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Street Safety

Tuesday’s Headlines: Ticking Time Bombs Edition

12:03 AM EDT on June 21, 2022

Every driver is a ticking time bomb. Photo: Bess Adler with help from the Streetsblog Graphics Desk

A taxi driver slammed into a cyclist and two pedestrians in a horrific crash on Broadway in the Flatiron District yesterday, but to Mayor Adams, it's just another day in the city.

“It’s one of those tragic events that can happen with vehicles, pedestrians and bikes all come together at the same time," the Daily News quoted the mayor as saying in the aftermath.

Just one of those tragic events, you mean, when car drivers are allowed to repeatedly dominate roads that should be pedestrianized. Just one of those tragic events that will keep happening when reckless drivers are allowed to keep driving. (The Post an amNY added more of Adams's quote: “We should not have to accept, and I will not accept, a reality where New Yorkers die from traffic violence," which was reassuring, at least.)

How reckless? The Daily News and the Post showed the license plate of the cab that struck the women, but neither paper bothered to run the plates — the car has been nabbed by speed cameras eight times and by red light cameras two times since November 2019. Kevin Duggan of amNY dutifully reported that information, and also quoted the mayor as adding, "Traffic safety is all of our concern, and I will continue working and taking action every day to keep New Yorkers and everyone else visiting our city safe on our streets.”

He has a lot more work to do (his comments, indeed, suggest that Broadway needs to be pedestrianized, at long last). And Hizzoner was widely pilloried for a tweet that equated the cab and the cyclist:

Now, certainly, cabs are frequently operated by multiple people in the course of a three-shift day, but it's worth at least a little of the mayor's time today for details on why a car that is continually driven so recklessly remains on our streets day in and day out — just another ticking time bomb that went off (like the one last week in Park Slope and in Midtown).

The Times made multiple errors in its "never blame the car" spin. The headline, "Taxi Jumps Curb...," and the subhead, "The accident happened in the Flatiron district..." removed any human agency, which is how car enablers normalize crashes. And even the construction of this sentence is bizarre, suggesting that the cab had a mind of its own: "As the driver turned left onto Broadway, the police said, his cab hit a cyclist and veered onto the sidewalk" — emphasis ours.

And for some reason, the Paper of Record only offered this year's fatalities for the first three months of the year, even though the crash was almost six months into the year.

Just so you know, Gray Lady, through June 14 of this year, there have been 45,823 reported crashes, injuring 1,806 cyclists, 3,776 pedestrians and 15,071 motorists, killing 101 people, a majority of them pedestrians and cyclists, according to city stats. (That's 277 reported crashes per day.)

In other news:

    • Friend of Streetsblog Christopher Robbins showed that we're not the only ones who can pick apart a blatantly exploitive car ad. Robbins's takedown of the Kia "Beachcomber" ad is the chef's kiss of seeing through car culture bullshit. (Hell Gate)
    • The Bronx Times showed how hard it is to be a street vendor.
    • The headline in this Post story was horrifying enough — why is Queens DA Melinda Katz using a car service at all, let alone her security team?
    • There's a lot of crumbling infrastructure in this town. So here's what you should do if you see some. (The City)
    • From the assignment desk: There will be a big oversight hearing in Albany on Gov. Hochul's Penn Station plan on Friday. (Gothamist)
    • Remember that "community benefits agreement" at Atlantic Yards that Bruce Ratner promised Prospect Heights? The same one that our old man editor and his frenemy Norman Oder kept screaming wasn't real? Guess who turned out to be right all along. (City Limits)

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