“Freak Accident” That Seems to be Happening Regularly

Has it come to this, a car can be driven down a sidewalk for an entire crowded city block, injuring four pedestrians, one of them critically, without the driver getting a ticket or even a photo appearing in the next day’s newspapers?

Just before 6 p.m. yesterday, a driver reportedly hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, sending her Honda Civic onto the sidewalk on Broadway near East 12th Street. Four pedestrians were struck. One, a man in his 50s, was thrown into the glass window of the Bon Vivant Deli, shattering it. The Times and the Post had different versions of the crash sequence, but both reported Airborne Man in critical condition. No charges were filed, the Times said. No photo in the papers, either. Gothamist has the news roundup.

Last Wednesday we had SUV Mounts Flatbush Ave. Sidewalk, Runs Over Family and Kills 5-Year-Old Kid. Friday brought Driver Invades Herald Square Store, Injures Five. And wasn’t there an earlier Herald Square Store Car-Invasion, two weeks ago? There are so many cars running up on to the sidewalk it’s tough to keep track of which driver was fleeing an earlier crash, which one had a seizure, who forgot to take their medication (or took too much).

Back when City DOT was more free with data, in the 1990s, it listed a dozen or so pedestrians killed on sidewalks each year, out of 250 ped deaths overall. Total pedestrian fatalities are reportedly down since, but it’s not clear if the sidewalk tally has dropped as well. Maybe not, from the look of things.

There oughta be a law, actually, there are a few: Vehicles Prohibited from Sidewalks (NY State Vehicle & Traffic Law §1202), (Reckless Driving §1212), Drivers Must Exercise Due Care (§1146).

  • AD

    Somewhere near the end of the reports of these crashes, the writer usually includes the obligatory "the driver in the accident was not charged."

    Not charged … but are they at least ticketed?

  • Hannah

    These days, you have to be driving an airplane to attract much attention. Witness this prescient quote noted in Gotham Gazette a couple weeks ago, by Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assocation, in response to proposals to ban certain air traffic after a plane crashed into an Upper East Side building:  “But the fact remains that the crash was an
    accident. Restricting access to the Hudson River and East River
    corridors will not lead to safer skies or reduce the chances of a
    terrorist attack… Security experts and federal agencies have repeatedly
    concluded small planes are too slow and too small to be weapons of
    As for new restrictions reducing the chance of another plane crash,
    Boyer writes, “a pedestrian is killed on average every day in New York
    by a car or truck. Do these same politicians rush before the cameras
    and call for a ban of all vehicles? Of course not.
    ” If only they would! 


Flushing Transpo Project Boosted Safety While Curbing Congestion

It might not be as bold or attention-grabbing as the overhaul of Times Square and Herald Square, but a set of changes made to New York City’s third-busiest pedestrian intersection is having its own quiet success. In Downtown Flushing, a 2010 project that expanded sidewalks, daylighted dangerous intersections, and introduced numerous turn restrictions is boosting […]