New York City pedestrian deaths are often attributable to larger vehicles such as cars and trucks. However, the death of a pedestrian in Central Park after being struck by a speeding cyclist has highlighted the danger posed by high performance bicycles.
A woman from Connecticut died on Sept. 21 after being struck by a bicyclist three days earlier in the busy area along West Drive between West 60th and West 65th streets. She was left as brain dead after the collision and spent the weekend before her death on life support. She was a mother of two.
Witnesses said the 31-year-old bicyclist was speeding on his $4,000 Jamis Eclipse bike. The speed limit is 25 miles-per-hour for cyclists in Central Park. Police have not charged the cyclist in this fatal accident.
New York City Police have responded with an enforcement crackdown. In the weekend after this fatality, police caught 29 riders failing to yield to pedestrians, 26 bicyclists going through red lights and 30 cyclists wearing headphones. Police wrote 42 tickets immediately after the accident in a targeted enforcement area where the pedestrian was struck. Another 103 citations were issued in the following three-day period.
Police increased enforcement before the crash. They issued 468 citations to cyclists between Jan. 1 and Sept. 14. These summonses included 233 for failing to yield to pedestrians. This is a 210 percent increase from the same period in 2013 when police issued a total of 151 citations.
Despite this enforcement, many bicyclists in Central Park are still engaged in reckless behavior. A reporter witnessed at least 67 cyclists go through red lights during a 30-minute period. None were cited by police.
Families of victims struck a negligent bicyclist or driver may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit where the driver or cyclist was reckless or did not act with reasonable care. Prompt advice should be sought to assure that evidence is obtained and that families are properly represented in settlement negotiations and court proceedings.
Source: New York Post, “Ticket blitz on cyclists as family mourn mom struck in Central Park,” Shawn Cohen, Sept. 23, 2014