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Queens Pol Recovering From Broken Arm, Bruises After Driver Strikes Her in Crosswalk

The driver — who Gonzalez-Rojas said received a summons for failure to yield — was traveling slow enough to avoid a worse outcome, the pol said.

11:16 PM EST on January 7, 2024

Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas got a real-life lesson in safer streets after being struck by a driver last week.

A state legislator from Queens who has fought for safer streets was hit and injured in a car crash last week, sending her to the hospital with a broken arm, bruises — and a renewed vigor to put an end to traffic violence. 

Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas was on her way to meet friends on Thursday night when she was hit by a driver in the crosswalk as she crossed 78th Street near 35th Avenue in Jackson Heights, she told Streetsblog Sunday.

The driver was heading westbound on 35th Avenue when he made a left turn onto 78th Street, knocking her to the ground, Gonzalez-Rojas said.

“I absolutely had the right of way. He just turned right into me … and the next thing you know I was on the floor. It is very disorienting,” said the state legislator, who ran on a platform of open streets, improving pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure, and transforming deadly Northern Boulevard into a 14th Street-style busway to help put an end to the carnage on the highway-style roadway that tears through several neighborhoods.

González-Rojas said she and others who rushed to her side to help her were not surprised by what had happened, given the intersection's poor visibility — highlighting the need for more daylighting, which clears the corner of parked cars that make it difficult for both driver and pedestrian to see. [Editor's note: Parking is already prohibited at corner in question, according to DOT.]

“That corner is very dark, and some very kind strangers called the ambulance and one woman, who I think lives there, ran out and got me ice and a heating pad, and she said, ‘This is a very dangerous corner,’” the pol said. “If we had universal daylighting … he could have seen me.”

The driver's relatively slow speed likely prevented the crashing from turning fatal. Had he been speeding, or had González-Rojas been a child, things could have been a lot worse, she said.

The crash reminded the pol of those — or whose loved ones — didn’t make it home, she said — like 7-year-old Dolma Naadhun, who was killed last February by a driver at an Astoria intersection that also lacked daylighting. 

“That was another situation where it could have been avoided, and we no longer have this beautiful, young girl, whose life and future is over," she said. "I think of her so much."

As she heals from a broken left radial, Gonzalez-Rojas will continue to push her colleagues up in Albany to finally pass Sammy’s Law, she said. The legislation would allow New York City to set speed limits below the current 25 miles per hour standard — and for Mayor Adams to follow through on a vision Gonzalez-Rojas and other pols unveiled in November for more protected bike lanes in Western Queens.

“A broken arm is no joke, but it could be worse and has been worse, so that's why I have been fighting for Sammy's Law and will continue to fight for Sammy's Law at the state level,” she said.

“There’s so many circumstances where people are dying and loved ones are not coming home. I honestly sit with that. I’m getting so many beautiful messages and stuff, I’m just grateful it wasn't worse.”

Seriously traffic injuries causing bone fractures or other serious bodily harm like the one Gonzalez-Rojas experienced are on the rise in New York City despite dropping pedestrian deaths.

Four such serious injuries occurred on 35th Avenue between January 2022 and September of last year, according to data compiled by Transportation Alternatives.

The NYPD did not respond to multiple requests for comment and confirmation of the summonses cops issued to the driver.

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