Cyclist Strikes Woman in Central Park — Victim on Life Support

A cyclist in Central Park struck a woman yesterday afternoon, inflicting life-threatening injuries. The victim, 59-year-old Jill Tarlov of Fairfield, is on life support, according to the Daily News. The Post reports that she has been declared brain-dead.

The collision happened on the West Drive of the park at around 4:30 p.m. Tarlov was in a crosswalk near 63rd Street, which has a traffic light, when Jason Marshall struck her on a racing bike. Accounts in the Post and the Daily News don’t specify who had the right of way or what speed Marshall was traveling. Police told Gothamist that Marshall had swerved to avoid other pedestrians. An investigation is ongoing.

Regardless of the color of the traffic light, this crash happened in a park that’s supposed to be a refuge for everyone.

Transportation Alternatives released the following statement regarding the crash:

Because we are serious about reaching Vision Zero, we need to speak out in response to every preventable tragedy and condemn all acts of reckless behavior in traffic. As the most vulnerable users of our streets, pedestrians must be safe from reckless cycling, just as they need to be protected from reckless driving. This is particularly true in our parks. As we await the conclusion of the investigation, our thoughts are with Jill Tarlov and her family during this difficult time.

It is extremely rare for a cyclist to fatally injure a pedestrian in New York City, but this is the second fatal or potentially fatal bike-ped collision in Central Park this year. After five years in New York without a fatal crash, a teenage bike rider struck and killed 75-year-old Irving Schachter on the east side of the park loop in August.

  • Morty Rubin

    He could of slowed down. He done killed a mother. He had the ability to avoid this. Avid cyclists such as this who are reckless make a bad name for a recreational biker like me who just likes a nice slow roll through the park. People like him need to go to jail. It’s chumps like this rider who Never stop at red lights and Always speed. Nice work Marshall. Your bike riding habit is more important than a woman’s life?

  • Melodie Bryant

    I blog about biking in NYC. Bikes need to change their frame of reference. http://www.bikeloveny.com/blog/park-alarm

  • Crusty

    A driver (car or bike) should be traveling slowly enough to avoid hitting anyone or anything. Cars slow down in traffic- pedestrian or auto- and bikes are required to do so as well.

  • Notherposter

    A study in Britain claims incidence of serious injury to pedestrians from car-pedestrian impact is almost the same as bike-pedestrian impact.

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3986796.ece

    Some posters posit that cyclists can selectively obey traffic laws because they inherently cause lesser injuries than drivers. It appears that the kinetic energy is still beyond what the human body can safely absorb. From my time playing contact sports, given similar structure, the advantage in collisions usually goes to the party with the higher kinetic energy.

    If the cyclist can avoid the collision, it is their responsibility to do so, just as it is for a driver who sees an impending collision with a cyclist or pedestrian. To argue otherwise is irresponsible. Yelling or honking is not a good substitute for slowing down.

  • walks bikes drives

    It is possible that he was not legally in the wrong in this case. If he 1) was not breaking the 25mph speed limit 2) had the green light and 3) she had a red light/dont wall signal, then she was technically breaking the law and causing the accident. In the argument that he should have slowed down, he might have done just that, slowing compared to his original speed, which still could have been under the speed limit. If he swerved and slowed around a group of jaywalkers, causing him to collide with another jaywalker who may have just stepped onto his path, or assumed he was going to take another path and guessed wrong, this could have been the accident. Remember, it is not the speed of the impact that resulted in her traumatic injury, it was the way she fell. You can cause traumatic brain injury by one pedestrian bumping into another pedestrian, causing one to fall and hit their head on the concrete/asphalt.

    I am not arguing the rider was not at fault. I am simply arguing that not one of us has the facts, and therefore the right, to determine who was at fault. We are basing our interpretations of what happened on the New York Post, and we all know they never sensationalize anything or get anything wrong.

    If any of my students made any of the same arguments as many below, I would fail them for it for incomplete reasoning. I understand having beliefs, and biased ideas of who was wrong, but don’t present it as truth if you don’t know or have the capacity to know the truth.

    There is only one fact we can all get out of this: it was a tragic situation.

  • artisan2015

    Hi – I have shared bandstands with Mr. Marshall in the music field and would like to post here that he is an upstanding, articulate, friendly and respectful individual with a wife and young child. He may have been reckless in this accident – of that we also do not really know all the facts – and is suffering greatly about the harm his actions have inflicted on this poor pedestrian and her family. This is a tragedy for sure, and perhaps he will be judged to be accountable beyond a simple “accident” but “Joseph” your careless call that he gets a nice view at Riker’s Island is totally ignorant of the possibility that he is an upstanding citizen who will also now by haunted by this incident but is NOT a criminal! This is a TWO-SIDED tragedy.

  • artisan2015

    He is not a psychopath – please read my post from earlier:

    Hi – I have shared bandstands with Mr. Marshall in the music field and would like to post here that he is an upstanding, articulate, friendly and respectful individual with a wife and young child. He may have been reckless in this accident – of that we also do not really know all the facts – and is suffering greatly about the harm his actions have inflicted on this poor pedestrian and her family. This is a tragedy for sure, and perhaps he will be judged to be accountable beyond a simple “accident” but “Joseph” your careless call that he gets a nice view at Riker’s Island is totally ignorant of the possibility that he is an upstanding citizen who will also now by haunted by this incident but is NOT a criminal! This is a TWO-SIDED tragedy.

  • artisan2015

    Joseph your remarks are ignorant and disgusting not to mention distasteful and mean…please reread my earlier response to you and rethink what you are saying…

    Hi – I have shared bandstands with Mr. Marshall in the music field and would like to post here that he is an upstanding, articulate, friendly and respectful individual with a wife and young child. He may have been reckless in this accident – of that we also do not really know all the facts – and is suffering greatly about the harm his actions have inflicted on this poor pedestrian and her family. This is a tragedy for sure, and perhaps he will be judged to be accountable beyond a simple “accident” but “Joseph” your careless call that he gets a nice view at Riker’s Island is totally ignorant of the possibility that he is an upstanding citizen who will also now by haunted by this incident but is NOT a criminal! This is a TWO-SIDED tragedy.

  • artisan2015

    Hi all. I am no biker but would like to share my opinion – I have shared bandstands with Mr. Marshall in the music field and would like to post here that he is an upstanding, articulate, friendly and respectful individual with a wife and young child. He may have been reckless in this accident – of that we also do not really know all the facts yet – and is suffering greatly about the harm his actions have inflicted on this poor pedestrian and her family. This is a tragedy for sure, and perhaps he will be judged to be accountable beyond a simple “accident” but those of you (“Joseph”, etc.) who “hope he gets a nice view at Riker’s Island” are totally ignorant of the possibility that he is an upstanding citizen who will also now by haunted by this incident but is NOT a criminal! I do agree however, that if you are riding too fast to avoid a sudden pedestrian crossing – with or against any traffic light – it is an accident waiting to happen. As an avid NYC automobile driver and a father of 3 children – I am always expecting to slam on the brakes if necessary and being able to stop. But please remember – this is a TWO-SIDED tragedy. Mr. Marshall is not a moron, he could easily be your very polite next door neighbor or trusted friend/buddy and is getting vilified here. Please reconsider your comments if possible.

  • Joe Enoch

    Riding a bike in Central Park at high speed at 4:30 pm is absolutely psychopathic behavior — especially south of 72nd St. A psychopath is someone who does not factor how others may be affected by their decisions. I never called for him to go to prison. Not sure where you got that. In fact, if he gets the same “due process” as drivers, then he won’t — even if he ran a red light.

    I’m not saying he’s a bad guy, but his actions that day were more than deadly. They are also going to set back the efforts of a lot of people trying to challenge the view that bicyclists are reckless and have no place on our streetscape.

  • David L

    Wow Morty. I did not know there was an eye witness to this crash. Clearly you watched the entire event unfold. I’m wondering (1) who had the green light and who had the red light? (2) Did the pedestrian have on headphones or was texting? (3) What speed was the biker riding (speed limit is 25 mph and it’s mighty hard to get a bike moving at that speed)? (4) is it “he could of slowed down” or “he could have slowed down”? Methinks, the latter

  • David L

    So please tell me why we even have traffic lights at crosswalks if pedestrians merely need to step into a cross walk and all traffic must screech to a halt. Stupid.

  • Joe R.

    The lights weren’t there, nor were they needed, prior to when cars were allowed in the park. That’s the only reason I could think of for why they’re there. There used to be a gentlemen’s agreement in effect the rest of the time where cyclists could ignore the red lights unless a person was crossing. That went out the window in the last bikelash.

    I personally think the park might be getting too crowded for safety nowadays. Remember during the high crime days the park was used by a lot fewer people, so cyclists had a lot fewer potential collisions with pedestrians. Given the volumes of people in the park, we should seriously consider doing one of two things-either grade separate the busier crossings, or monitor the volumes of people in the park, and restrict further access when those volumes are too high for safety. It’s pretty obvious what we’re doing now isn’t working all that well.

  • Joe R.

    The study neglects to mention the magnitude of injuries. A similar injury rate per billion km traveled in mostly meaningless for two reasons. One, the term “serious injuries” may mean different things here for bicycles versus for motor vehicles. A serious injury caused by a cyclist could mean you had to have a cut stitched or an abrasion treated. A serious injury cause by a motorist could mean a month in traction. Two, using billion km traveled is not as a good a metric as using per hour of exposure. “Per hour of exposure” is what is typically used for occupational hazards. Given the much slower average speed of bicycles, if you used injuries per hour traveling as a metric, you might conclude cyclists cause 1/4 or less the number of injuries motor vehicles caused.

  • wkgreen

    p_chazz -There is a difference between speed and safety that Mr. Dartley does not take into consideration, and he seems to equate bicycles and motor vehicles in that regard. Slowing down bicycles while making the environment that they are in more chaotic, not “hostile”, (ie. making an already constrained one way bike lane into a two way road) is not making anyone safer. A slower car would be much less likely to inflict serious injury than a fast one, but bicycles cause serious or fatal injury in a different way. Almost universally it’s due to a head injury from a fall. Speed contributes to the problem of bicycles when it creates chaos, and that’s not to say that it shouldn’t be regulated, but speed is not THE problem. Got it?

    It’s a nuanced argument, I know, but try not to be “careless” or “thoughtless” in your reading, and understand the whole thing before commenting. You can do it. I’m sure of it.

  • Just so you know, @p_chazz can be relied upon to cast aspersions on San Francisco bicyclists regardless of any facts. The prospect of exploiting this tragedy has apparently made him bicoastal.

  • Gonna dredge up a myth from 2 years ago? That’ll fit right in with the lie about no brakes.

  • lop
  • Turns out he may have been a Strava acolyte, Jym–with all the baggage that entails these days. Have no idea about your brakes comment. My comment goes to whether he was hammering along for a PB or paying attention and riding within reasonable limits.

  • The difference could also be that a cyclist is going slower and hits with less force than a motorist, hence less serious injuries. The similar injury rate simply means that cyclists are as likely to crash with peds as motorists. That needs to be looked at carefully to find out why–the assumption that cyclists are careless is prejudice, not fact. The UK study also noted that sidewalk cycling in the UK is a serious issue causing crashes. Infrastructure is an issue.

  • If he was going 28 in a 25 zone, that is hardly excessive. Folks need to hold their fire on prejudice until the investigation is over. Strava notwithstanding, we don’t know how the culpability will be dished out.

    I’ve nearly nailed peds who have suddenly changed course and stepped in front of me while not paying attention. Safety is a shared endeavor, and sometimes, a small mistake has horrible consequences. Racing cyclists may look like they deserve scorn to others, but that doesn’t mean that Mr. Marshall deserves to be blamed for this–we just don’t know enough yet.

  • Average speed isn’t peak speed. One has to look at the section of the course. Gawd, we have a 4 mile ascent to our ski hill here. Its 5 mph up the hill, and I’ll take the 5th Amendment on the downhill speed–but its a rural road with nothing to hit but trees, mule deer, or the grille of an oncoming Ford Super Duty. Suffice to say, self preservation is important.

  • CheshireKitty

    Well, you can change that headline to “Victim Dead” now since Jill Tarlov has died. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/09/22/former-1010-wins-employee-struck-by-cyclist-in-central-park-dies/

    Reckless cycling + speeding = dead pedestrian. Very sad.

  • Morty, you just failed voir dire…

  • Hitting someone almost guarantees a crash by a bicyclist. No one in his or her right mind deliberately hits anyone. Everything else is conjecture.

  • reckless cycling or jaywalking? Or a little of both? Or just a bad confluence of bad decisions by both parties? Remember that accident pyramid: accidents happen when a confluence of bad behaviors coincide with bad timing.

  • I’m aware that he used Strava, Bike Snob even looked at his numbers (which, spoiler alert, scuttle the “personal best” narrative).

    I reacted badly to this remark because after that earlier tragedy, some fool blogger found the words “personal best” on the Strava website and cooked up a story about this being the bicyclist’s motivation. In reality this is the intellectual equivalent of blaming Tiger Woods’ indiscretions on Nike’s “Just Do It” motto, but this blogger was sure he was the second coming of Woodward and Bernstein and the tabloid-quality media in these parts repeated the notion uncritically.

    And so, to this day, people will talk about a bicyclist who caused a fatality by running a red light at 35mph to beat his Strava personal best on a bike with no breaks [sic], making him either a skinny-jeans hipster or Lance Armstrong wannabee [sic]. None of that is true, but truth doesn’t stand much of a chance against blog comments and bottom-feeder media.

  • The hills are alive

    Actually, it’s very easy to get a bike up to 25mph.

  • Dean_Odin

    “Marshall had swerved to avoid other pedestrians” Idiots crossing against the light in downtown Chicago get in my way constantly. I yell and they usually heed, but I nearly clobbered a moron this week. Dropped his Starbucks! Whooooo!!

  • ecocentralparktours

    Accident can take place anywhere anytime.
    http://ow.ly/O08ct

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