Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Media Watch

CBS 2: Careless Pedestrians Walking Into Cars, Sinkholes, Hungry Bears

12:29 PM EDT on May 10, 2012

Ft. Lee police chief Thomas Ripoli has had it with people getting hit by cars. So he's taken the logical step: ordering a crackdown on pedestrians.

"Pedestrians are now the new threat to street safety," warns CBS 2's Kristine Johnson, before segment reporter Derricke Dennis runs down the list of common misadventures the chronically distracted get into while walking -- the kind of thing we've all seen at one time or another: people stumbling into fountains, falling into sinkholes, getting chased by bears.

This is not a parody.

Ripoli says he knows of 23 pedestrian-involved crashes in Ft. Lee in 2012, including three fatalities. From the chief's point of view -- if we're to believe CBS 2's take, at least -- those people have no one to blame but themselves.

"They’re not alert and they’re not watching what they’re doing," says Ripoli. "As of now, they are to give summonses to pedestrians who do not adhere to crosswalks and the lights."

It appears Ripoli has also invented the offense of careless walking. Says a stern-faced Dennis: "Unlike careless driving, there’s no specific charge for being a careless pedestrian, but Chief Ripoli said his officers are watching -- they’ll know it when they see it."

Naturally, Dennis can't leave well enough alone. Cut to Manhattan: "Imagine if New York did this," he says. "Just about every pedestrian in Times Square would get a ticket."

To back up their story, Dennis and his camera crew diligently track down and interrogate scofflaw pedestrians. The hazardous conditions they catch on film in Ft. Lee -- wide roads designed for high speeds with no crosswalks in sight -- get no mention. And if Dennis had done his research, he would have found that driver error is responsible for more than 78 percent of the thousands of crashes that kill or seriously injure New York City pedestrians each year, with failure to yield as a factor in 27 percent of those crashes. But why bother with actual journalism when you can simply point a camera at the street and let the anecdotal evidence pour in.

CBS 2 devotes one sentence to Ft. Lee's reckless drivers, who are reportedly also subject to increased enforcement from Ripoli's force. Befitting a footnote, the web video cuts out before Dennis can deliver the line.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Legislation Introduced in Georgia to Fight Temporary License Plate Fraud

The bill is the most significant effort yet to stop the flow of fraudulent paper tags from Georgia car dealerships to New York City streets.

February 23, 2024

Community Board Backs DOT Road Diet for Brooklyn’s Deadly Third Av.

“This is just a beginning of what we could do to fix our community,” said one board member. “This is not done, this is not where we finish off.”

February 23, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: More Lunch Consumption Edition

Streetfilms goes to Paris. Plus more news.

February 23, 2024

Advocates Slam Albany Pols for Using Transit Fund to Encourage Driving

Gov. Hochul and state legislators in Albany are spending a congestion pricing-adjacent fund on toll rebates for drivers and showing zero interest in bus or rail, transit advocates charged.

February 23, 2024

Serious Crash in Greenpoint Again Reveals Flaws in City Design, Enforcement Against Reckless Drivers

A woman was seriously injured — and is clinging to life — because a driver with a long record of recklessness slammed into her on a Greenpoint Street as she came home with milk.

February 22, 2024
See all posts