In Memoriam

As of this writing New York City is on track to break the record for the lowest number of pedestrians killed by motorists in a year. The current low mark of 132 139 deaths was set in 2014, the first year of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative.

To live up to his pledge to take Vision Zero “a lot farther,” Mayor de Blasio will have to use every tool at his disposal.
To live up to his pledge to take Vision Zero “a lot farther,” Mayor de Blasio will have to use every tool at his disposal.

Assuming the official numbers bear it out, the de Blasio administration deserves credit for this milestone. Lowering the city’s default speed limit, adopting laws to hold negligent drivers accountable for causing harm, and deploying the maximum number of speed enforcement cameras permitted by Albany have almost certainly helped reduce the death toll.

In addition, in 2015 de Blasio defended the Right of Way Law from attacks by state lawmakers and the Transport Workers Union, which mounted an ugly full-bore campaign to exempt bus drivers from responsibility for striking people in crosswalks. Responding to decades of citizen activism, de Blasio reduced auto traffic in Central Park and Prospect Park, while his DOT began a project that should make notorious Queens Boulevard safer, and announced plans to bring a long-awaited protected bike lane to Amsterdam Avenue. After a series of pedestrian killings at the hands of motorists last fall, the mayor stood with victims of traffic violence and promised to take Vision Zero “a lot farther.”

Another record low number of traffic deaths would surely grab headlines. However, it looks like injuries will remain mostly static from 2014 to 2015. Injury figures are not as prone to random variation and are a more reliable safety indicator than fatalities. To get those numbers down, and to further mitigate needless loss of life, the de Blasio administration will have to fully commit to prioritizing walking, biking, and transit over driving.

Streets that are safer for cyclists tend to be safer for everyone, yet this year DOT backed away from de Blasio’s commitment for 6 percent bicycle mode share by 2020. DOT has shied away from adding bike lanes to streets that are crucial to creating a viable bike network, even when City Council members want them. The agency’s timidity was highlighted this year by the grassroots “Department of Transformation,” which conducts low-cost street reclamations where DOT has failed to act.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton made clear his attitude toward livable streets when he suggested that the Times Square plazas be ripped out — a public relations disaster de Blasio declined to contain. Given Bratton’s apparent distaste for people-oriented streets, it’s little wonder NYPD has applied the Right of Way Law only a few dozen times since it took effect in 2014. NYPD still investigates a fraction of all traffic crashes, and hit-and-run drivers are almost never brought to justice. In a year when motorists killed at least 15 people on sidewalks and in buildings, NYPD precincts advised seniors to wear bright clothing and focused enforcement on people walking and riding bikes.

There are elements of Vision Zero that are beyond the mayor’s control. He can’t force district attorneys to prosecute driver recklessness. He can lobby Albany for control over city traffic cameras, but he can’t keep know-nothing state legislators from wasting precious time and energy by blaming victims of traffic violence.

But if he wanted, de Blasio could order DOT to amend city traffic rules that police and prosecutors say are an obstacle to enforcing the Right of Way Law. He could make sure DOT doesn’t allow community boards to derail safety projects. He could get all cars out of city parks. He could work with the City Council to fund more street improvements.

“There are a lot of things that have been accepted as the status quo that we should not accept,” the mayor said in November. “We have to jolt that reality, we have to change that to the core.” To make that happen, de Blasio will have to use every tool at his disposal.

Here is our accounting of New York City pedestrians and cyclists known to have lost their lives to motorists in 2015. In the comments, please share remembrances of those named here, and the names and stories of victims we missed.

Gabriela Aguilar-Vallinos, Mohamed Ali, Nyanna Aquil, Aron Aranbayev
Gabriela Aguilar-Vallinos, Mohamed Ali, Nyanna Aquil, Aron Aranbayev
  • Gabriela Aguilar-Vallinos, 27, Killed Cycling on the City Island Bridge; Driver Charged With Manslaughter, Leaving the Scene (Streetsblog)
  • Mohamed Ali, 88, Killed Cycling in Queens; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Roy Amit, 55, Killed Walking in Queens Crosswalk; No Known Charges [Yellow Cab] (News)
  • Nyanna Aquil, 10, Killed on Bronx Sidewalk; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Aron Aranbayev, 40, Killed Walking in Queens; Driver Charged With Murder (DNA)
  • Marcia Arthurs, 51, Killed on Brooklyn Sidewalk; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Sincere Atkins, 8, Killed Walking in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Alberta Bagu, 46, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged [Garbage Truck] (WCBS)
  • Carol Bell, 70, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene [MTA Bus] (Streetsblog)
  • Lubov Brodskaya, 90, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged [FedEx] (Streetsblog)
  • Kadeem Brown, 25, Killed on Bronx Sidewalk; Driver Charged With Manslaughter [Green Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Ian Paul Bubb, 49, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene (Streetsblog)
Alberta Bagu, Kadeem Brown, Floria Burton, Alexa Cioffi
Alberta Bagu, Kadeem Brown, Floria Burton, Alexa Cioffi
  • Floria Burton, 55, Killed Walking the Bronx; No Known Charges [Dump Truck] (Streetsblog)
  • Daniel Cabrera, 38, Killed Walking in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Dorria Campfield, 52, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges [USPS Truck] (Streetsblog)
  • Wanda Canestri, 68, Killed Walking in Manhattan; No Known Charges [Tour Bus] (DNA)
  • Carol Carboni, 52, Killed While Using a Mobility Scooter in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Martin Celmer, 27, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Gothamist)
  • Favhad Chowdhury, 63, Killed Walking in Queens; No Known Charges (Courier)
  • Alexa Cioffi, 21, Killed Cycling in Staten Island; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Joseph Ciresi, 82, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged [Livery Cab] (News)
  • Tierre Clark, 5, Killed on Bronx Sidewalk; Driver Charged With Manslaughter [Green Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Mariano Contreras, 41, Killed Walking in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • David Craig, 57, Killed on Staten Island Sidewalk; Driver Charged With DWAI (Gothamist)
David Craig, Betty Jean DiBiasio, Susan Eddy, Angelo Gerardi
David Craig, Betty Jean DiBiasio, Susan Eddy, Angelo Gerardi
  • Mitchel Darroux, 72, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (News)
  • Rigoberto Diaz, 72, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Betty Jean DiBiasio, 21, Killed Walking in Queens; Driver Convicted of Homicide (Streetsblog)
  • Diana Ealkamenetz, 67, Killed Walking in Manhattan; No Known Charges (DNA)
  • Susan Eddy, 69, Killed Walking in Manhattan; No Known Charges [FDNY] (Post)
  • Leila Enukasvili, 59, Killed Walking in Queens; No Known Charges [MTA Bus] (Streetsblog)
  • Angelo Gerardi, 89, Killed Walking in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (Bronx Times)
  • Dorothy Gerstenfeld, 88, Killed Walking in the Bronx; No Known Charges (News)
  • Kamil Gorski, 36, Killed Walking in Queens; 1 Driver Not Charged, 1 Driver Convicted of Misdemeanor Leaving the Scene (Streetsblog)
  • Agalia Gounaris, 84, Killed Walking in Queens; Struck by Several Hit-and-Run Drivers; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Barbara Gracey, 61, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges [Green Cab] (Post)
  • Victor Grant, 56, Killed on Manhattan Sidewalk; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
Kamil Gorski, Millwood Hughes, Luis Inoa, Rukhsana Khan
Kamil Gorski, Millwood Hughes, Luis Inoa, Rukhsana Khan
  • Moshe Grun, 59, Killed Walking in Manhattan; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Kyler Hailey, 23, Killed in Staten Island; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Margaretta Harmon, 87, Killed Walking in the Bronx; No Known Charges (WNYC)
  • Millwood Hughes, 93, Killed Walking in the Bronx; 1 Driver Charged With Leaving Scene, 1 Driver [Semi Truck] Not Charged (News)
  • Luis Inoa, 23, Killed Walking in the Bronx; Driver Not Charged [MTA Bus] (DNA)
  • Hoyt Jacobs, 36, Killed Cycling in Queens; Driver Not Charged [Garbage Truck] (Streetsblog)
  • Jaramillo Ovidio, 17, Killed Walking in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Dave Jones, 21, Killed on Brooklyn Sidewalk; Driver Charged With Manslaughter [NYPD Chase] (Streetsblog)
  • Rukhsana Khan, 41, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” [MTA Bus] (Streetsblog)
  • Charles Kinyeti, 50, Killed on Brooklyn Sidewalk; Driver Charged With Unlicensed Operation (News)
  • Robert Kunz, 24, Killed Walking in Staten Island; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene, Unlicensed Operation (Advance)
  • Uszer Lejtman, 83, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (JP Updates)
Jaramillo Ovidio, Shannon Lies, Kristian Leka, Kevin Lopez
Jaramillo Ovidio, Shannon Lies, Kristian Leka, Kevin Lopez
  • Kristian Leika, 24, Killed on Bronx Sidewalk; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Shannon Lies, 31, Killed Walking in Staten Island; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Giovanna Livolsi, 76, Killed Walking in Queens; No Known Charges (Gothamist)
  • Nfn Loknauth, 83, Killed Walking in Queens; No Known Charges (News)
  • Kevin Lopez, 18, Killed Cycling in Queens; No Known Charges (News)
  • Meena Mahabir, 52, Killed on Queens Sidewalk; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Bella Markowitz, 85, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (WNYC)
  • Helen Marszalek, 70, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Irwin Mayer, 96, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Welsey Mensing, 27, Killed Walking in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged [Uber] (Streetsblog)
  • Yvette Molina, 56, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Manslaughter, Leaving Scene (Streetsblog)
  • Alejandro Moran-Marin, 35, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
Helen Marszalek, Wesley Mensing, Sergei Mousatov
Helen Marszalek, Wesley Mensing, Sergei Mousatov
  • Muyassar Moustapha, 66, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Vispi Mukajam, 62, Killed Walking in Queens; No Known Charges (WNYC)
  • Sergei Musatov, 42, Killed Cycling in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run [New York State Court Officer Chase] (NYT)
  • Victoria Nicodemus, 30, Killed on Brooklyn Sidewalk; Driver Charged With Unlicensed Operation (Streetsblog)
  • Marino Nunez, 34, Killed Walking in the Bronx; Driver Charged With Homicide (News)
  • Marco Orellana, 48, Killed Walking in Queens; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Sofiya Ostrovskaya, 66, Killed Walking the Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (Gothamist)
  • Yu-O Pan, 63, Killed Walking in Manhattan; No Known Charges (Express)
  • Jeri Pearson, 62, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Charged Under Right of Way Law (News)
  • Ernesto Perez, 55, Killed Cycling in the Bronx; No Known Charges (News)
  • Louis Perez, 65, Killed on Bronx Sidewalk; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Janet Peters, 63, Killed Walking in Queens; No Known Charges (DNA)
Muyassar Moustapha, Victoria Nicodemus, Jeri Pearson
Muyassar Moustapha, Victoria Nicodemus, Jeri Pearson
  • Liana Platika, 84, Killed Walking in Manhattan; Driver Left Scene; No Known Charges [Garbage Truck] (News)
  • Dylon Ramirez, 16, Killed Walking in the Bronx; 1 Driver Charged With Leaving the Scene and Reckless Driving, 1 Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Sidney Ramsarup, 35, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Latiesha Ramsey, 37, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Yekutiel Rapp, 66, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges [Livery Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Iris Rhooms, 91, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (DNA)
  • Anna Rodriguez, 34, Killed Cycling in Queens; Driver Charged With Manslaughter [Semi Truck] (Streetsblog)
  • David Rodriguez, 32, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn; No Known Charges [MTA Bus] (DNA)
  • Robert Roesch, 54, Killed Walking in Staten Island; Hit-and-Run (Advance)
  • Luisa Rosario, 88, Killed Walking in Manhattan; Driver Charged Under Right of Way Law [Yellow Cab] (Streetsblog)
  • Tom Ryan, 52, Killed Walking in Staten Island; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Guy Ryff, 58, Killed Walking in the Bronx; Driver Not Charged (News)
Louis Perez, Sidney Ramsarup, Yekutiel Rapp, Robert Roesch
Louis Perez, Sidney Ramsarup, Yekutiel Rapp, Robert Roesch
  • John Saldiran, 61, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Unlicensed Operation (Gothamist)
  • Ervi Secundino, 12, Killed Walking in Manhattan; No Known Charges [Uber] (Streetsblog)
  • Galina Shibayeva, 76, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Eleonara Shulkin, 62, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Charged Under Right of Way Law [MTA Bus] (Streetsblog)
  • Sheniqua Silva, 37, Killed on Bronx Sidewalk; Driver Not Charged [Commercial Truck] (Streetsblog)
  • Arthur Sporn, 87, Killed Walking in Manhattan; No Known Charges (Gothamist)
  • Amelia Sterental, 76, Killed Walking in Manhattan; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Regina Stevenson, 41, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • John Torson, 89, Killed Walking in Manhattan; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Isaak Trakhtenberg, 83, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (News)
  • Martin Tufino, 64, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Steven Turetsky, 61, Killed Walking in Staten Island; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
Luisa Rosario, Tom Ryan, Sheniqua Silva
Luisa Rosario, Tom Ryan, Sheniqua Silva
  • Kenny Valette, 20, Killed Walking in the Bronx; No Known Charges [Semi Truck] (WPIX)
  • Ethan Villavicencio, 7, Killed Inside Bronx Restaurant; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene (Streetsblog)
  • Thomas Violante, 72, Killed Walking in Staten Island; No Known Charges (Advance)
  • Rochel Wahrman, 69, Killed Walking in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged [MTA Bus] (Streetsblog)
  • Ora Walker, 82, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; No Known Charges [Dump Truck] (WNBC)
  • Mallory Weisbrod, 24, Killed on Manhattan Sidewalk; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Jadann Williams, 8, Killed Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Ka Chor Yau, 83, Killed Walking in Manhattan; Driver Charged With Unlicensed Operation [Dump Truck] (Streetsblog)
  • Xiali Yue, 61, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Right of Way Law Violation (News)
  • Jao Lin Zhu, 80, Killed Walking in Queens; Driver Charged With Right of Way Law Violation (DNA)
  • Marlene Zotti, 59, Killed Walking in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene (Streetsblog)

 

Ethan Villavicencio, Thomas Violante, Jadann Williams, Marlene Zotti
Ethan Villavicencio, Thomas Violante, Jadann Williams, Marlene Zotti
  • Unnamed Female, 69, Killed Walking in Queens on Jan. 19; “No Criminality Suspected” (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Female, Killed Walking in Queens on Jan. 29; No Known Charges [NICE Bus] (News)
  • Unnamed Female, Killed Walking in Queens on Feb. 22; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene, Unlicensed Operation (Gothamist)
  • Unnamed Female, 80, Killed Walking in Queens on March 18; Driver Not Charged (DNA)
  • Unnamed Female, 84, Killed Walking in Brooklyn on March 25; No Known Charges (WNBC)
  • Unnamed Male, 61, Killed Walking in Queens on April 1; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Unnamed Male, 43, Killed Cycling in the Bronx on April 5; “No Criminality Suspected” [Commercial Van] (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Female, Killed Walking in Brooklyn on May 10; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, Killed Walking in Brooklyn on May 29; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Unnamed Male, Killed Walking in the Bronx on May 30; Driver Not Charged [Livery Cab] (Gothamist)
  • Unnamed Male, 24, Killed Walking in Manhattan on June 16; Drivers Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 57, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn on June 22; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Female, 50, Killed Walking in Brooklyn on July 9; Driver Not Charged [Livery Cab] (News)
  • Unnamed Male, 61, Killed Cycling in Queens on Aug. 20; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Unnamed Male, 64, Killed Walking in Brooklyn on Oct. 14; No Known Charges (WNYC)
  • Unnamed Female, 92, Killed Walking in Brooklyn on Oct. 23; Driver Not Charged (WNYC)
  • Unnamed Female, 86, Killed Walking in Manhattan on Nov. 6; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 68, Killed Walking in Queens on Nov. 7; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 59, Killed Walking in Queens on Nov. 8; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 54, Killed Walking in Queens on Nov. 25; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Alexander Vucelic

    Memory eternal

  • com63

    Given all the talk about record low levels of violent crime in a year when police essentially walked off the job for part of the year, maybe Commissioner Bratton should assign more beat cops to the Collision Investigation Squad. Every precinct should have trained, embedded CIS personnel who investigate hit and runs and injury collisions that occur in their precinct. There should be thousands of these investigations every year, rather than a few dozen.

  • LN

    Missing from the above list, Rest in Peace, David Preston Rodebaugh, 26 http://ghostbikes.org/new-york-city/david-preston-rodebaugh

  • Make Queens Safer

    Thank you for helping us remember the neighbors we’ve lost.

    Here are two additions for your list…
    Veena Kumari: http://project.wnyc.org/traffic-deaths-2015/#5-veena-kumari
    Luis Martinez: http://project.wnyc.org/traffic-deaths-2015/#213-luis-martinez
    http://queenstribune.com/109th-precinct-pedestrian-killed-in-flushing/

    Also, “Roy Amit” should be “Amit Roy”

  • AnoNYC

    Would love to see this broken down by age, race/ethnicity, income and borough.

  • djx

    Yeah. Instead we get bleating from current and former NYPD leaders brass about how ending stop and frisk will result in more deaths, how they need more and more to fight terrorism and surveillance, etc.

    The NYPD work slowdown after the Eric Garner verdict made it damned clear – we have too many police for the way they currently work. I’m all for preserving their jobs as long as they can focus on stuff that actually matters. Like these deaths. And how about putting some manpower to track down more of the 30,000 (!!!) annual hit-and-runs?

    And yes, every precinct should have an embedded CIS squad. Great idea.

  • neroden

    I’m all for preserving the jobs of the police who aren’t violent murderous thugs. But we’ve got to start getting some accountability. There’s clearly a crime spree going on within NYPD and someone needs to start breaking up the gangs operating under cover of the blue uniforms.

  • Maggie

    Rest in peace to all these victims. Sheniqua Silva’s sidewalk death in the Bronx haunts me still.

    I know this is a memorial to the pedestrians and cyclists who died, but in thinking about vision zero and the uneven progress so far, I also tend to remember Bob Simon dying on the West Side Highway last winter. There’s so much at stake and we’re all at risk, whether people admit it or not.

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