than five second pass between the yellow light flashing and the walk sign on. Most of the long bus was well into the intersection–she was in the crosswalk–she most likely had a walk and stepped off. She should have waited until the bus was well past but she did NOT jaywalk, it is pretty obvious.

  • cjstephens

    You’re making too many assumptions to list here, and taking a video days after the incident proves precisely nothing. Is there never a time when you have seen pedestrians put themselves in danger?

  • 1bestdog

    “To clear up the record, it was reported in the press that Kelly was jaywalking. She was not. The police report reflects that. Witnesses reflect that. Kelly was not jaywalking,” said Gordon’s aunt, Lori Centerella. “She was standing just off the curb when a driver sped through the yellow light, struck her, and sent her into the path of another driver.”

    So Cjstephens, please read more carefully and do not believe all “journalists sloppy repeating of lies and speculation. The above quotes the police report and clearly states she was not jaywalking. As for the forever anonymous victim of Thursday (does she not even rate identification?) did you not see he “sped up to beat the pending red light? Irresponsible. And I doubt he “beat it.” A two second yellow in a school bus? He ran that red light. And I bet money he was exceeding the posted 15 mph.

  • cjstephens

    So, in other words, the victim on York Avenue _was_ jaywalking. According to her aunt (who apparently wasn’t there, though neither was I), the victim was off the curb when she didn’t have the light. The car that hit her did have the light. So she was jaywalking. She was standing in traffic when the light was against her. It’s sad that someone who appeared to be relatively smart could do something so stupid, but it happens.

    As for the school bus driver, you claim that he ran the red light based on nothing. No one at the scene claimed that is what happened. So far all accounts indicate that the driver had a yellow light, which means it was legal for the bus to enter the intersection. It also means that the pedestrian had a red light. If she entered the intersection, she was jaywalking. While there are plenty of bad drivers in all lines of work, I have found that school bus drivers tend to drive more conservatively, so when I hear his claim that he had a yellow light, I tend to believe him. I also have to doubt your guess that he was going more than 15 mph. The construction at that site, while dangerously inhibiting visibility, also acts like a neck-down, slowing traffic on that narrow side street.

  • Andrew

    The press reports I read about the pedestrian death on York Avenue had eyewitness statements that the victim was jaywalking. As for this incident, I have yet to read anywhere that the driver was at fault.

    The press reports I read strongly imply that the drivers were speeding, and at least one was failing to exercise due care.

    Even if the pedestrian was not blameless, neither were the drivers.

    We need to change the attitude that jaywalking is the ultimate sin.

  • cjstephens

    I read your reply before I went to work, and as I left home and crossed First Avenue, I saw a woman crossing the side street, in the crosswalk but against the light, texting and not looking up as she was nearly killed by a truck that had the right of way. This was a block away from where that woman was killed on York Avenue.

    Jaywalking isn’t the ultimate sin, but the easiest and most effective way for New Yorkers to protect themselves is to look for oncoming traffic before crossing the street. We don’t need politicians or police or new laws to make this happen – we can protect ourselves by being just a little more careful.

    As for what happened on York Avenue, we don’t really know if the drivers were speeding. It’s a dangerous intersection to try to jaywalk, as the geometry of the hill makes it impossible to see if there are cars going north on York. From what I understand, she was hit by such a car, and might have survived except that she was knocked into oncoming traffic going south on York. This might be a case where drivers really were blameless: a pedestrian was not where a driver might expect to see anyone, and even at the legal speed limit, no driver can be expected to have reflexes that fast. People do reckless, thoughtless things, and sometimes that gets them killed.

  • qrt145

    If you are driving fast enough to not be able to see what’s going on ahead of you, due to geometry, fog, or whatever, you are driving “too fast for conditions”, regardless of the posted speed limit.

  • 1bestdog

    NO! Jesus can you read? The woman reading the police report was her Aunt. The police report said the victim (that would be Keyy, not the cab driver) was standing right of the curb. One foot in the curb is not jaywalking. Then did you read the part where the first cab SPED through the intersection to beat the yellow light? SPEEDING is the cause here, as usual.

    Why do you insist blaming pedestrians and ignoring the negligence of so many drivers?

    While you were observing your inattentive walker on the way to work, had your attention been elsewhere I am 100 per cent positive you would have found reckless drivers everywhere, certainly speeding–which is a town full of people is ALWAYS reckless.

  • 1bestdog

    Oh please list them. One day after the accident, do you think the lights have changed? Do you?

    By the way, did you read the part where they had a guard there because that morning (one day after the fatal bus accident), an elderly man, crossing with the light in the crosswalk was mowed down by a turning car and his leg was broken. This, according to neighborhood witnesses and the crossing guard hired by the MTA.

    Of course I see foolish pedestrians everyday. I also am one and despite my every precaution have almost been hit numerous times. Let’s see, 5 foot something, a hundred pounds give or take vs thousand of pounds of speeding steel. I’d say the legal onus is on the cars to be vigilant..

    Do you think the child ripped from holding his father’s hand in a crosswalk with the light on the upper west side who was fatally run over by a yellow cab turning was to blame too? People got on these boards talking out of the side of their mouth about how “parents need to watch their children” the father was holding his hand!

  • cjstephens

    You are insisting on interpreting what you read to fit your agenda. If she wasn’t on the sidewalk and she didn’t have the light, then she was jaywalking. End of story. And even your claim that she was partially on the curb (?) doesn’t make sense, as there is a parking lane where she was trying to cross, so she would have to have been at least eight feet off the sidewalk in order to get hit by a car. Also, just because a car speeds up to make the light, that doesn’t mean that the car was going faster than the posted speed limit.

    I’m not ignoring negligent drivers. I see that kind of behavior all the time, too, and as a pedestrian I am outraged by the constant danger these drivers put me in. I’m just not convinced that’s what happened here. And I worry that by putting 100% of the blame for traffic deaths on drivers, we are weakening our stance when trying to convince politicians to act to make our streets safer.

  • cjstephens

    You’re right to be angry about the man who was hit by a turning car – it’s one of the most dangerous maneuvers that aggressive drivers make. You’re also right to be upset about the boy who was killed on the UWS. I’m upset about those incidents, too. But that’s not what happened here. Taking an absolutist stance that drivers are always the one at fault in a collision is counterproductive and, in the long run, will hinder our efforts to make the streets safer by alienating safe drivers.

  • Mags

    Well, yes. People in New York City are in danger from motorist violence literally all the time. Whether on a sidewalk, in a crosswalk with the light, in their home, or office, or car, or bike, or place of business, people have been maimed or killed in every one of these situations in the last twelve months, and very often their killers are coddled (“oh my goodness, are you [driver] okay? you
    must be so shaken up. he [the victim] came out of nowhere and should
    have been more careful”). If you think otherwise, read through the Weekly Carnage or the annual In Memoriam sometime. Or take a look at the less-than-a-month old visionzero app where people have the ability to report failure-to-yield violations.

    I am not saying people shouldn’t take reasonable precautions for their own safety, because I think we all know that and we do our best at it. But I’d urge you to think through your reactions to, say, a tragic death from child abuse. Would it be to write into a parenting forum reminding everyone that kids misbehave sometimes, and probably the deceased was a bad kid who deserved his fate? To my mind, this is what happens when we stand around scolding the voiceless victims. To bring it back to traffic, if an ambulance had been hit by the very same school bus, or if a uniformed cop had been hit by two taxicabs, wouldn’t you then feel that the drivers of the school bus and the taxicabs bore some responsibility to avoid running over people in front of them?

    Finally it boggles my mind that there is NOT camera footage of the school bus killing this still-unidentified woman, to tell us what happened at Second and 93rd.

  • cjstephens

    Two points where I disagree: comparing traffic death victims to child abuse victims is a) obviously a bit inflammatory and b) a bad comparison, because we assume that children are not in a position to protect themselves, whereas adult traffic death victims are sometimes able to make choices to enhance their safety. Sure, this doesn’t apply to the majority of victims who are injured or killed while they are crossing the street in the crosswalk with the light. But there are enough easily preventable deaths that we should do what we can to avoid those tragedies.

    Also, you say that we should take reasonable precautions, and “we all know that and we do our best at it.” Clearly we aren’t doing our best at it. While I see dangerous driving every day, I also see reckless pedestrians walking out in front of oncoming traffic every day. We should demand that drivers do their best, but we should also demand that pedestrians do better. It will save lives.

  • Mags

    I agree with the first point – it’s a very strong analogy, and obviously inflammatory. My apologies if I offended. I was reaching for something where societal attitudes have shifted over the past half-century or so, from “this is how things go” to “this is completely unacceptable, criminal behavior that we as a society will do our best to eradicate.”

    I just fundamentally disagree that we need to “demand pedestrians do better” especially hooked onto two deaths where we know very little about what happened.

  • Mags

    One more thing – I don’t drive often, but when I do, you’re absolutely right, occasionally people walk in front of me when I have the right of way. So I tap the brakes, toot the horn if I need to. I mean, come on. What, am I supposed to kill them to teach them or someone else a lesson? To get to my office or a dinner reservation on time? I think this is why the 20 is Plenty campaign can really help NYC safety. It’s a much more pleasant, palatable speed for me, as a driver, on densely populated surface streets.

  • Mags

    Another analogy: in the US, an estimated 32,367 people died in crashes in 2011. That’s not like an alternate-reality nightmare America, that’s the actual country we live in. If you take an average commercial airplane capacity of 175 people, this is like a loaded passenger jet crashed and everybody on board was killed, every other day, all year long.

    It feels insane, right?

    So in this scenario, do we demonize the unlucky passengers who held plane tickets on the doomed flights? I’d hope not. We could do so much more good by aiming to root out the causes of these deaths. Hypotheses: We need better airplane engineering – or better air traffic control – or better pilots – or better airport design – or black box technology like a camera that will let us know if misguided passengers somehow are the cause. Whatever it is, what do we gain by casting aspersions on the victims without knowing the facts? Let’s figure it out and fix it.

  • cjstephens

    Or this analogy: every year, thousands of people die from lung cancer. Some of them never smoked a day in their lives, but many were smokers who ignored the risks clearly stated in the Surgeon Generals warning on every pack. You don’t discount these victims, of course, but it’s hard not to think that they are partly responsible for their own problems. I know, the numbers on this are flipped, as most people hit by cars are not doing anything wrong at the time, but do you see my point that some victims bear some responsibility for what happens to them? It doesn’t mean that we don’t try for better plane engineering/a cure for cancer/safer drivers, to apply this across analogies, but we have to acknowledge that some of these deaths are more easily preventable than others.

  • Andrew

    As for what happened on York Avenue, we don’t really know if the drivers were speeding.

    That’s right, and we probably never will, because the instant anyone suggests that the victim was jaywalking, the NYPD absolves the driver of all possible wrongdoing.

    But I think it’s quite likely that the drivers in question were speeding and/or failing to exercise due care.

    It’s a dangerous intersection to try to jaywalk, as the geometry of the hill makes it impossible to see if there are cars going north on York.

    If visibility is limited, then surely it’s incumbent on drivers to slow down a bit so that they can see what (or who) is ahead of them!

  • cjstephens

    “But I think it’s quite likely that the drivers in question were speeding and/or failing to exercise due care.”

    Based on what? Your gut instinct that drivers are always at fault?

    “If visibility is limited, then surely it’s incumbent on drivers to slow down a bit so that they can see what (or who) is ahead of them!”

    And if you can’t see oncoming traffic, surely it’s incumbent on pedestrians to wait until the light changes in their favor before crossing. If she had waited for the light and crossed at the crosswalk, she would not have been hit by the car.

    There are plenty of car/pedestrian collisions where the driver is obviously at fault. In most cases that is probably true. This isn’t one of those cases. As long as pedestrian advocates insist that the driver is always wrong, regardless of the facts, we will not get the political backing we need to reduce pedestrian deaths.

  • Mags

    CJ Stevens, I don’t disagree. But – compared with a lung cancer diagnosis, a traffic crash that kills or injures is forensically a lot easier to investigate and redesign or prosecute, where appropriate. We’re not doing enough of this yet. For every outstanding step by Bratton or Thomas Chan, there’s still the Village Voice’s point that less than 1% of our 34,500-strong police force are investigating who’s accountable in traffic deaths.

    Tobacco farming on the East Coast has a 400-year history; no doubt many died of lung cancer long before awareness and attitudes changed. I’m too young to have seen it, but we’ve undergone a sea change in attitudes towards smoking in shared public space – can you imagine NYC or any major city going back to smoking in every restaurant and movie theater? But it was so wildly controversial and deemed absolutely unfeasible, before we finally got it done.

    Similarly we could do so, so much better at vigilantly and objectively investigating crashes – we can get orders of magnitude better at assessing responsibility for a crash than for lung cancer. I’ll agree there are people who take unfathomable risks, and yeah, should know better, and some pay with their life. No one here would disagree, I think. The sad cases of four teens speeding down a dead-end street in East Elmhurst or a Queens man decapitated in March while running across the Grand Central Parkway come to mind.

    Still, 42 other pedestrians have died in traffic this year. I guess reasonable people can disagree whether the reporting and investigations are fair to them. We live in a state (if you live in NY) where 19 out of 20 drivers who are careless enough to kill are not even charged with manslaughter. I think these quick tabloid articles where an anonymous cop says the taxi driver says the person they hit was a jaywalker and anyway, pedestrians and phones, so case closed: these do the victims and all of us a dangerous disservice.

    (Sorry so long. Tl;dr- I haul out the soapbox when it comes to victim-blaming)

  • cjstephens

    I think we probably agree on most pedestrian safety issues, and we do indeed have a long way to go before the cops and prosecutors take our side seriously. I’m just trying to get across the point that if we claim that every driver is always at fault, which isn’t true, then we make it much more difficult for our side to be taken seriously. Every once in a while, the pedestrian victim in a collision really is to blame, and pretending that could never happen isn’t helping, both in terms of our credibility and in getting the message out to pedestrians that we are our own best first line of defense. I’m old enough to remember the PSAs on TV: “cross with the green, not in between.” Maybe we need to bring those back. It won’t help the majority of pedestrians who are injured or killed while crossing with the green, but it might cut back on the few who are killed while being careless.

  • Andrew

    Based on what? Your gut instinct that drivers are always at fault?

    No, because they were unable to stop before closing with a pedestrian.

    And if you can’t see oncoming traffic, surely it’s incumbent on pedestrians to wait until the light changes in their favor before crossing.

    Of course. I’m not arguing that the pedestrian wasn’t at fault. I’m arguing that the two motorists might have also been at fault.

    Unfortunately, the instant there’s any indication that a (dead or injured) pedestrian might have been jaywalking, the NYPD automatically lets the motorist off the hook, even if he was also breaking the law.

    Blaming only the pedestrian when the motorist shares the blame won’t get us to Vision Zero.

  • cjstephens

    I agree with you that the NYPD is way too quick to blame pedestrian error. That said, there are plenty of times when a driver, driving responsibly at or below the speed limit, is unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. The classic example of this would be when a child darts out into traffic from between two parked cars to retrieve a ball or whatever. Inability to stop on time is not always equal to driver error. It’s tragic, but it’s not the driver’s fault. The best we can do is to make sure that drivers go at safe, posted limits to mitigate the injuries caused in such a collision.

  • Andrew

    The posted speed limit is sometimes higher than the maximum safe (and legal) speed. If the driver had been driving at an appropriate speed, perhaps he would have seen the child in time to stop (or at least slow down somewhat). Independent of the speed limit, motorists are obligated to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.

    A motorist who is in the wrong who strikes and kills or injures a pedestrian who was also in the wrong should be held accountable. (The pedestrian, after all, was.)

    So I don’t agree with your classic example.

  • cjstephens

    You’re confusing “due care” with “strict liability”. Everyone – driver, cyclist, pedestrian – is required to exercise due care.

    Also, you’re not making sense when you say that the posted speed limit is sometimes higher that the maximum legal speed. They’re the same thing.

    You are also not being realistic when you say that a driver, if he is going at what you consider to be an appropriate speed – regardless of what posted signs require – could slow or stop to avoid the hypothetical child who darts out from between parked cars. Between human reflexes and the engineering of car brakes, there are some distances where this just won’t happen in time. Those are the times when the driver is not the one who caused the collision.

    Would it help if you placed yourself in the role of a cyclist, rather than a driver? You’re riding your bike at 10 mph down a residential street – no earphones, no texting, and looking for any potential dangers. All of a sudden, a child runs out in front of you, and you can’t swerve in time to avoid him. You and your bike knock him to the ground, causing a fatal head injury. Should you go to jail for manslaughter? You didn’t do anything wrong. So why should a driver get any different treatment?

  • qrt145

    You can get a speeding ticket even if you are driving under the posted speed limit if you are driving “too fast for conditions”. For example, driving at 60 mph in the middle of a snowstorm even if the speed limit is 65 mph.

    Drivers (and yes, cyclists too) have the responsibility to be on the lookout for children not only on the street, but on the sidewalk, and always consider the possibility that they might “dart”. Yes, it is conceivable that a ninja child might have been well hidden behind a van before darting, but on most cases it is possible to anticipate the risk.

  • Joe R.

    This isn’t about necessarily avoiding the child in such a hypothetical situation, but rather about reducing their injuries if you can’t. If you hit a child with a car at 30 or 40 mph, they’ll likely die. Hit them at 20 mph, they have a good chance of living. That means just keeping your speed to 20 mph should be enough in the eyes of the law to say you exercised due care in the scenario you mentioned. Nobody can anticipate everything, but you can drive (or bike) in such a manner as to minimize the negative consequences of unforeseen events.

  • Andrew

    You’re confusing “due care” with “strict liability”. Everyone – driver, cyclist, pedestrian – is required to exercise due care.

    I’m not confusing anything.

    New York City Traffic Rules §4-04 (d) Operators to exercise due care. Notwithstanding other provisions of these rules, the operator of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.

    There is no analogous rule for pedestrians. There is an explicit requirement for the operator of a vehicle to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.

    Also, you’re not making sense when you say that the posted speed limit is sometimes higher that the maximum legal speed. They’re the same thing.

    Not necessarily. As qrt145 pointed out, it’s not always legal to drive at the posted speed limit. His example is a snowstorm. My example (and the relevant example in the York Avenue case) is a residential street with reduced visibility due to a hill.

    You are also not being realistic when you say that a driver, if he is going at what yo u consider to be an appropriate speed – regardless of what posted signs require – could slow or stop to avoid the hypothetical child who darts out from between parked cars. Between human reflexes and the engineering of car brakes, there are some distances where this just won’t happen in time. Those are the times when the driver is not the one who caused the collision.

    That all depends on the exact circumstances, including the speed of the car. If the driver was operating at excessive speeds (whether with respect to the formal speed limit or with respect to conditions), then the driver at the very least shares the blame.

    Would it help if you placed yourself in the role of a cyclist, rather than a driver?

    Sorry, no – I haven’t been on a bicycle in decades, while I drive on occasion and I used to own a car.

    But 10 mph on a bike is different from 30 mph (or 40 mph or faster) in a car, don’t you think?

  • cjstephens

    Point one – there may not be an analogous requirement for pedestrians to exercise due care in the VTL, but in a lawsuit, a pedestrian who caused a collision would be held to the same standard.

    Point two – while I doubt that many speeding tickets get issued during snowstorms, the law may provide for that (first I’ve heard of it, but I can imagine that it’s true). The difference here is that a snowstorm or fog is a temporary condition. The hill on York Avenue is permanent. If I were issued a ticket for driving “too fast” up that hill, even though I was driving below the posted limit, I would use the posted signs – or lack of signs warning me to slow down – as a defense. I would most likely win, too.

    As for the rest, you’re missing my point, which is that a driver can be driving within the posted speed limit, paying attention for pedestrians and still not be able to avoid a collision, especially when a pedestrian steps out into oncoming traffic, against the light, not at a crosswalk, which seems to be what happened on York Avenue. While the cops always assume that pedestrians are to blame, too many people here (Streetsblog commenters) assume that the driver must always be at fault. Most of the time, sure, but there are plenty of examples of pedestrians (or cyclists) behaving recklessly and causing collisions. These are the deaths and injuries that are the easiest to prevent.

  • cjstephens

    In most cases a collision with a pedestrian should be avoidable if you are driving within the posted limits, but not in all situations. Too many commenters here assume that the driver is always at fault. This attitude is just as harmful as the NYPD’s assumption that the pedestrian is always at fault. I’m a little weary of the mind set that pedestrians bear no responsibility – it hurts us when we try to advocate for safer streets.

  • cjstephens

    You’re right that slower speeds can mitigate injuries. My point is that pedestrians can avoid injuries altogether by not walking into oncoming traffic, regardless of how fast that traffic is moving.

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