From Gothamist, Aug. 11:

Cobble Hill Locals Mourn Death of
Beloved Oriental Pastry & Grocery Co-Owner

Cobble Hill shopkeepers and local residents are reeling from the sudden death of Muyassar Moustapha, who was fatally run over on Atlantic Avenue on Sunday night. Moustapha, 66, was a neighborhood fixture who for decades operated the Oriental Pastry & Grocery on Atlantic, just steps from where he was struck by a Mercedes driver after picking up ice cream at the Key Food across the street.

Moustapha's storefront remained closed yesterday, with its metal gate down and daily deliveries piling up on the sidewalk. The shop, which sells a wide variety of spices, snacks, and other Middle Eastern staples, has been a family-run business since it changed hands over 60 years ago, shortly after the Moustapha family immigrated from Syria to Bay Ridge. Muyassar was the middle of three brothers, Anis and Gary, who have a reputation for their neighborly generosity.

According to longtime Cobble Hill resident Al Shaia, a frequent patron of Oriental Pastry & Grocery, Moustapha was returning from a routine errand at Key Food when he was hit while crossing Atlantic Avenue. "He had heart trouble two years ago, so he always crossed at the light and he was always careful, even yelling at other people to use the crosswalk," said Shaia of Moustapha's alleged decision to jaywalk around 8:25 p.m. on Sunday.

A police source tells the Daily News that Moustapha was not in the crosswalk when he was struck, but an NYPD spokesman would not confirm that during a brief interview with Gothamist. The spokesman said no arrests have been made, but the investigation is ongoing.

Yanece Cotto remembers the Moustapha family's constant presence during her Muslim-American upbringing in the neighborhood. She now works at the Urban Outfitters next to Oriental Pastry & Grocery, and recalls Muyassar Moustapha as a "beautiful, wonderful person who would help you with whatever you needed."

The brothers who run Sahadi Imports across Atlantic Avenue, Charlie and Bob Sahadi, describe themselves as "very friendly competitors" with the Moustaphas. Though neither had heard news of the tragedy until they arrived at work on Monday morning, the owners were quick to share fond memories of the late Moustapha brother, who they said "was always right there for us whenever something came up, like if we needed to borrow something." Noting that both stores share a long history on this stretch of Atlantic Avenue, the Sahadis believe that "this is a wonderful street to be on, because everyone gives a damn about the other guy," citing Moustapha's particular role in fostering a neighborly climate on their block.

"I don't agree with some of the things Mayor de Blasio came up with, but if that car was driving at 25 miles per hour, this gentleman would not be dead today," said Charlie Sahadi when asked about the deadly traffic on Atlantic Avenue. "Everyone has their moments when they're in a hurry to get somewhere," added Bob, the younger Sahadi brother, "but then you ask yourself if it was really worth it, and the answer is that it definitely wasn't."

We will put it more forthrightly. Yet another hard-working New Yorker and pillar of his community senselessly gone forever because some self-centered idiot put saving a few seconds of precious goddam drive-time ahead of his life. Further evidence that the actual function of our automotive transport system is to cheapen the value of human life and turn people into flaming assholes.

See more reasons WHY WE FIGHT


From The Villager, Aug. 6:

With tree memorial, keeping son's memory alive
A tree grows as a memorial in Union Square, near E. 17 St. and Broadway.

The well-tended tree and blooming bed commemorates Kyle Larson, a 20-year-old New York University student who was rushing to turn in a term paper when he was fatally hit by a delivery truck in November 2012.

For his parents, Nancy and Robert Larson, making the journey every weekend from their home in Manhasset, Long Island, to the city to take care of the tree and the memorial has become a way to keep their son's memory alive.

"We come in on Sunday mornings because it gives us a chance just to remember him for a few quiet moments," Nancy Larson said on Sun., Aug. 2, seated with her husband at the new pedestrian plaza near where the accident happened. "He's always in our thoughts — there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of him countless times."

The Larsons chose this particular tree, in front of McDonald's and the former Heartland Brewery, because a few days after the accident, the NY Longboard Association held an event to honor Kyle, an avid skateboarder, who had been riding his longboard the day of the crash.

The association designated that tree because it had been the closest to where the incident occurred. The Larsons had found out about the memorial through Facebook.

"We almost weren’t going to come," Nancy recalled. "It was really cold that day. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we came in. We were blown away. So many people showed up — there were at least 100 people. None of them knew him — they just knew that he was a skateboarder that had been involved in an accident."


From Gothamist, Aug. 18:

24-Year-Old Woman Dies One Week After Being Pinned To Light Pole By Midtown Driver

A young woman who was struck and pinned against a light pole by a driver in Midtown East earlier this month has died, according to police.

Authorities have confirmed Mallory Weisbrod, 24, died on Sunday. She was struck by a driver at 2nd Avenue and East 49th Street on the afternoon of August 10th, and suffered serious leg injuries. The 64-year-old driver, who was operating a Mercedes-Benz, mounted a curb while heading southbound on 2nd Avenue. He also struck a 23-year-old woman and a 21-year-old woman—the former was treated at Bellevue Hospital and is expected to survive, while the latter refused medical treatment.

Weisbrod lived only a few blocks from where she was fatally struck. No arrests have been made but the NYPD says the investigation is ongoing.


From the NY Times, Oct. 31:

Three people were killed on Saturday, including a 10-year-old girl, after a car swerved off a road in the Bronx and ran onto a sidewalk, crashing into a group of children and adults who were trick-or-treating, the police said.

The crash, which happened just before 5 p.m. on Morris Park Avenue, near Bogart Avenue, injured four others, including a 3-year-old girl and the driver, the authorities said.

The police said that the driver was a 52-year-old man in a sedan. He was driving westbound when he bumped another car and then swerved onto the sidewalk. The car came to a stop at 936 Morris Park Avenue.


From 69 News, Allentown, PA:

Allentown crash knocks out power to thousands on Halloween night

Officials say a car crashed into a PPL [Pennsylvania Power and Light] Electric and Utilities substation on East Columbia Street in Allentown around 7:30 PM and went up in flames. Fire officials said Saturday night that they were not able to extinguish the flames until they received permission from PPL Corporation officials hours after the crash.

Witnesses say flames could be seen shooting up into the air as high as 20 to 30 feet. Crews worked throughout the night to put out the fire and restore power to the surrounding area. Over 6,000 people were affected by the outage. Allentown police say the driver of the vehicle was arrested for DUI. In addition to a DUI charge, the driver is also charged with recklessly endangering another person and driving with a suspended license - which was the result of a separate DUI offense.

Contradiction in struggle against NYC auto-cracy

First the good news. The Daily News reports Nov. 10 that Public Advocate Letitia James will introduce a bill making it legal for pedestrians to cross while the light is blinking (Outragroues that it isn't!) But simultanesouly, DNAInfo tells us that the NYPD is about to begin a "Jaywalking Ticketing Blitz in Queens." Perversely, this is portrayed as for pedestrians' "own protection" (Sic!) We are told: "The change comes days after an elderly woman was struck and killed by a bus while walking mid-block near Main Street and Kissena Boulevard—whose death was the catalyst for the meeting at the [109th] precinct, officials said." Fuck this Orwellian blame-the-victim bullshit. We continue to assert: Jaywalking is a human right. NOT ONE INCH TO THE TYRANNY OF THE AUTOMOBILE!!!


From Gothamist, Dec. 7:

SUV Driver Kills 30-Year-Old Woman On Fort Greene Sidewalk

A woman walking on a Brooklyn sidewalk with her boyfriend was fatally struck by a driver last night. Apparently an SUV driver jumped the sidewalk because he wanted to avoid hitting a bus.

According to the police, the incident occurred just before 5:30 p.m.: A 2004 Chevrolet Suburban was heading eastbound on Fulton Street in Fort Greene when, at South Portland Street, the driver "swerved to the right in order to avoid hitting the vehicle in front it." The 5,300-6,100 pounds vehicle barreled into Victoria Nicodemus, 30; her 37-year-old boyfriend; and another 75-year-old female pedestrian.

Nicodemus was pronounced dead at Brooklyn Hospital; her boyfriend and the other pedestrian are in stable condition...

Police arrested the SUV's driver, Marlon Sewell, charging him with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle without insurance and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.


Gothamist on Dec. 17 runs the utterly maddening story of Christen Conyers who was sent to jail for six months for riding his bicycle on the streets of New York. He was leaving his Harlem housing project to break his Ramadan fast at a local chicken joint back in June when he ran into a Black Lives Matter protest. "They told me to get on the sidewalk, but I was on my bike so that would have been illegal," Conyers told reporters during visiting hours at the Manhattan Detention Complex. "I wasn't part of the protest, although if I was that would have been my legal right." He was busted on a string of ludicrous charges: felony assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, two counts of disorderly conduct, obstructing vehicular traffic, and harassment in the second degree. These were reduced at his arraignment to disorderly conduct, but he was still sent up the river for six months for violating conditions of his parole on a prior. What utter bullshit.


Here we go again. New York's PIX reports :

HOMECREST, Brooklyn — A city bus driver has been arrested after he struck a 62-year-old pedestrian in Brooklyn, killing her, police said Monday.

Wayne Alman, 52, faces a charge of failure to yield to a pedestrian, according to NYPD.

Investigators said Alman was behind the wheel of a B36 bus the evening of Dec. 14 when he made a left turn on East 17th Street from Avenue Z and slammed into Eleanora Shulkina as she crossed the street.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found the 62-year-old victim unconscious and unresponsive. She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Alman remained at the scene, police said.

But the headline was "MTA bus driver arrested in deadly Brooklyn crash." This was not a crash. This was an eldery pedestrian getting squashed like a bug.


An apparently homeless woman with a toddler in her car plowed into pedestrians on the crowded Las Vegas Strip Dec. 20, killing one and injuring dozens. The driver, Lakeisha Holloway, was said to be a drifter who had arrived in Las Vegas days earlier. (NBC)

Meanwhile, the youth in the so-called "affluenza" case, Ethan Couch, is reported to have fled the country with his mother—just before a scheduled court hearing that could have transferred his case to adult court, possibly resulting in prison time. Couch came under fire this month after a video surfaced on Twitter that appeared to show him playing drinking games, which would violate his 10-year probation sentence. When his probation officer came around to check in on him, the house was abandoned. (NYT, Dec. 22)

We asked when Couch received probation despite having killed four if his too-rich-to-know-better defense would inspire a too-poor-to-know-better defense. Let's see what happens to Lakeisha Holloway. The psychological pressures of being a homeless single mom strike us as a far more legitimate defense than being a spoilt brat.

Cannabis behind Staten Island traffic fatality? Um, no...

But the latest in New York City's workaday traffic fatalities (there were 242 in 2015, according to the Mean Streets blog) is the case of middle-aged Stanley Marshall, who was riding his bike on Staten Island's Richmond Ave. when he was run down by a motorist who pulled out of a parking lot. The headline in the Daily News reads: "Man, 59, killed while riding bicycle by stoned driver on Staten Island." The motorist, Lisa Martini, admitted to police: "I was just pulling out from getting my food and I guess I hit something. I smoked a little bit of weed around 2:30."

But in the next paragraph down is a continuation of the quote: “I take buspirone for my anxiety problem and sometimes Xanax,” she added. Martini was swaying, and had bloodshot eyes, body tremors and poor coordination, the complaint said.

Now, pot, as we all know, can cause bloodshot eyes. But body tremors and poor coordination? Every toker knows that is not part of the cannabis high. However, RxList website informs us side effects of Xanax include "dizziness" and "poor balance or coordination." And buspirone? Expect "dizziness... nervousness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, blurred vision," according to RxList.

Martini is a 9-11 widow (her husband was an FDNY lieutenant killed in the Twin Towers collapse), so we're not here to give her a hard time over her substance use. But let's not allow this incident to become more fodder for anti-cannabis propaganda. However counterintuitive it may seem (for people who don't actually use cannabis), a 2011 study found a reduction in traffic fatalities in states that had legalized medical marijuana. The conjecture was folks were turning to legal cannabis instead of alcohol. The study's authors were quick to emphasize that their research doesn't "prove" that cannabis impairs driving less than alcohol. But anybody who has used both knows that is the case. And we'll bet the same can be said of pot as compared to Xanax and buspirone .

More to the point: It is the domination of the city's streets by toxin-belching death machines that is really responsible for traffic fatalities—and everyone accepts that as completely "normal." You've got to give New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio credit for his Vision Zero program that at least aspires to get the human roadkill down to nothing before he leaves office. But what is the critical issue here? That Lisa Martini was high on ‪‎cannabis‬? Or that she was driving an automobile? If anyone asks me, I say: ban cars‬, legalize pot!

From Global Ganja Report

Cultural reactionaries make political hay of road carnage

In 2015, the number of traffic fatalities in the US rose to 38,300—after years of declining due to high oil prices and the recession (which meant fewer motorists on the roads). The increase is obviously linked to current depressed oil prices. But anti-freedom forces are scapegoating cannabis legalization initiatives for this carnage. See full story at Global Ganja Report...

Google self-driving car strikes bus on California street

In a charming convergence of two of the most sinister trends on the planet—car culture and robotocracyAP reported Feb. 29: "A self-driving car being tested by Google struck a public bus on a Silicon Valley street, a fender-bender that appears to be the first time one of the tech company's vehicles caused a crash during testing." Gee, we can hardly wait for self-driving cars to become ubiquitous....


From CBS New York, Feb. 28:

3 Dead, 2 Others Injured In 5 Separate Hit-And-Runs Across NYC
NEW YORK  — Police are searching for several drivers after five hit-and-runs were reported in four boroughs overnight.

Three people were killed and two others were injured over the course of several hours early Sunday.

A spokesperson from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said the NYPD is "aggressively" investigating each case.

"Investigators are examining video footage from the area of each crash to identify those responsible to hold them accountable," said Wiley Norvell, with the Office of the Mayor.


From Lower Hudson Journal News, Feb. 27:

Oil spill leaks up to 600 gallons into Bronx River
YONKERS - As much as 600 gallons of oil drained into the Bronx River Saturday as hazmat crews scrambled to clean up a large oil spill.

"It's a major cleanup operation," said Yonkers Fire Department Chief of Operations Robert Capurso.

The truck, carrying 6,000 gallons of home-heating oil, was en route to Glendale Gardens, an apartment building at 125 Bronx River Road, around 8:30 a.m., Battalion Chief Timothy Fitzpatrick said. As the truck pulled into a driveway to make the delivery, oil began leaking out of the truck.

The truck's oil tank was divided into three sections, and the driver managed to contain the oil in two of them as the third section leaked.

Up to 2,000 gallons of oil spilled onto the roadway in front of the apartment building, Fitzpatrick said.

Up to 600 gallons of oil made it to a storm drain on the road and emptied into the Bronx River.

The car century was a mistake. It's time to move on.

That's actually the encouraging title of a Feb. 29 opinion piece in the Washington Post by J H Crawford, author of Carfree Cities and Carfree Design Manual, and publisher of Carfree.com. The opening paragraphs:

We must first remember that all cities were car-free little more than a century ago. Not all cities responded to the advent of automobiles with the same enthusiasm as the cities of the United States. In fact, some cities never did adopt the car. Venice was unwilling to destroy itself in order to build streets wide enough for cars, and therefore has never had them except in a sliver near the mainland. The same situation exists in the Medina of Fez, Morocco, and several other North African cities. These districts are usually the most vibrant parts of their cities.

Cars were never necessary in cities, and in many respects they worked against the fundamental purpose of cities: to bring many people together in a space where social, cultural and economic synergies could develop. Because cars require so much space for movement and parking, they work against this objective — they cause cities to expand in order to provide the land cars need. Removing cars from cities would help to improve the quality of urban life.

At least such ideas are no longer completely taboo...


Talk about a license to kill. Gothamist on March 18 reports on the maddening case of Cindy Klumb, a Pratt Institute art instructor who was critically injured in a hit-and-run—and says cops let the assailant go after he flashed his badge. Klumb and her lawyer have yet to get the NYPD to turn over its footage from nearby surveillance cameras.


From AP, March 19:

NEW YORK  — Police say a woman was fatally struck by a taxi in Manhattan and the taxi kept going. The accident happened shortly after 3:30 a.m. Saturday on First Avenue near East 16th Street. Police say the woman was lying in the roadway when she was hit by a yellow cab. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was identified as 44-year-old Kenya Flores, of the Bronx. Police are seeking the taxi driver.


This just gets worse and worse. School-teacher Felix Coss, 61, was killed by police van while crossing a street in Williamsburg in July 2013. The officer who struck him, Paula Medrano, was never charged, and his family sued the city. Now Gothamist reports that the city is arguing that Coss "voluntarily...assumed the risk" of crossing the street—this despite the fact that he had the signal! Worse yet, witnesses say Medrano was talking on her cell phone when she ran down Coss. 

And Bill "Vision Zero" de Blasio is going along with this shit?


And worse still! Undercover police arrested and roughly treated a mailman who was doing his rounds in Crown Heights after they nearly sideswiped him in their car and he cursed them out for it. (Now This, March 25; Gothamist, March 23) OK, even assuming that cops are above the law and we are subject to arrest if we give 'em some lip over their lawless behavior... are we supposed to use our fucking ESP to determine who are the undercovers? And people wonder why we say ‪#‎FuckDaPolice‬...


So Allen Bullock, 19, who pleaded guilty to smashing the windshield of a police car during last April's Baltimore riots following the police slaying of Freddie Gray, is sentenced to 12 years—although all but six months is likely to be suspended. (CBS Baltimore, March 29) But former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship gets one year for responsibility in the Upper Big Branch coal-mine disaster that left 29 dead in West Virginia in 2010. After pleading not guilty, and arrogantly declaring in court: "I didn't break any laws." As a Lexington Herald Leader commentary notes, that's 12.5 days for each miner's life.

#BlackLivesMatter? Easy to see what matters in this world. Cars (especially police cars) and fossil fuels.

And to make it even worse...

"Affluenza Teen" Ethan Couch is likely to get 180 days in jail, NPR informs us. The same six months that Allen Bullock is going to serve—but for killing four people. (His mother, who absconded with him to Mexico, may be in bigger trouble, possibly facing years in the clink for "hindering apprehension of a criminal.")

Protesters blocking road? 'Run them down'

A nice one from the San Jose Mercury News' Silicon Beat:

When USA Today "Instapundit" columnist Glenn Reynolds tweeted "Run them down" with a news item about protesters blocking a roadway after the recent police shooting of a black man in North Carolina, he didn't mean people should run them down out of spite. And certainly not out of racism.

Nope, he was offering that advice because it's just not safe to stop in the vicinity of protesters, Reynolds says.

"I wouldn't actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn't stop because I'd fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would," he wrote on his website. “"Run them down’ perhaps didn't capture this fully, but it’s Twitter, where character limits stand in the way of nuance."

Now, Reynolds’ dubious backpedaling may be entertaining, but when it came to his original tweet, Twitter was not amused. The San Francisco firm shut down his account.

According to a subsequent tweet from Reynolds, Twitter only agreed to unblock his account if he deleted the tweet. He did so, he said in a tweet — a tweet that also included a link to the original tweet. Ha, take that, Twitter! That's what you get for trying to put a sock in the gob of a guy advocating the kind of violence that recalls the Nice terror-by-truck attack. Oh, wait, that’s right, he wasn't advocating violence, it was self-protection he was promoting.

Freakonomics on murder by car

From the Cyclelicious blog:

Last week’s episode of the Freakonomics Podcast discussed the "perfect crime." Stephen Dubner examines the best way to kill somebody and get away with it.

His shocking discovery? Do it with your car. You're all so surprised, right?

Dubner’s podcast touches many of the themes so familiar to advocates of active transportation. Namely:

Homicide by car is very rarely punished as a crime.

American legal system makes vehicular manslaughter prosecution very difficult.

"It's just an accident."

Comparing accidental shootings...with accidental traffic deaths. Anything else is heavily prosecuted. Traffic "accidents" are ignored by the justice system.

The dehumanization of anybody who doesn’t drive a car. The only people who matter are people who drive autos...

According to police reports, it's the pedestrians' fault, because they’re doing something wrong. Get off the road!

We don’t really know who’s at fault because the only witness is the surviving driver. Responding officer hears only one side of the story...

Oh that poor, traumatized, innocent driver who was just minding her own business when *wham* that pedestrian came out of nowhere to ruin her day!

Is the death penalty really warranted if a pedestrian does something wrong?

Who are the roads for?

Et cetera. The problem is that Dubner (at least in the promos for the broadcast aired on WNYC) comes across as a sociopath boasting of how to commit the perfect murder and get away with it... Run someone over in a car. Now, he seems to be making a "point" I agree with... that a diver's license is a license to kill. But his whole attitude is like, Hey what fun! Let's mow down pedestrians! Aren't we bad boys!

And this when there is a wave of hit-and-run "accidents" (sic) going on in the city....


An NYPD cop was caught on video telling a motorist he pulled over in the Bronx that it’s Mayor de Blasio’s fault he’s getting a ticket. “Mayor de Blasio wants us to give out summonses Okay? Alright?” the cop tells the driver, who appears to be holding a ticket in his hand while the camera rolls. (NY Post, April 11)

Just great. The NYPD playing to reckless motorists to get their licks in at de Blaz. And people wonder why we say ‪#‎FuckDaPolice‬...

Glimmer of hope

From CityLab, April 6:

The number of America's youngest drivers just hit a record low, according to newly published data from the Federal Highway Administration. Roughly 8.5 million people ages 19 and younger had their licenses in 2014, and of those, just a little more than one million were 16 and younger—the lowest number since the 1960s.

Nationally, teen driving has been curving downwards for years, as automakers and transit advocates will inform you with respective consternation and glee. Why teens aren’t scrambling to the DMV as they did in decades past is a matter of debate. One explanation is the recession, which hit young people particularly hard... There may also be an attitude shift the air: Kids today may not place as much value on automobiles as previous generations did, and may be more open to other forms of transportation (including their parents' backseats, presumably).


From the Daily News, April 17:

Verizon lawyer accused of hitting protesters with Porsche
A Verizon Communications lawyer has been accused of hitting two of the company's striking workers with his Porsche.

The Communications Workers of America, who led roughly 40,000 East Coast employees in walking off the job Wednesday, said that a pair had been hit by the unidentified attorney in Gaithersburg, Md.

"That says it all, doesn't it?" the union said next to a photo they said showed police investigating the incident.

One of the workers was reportedly taken to the hospital.


From ABC-NY, April 19:

Two Hit in Verizon Lot on Long Island
Two people were struck by a car in a Long Island Verizon lot Thursday, and a company security guard was allegedly behind the wheel.

The two appear to have been hit intentionally Thursday morning outside a building on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bohemia.

Police said the driver of a Mercedes-Benz struck the workers.

The suspect is Curtis Duncan of West Babylon, a private security worker for Verizon, who was arrested down the street after workers called police.

Kevin Travers says he couldn't believe the car actually hit him. He went to the hospital. He just has a sore leg.

"I don't know what to think. It's crazy to think that someone would use a car like a weapon like that," said Travers...

[Duncan is] being charged with one count of reckless endangerment. A spokesman for Verizon says picketers are being encouraged to physically block and obstruct vehicles.

He says in this case the workers were taunting Duncan. The spokesman said in a statement to Eyewitness News: "This is what happens when picketers admittedly taunt and harass our employees and others who are doing nothing more than trying to serve our customers."

More blame-the-victim propaganda. Meanwhile, Fortune reports that representatives from the Communications Workers of America visting workers from a Verizon call center in Manila were threatened by armed goons...


From StreetsBlog, May 17:

NYPD and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark have not charged the driver who struck and killed 3-year-old Mariam Dansoko in a crosswalk near Yankee Stadium Monday.

Mariam, her mother, and a 2-year-old sibling in a stroller were crossing E. 164th Street at Gerard Avenue north to south when a 21-year-old man hit Mariam with a 2014 Nissan while turning left from Gerard, which is northbound, onto E. 164th, according to NYPD and published reports. DNAinfo reported that Mariam was on her way to preschool when the crash occurred, at around 8 a.m.

“There’s no charges at this point,” an NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog. True to NYPD protocol when a motorist kills a pedestrian and is not charged or ticketed, police shielded the driver’s identity.

License to kill.


From Michigan's WZZM, June 8:

COOPER TOWNSHIP, MICH. - Five bicyclists were killed and four others seriously injured when they were struck by a pickup truck Tuesday evening on a road in Cooper Township, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said.

In the half-hour before the bicyclists were struck, law enforcement in three jurisdictions received calls about a blue pickup truck driving erratically, Getting told reporters in a late-night news conference Tuesday night.

Fuck 'em. That's what they get for riding bicyles. Unpatriotic losers. If we don't use lots of oil every day, all those kids we sent to Iraq died in vain and the terrorists win.

Murder charge in Kalamazoo car-nage

Pich me, I must be dreaming. The motorist in the above Kalamzoo atrocity is actually being charged—with murder. Michigan is also moving forward with a bill authorizing harsher criminal penalties for drivers who harm cyclists. (Bicycling, June 10)

Could the tide be turning, at last?

More blame-the-victim auto-cracy

From the Village Voice, July 5:

Matthew Von Ohlen was riding in the bike lane in Williamsburg on Saturday when, according to police, a motorist intentionally slammed into him. Von Ohlen was killed and the driver fled the scene. The NYPD responded the following morning by issuing summonses to cyclists on the same block for running red lights.

According to the NYPD and video footage of the crash, Von Ohlen did nothing wrong. "He was killed like a dog in the street," a neighbor told the Daily News. Yet officers from the 90th Precinct were out the next day summonsing cyclists and passing out pamphlets about their obligations and responsibilities.

"This is a particularly egregious example of the NYPD's skewed priorities when it comes to traffic enforcement, and of the victim-blaming mentality that pervades the department," said Paul Steely White, the director of Transportation Alternatives, in a statement today.


From The Villager, July 13:

In memoriam: After hit-and-run death in BPC, city DOT aiming to make greenway crossing safer

The city says it will study ways to make a deadly Battery Park City intersection safer after a cyclist was killed by a hit-and-run run driver last month.

Upper West Side resident Olga Cook was fatally struck by an allegedly intoxicated driver on the Hudson River Greenway at Chambers St. on June 11, leading Community Board 1 to call on the city’s Department of Transportation to install better signaling at the intersection, which is notorious among locals.

Cook was an avid cyclist and triathlete, who cycled along the greenway bike path as part of her daily training regimen. That someone so accustomed to cycling in that area could be struck by a driver highlights how dangerous that intersection truly is, according to her husband.

"If it could happen to her, it could happen to anybody," said Travis Maclean. "She is the most intelligent woman I ever met."

Cook was heading northbound on the greenway—which parallels the West Side Highway—at 7:52 PM on June 11 when, as she crossed Chambers St., a driver heading southbound on the West Side Highway turned right and slammed into her. As Cook lay bleeding on the street, the driver fled, only to be spotted three blocks away by an off-duty MTA police officer, who promptly arrested the suspect.
Cook was pronounced dead little more than a half hour later at Bellevue Hospital.

The light pole nearest the accident is now covered with a shrine of stuffed animals, love letters, and bouquets of fresh sunflowers—Cook's favorite—which are replaced daily by her family as well as by a nearby Chamber St. resident who has taken it upon herself to honor a woman she never met, in part because she feels Cook's death represents the danger faced by everyone at that infamous intersection.

"I just feel like it could have been me," said Rossella Livraga. "It could have been my son. It could have been anybody."


From the Daily News, July 17:

Drunken off-duty NYPD cop plows SUV onto Brooklyn sidewalk, killing a pedestrian

Bystanders corralled a drunken off-duty cop after his speeding SUV killed a Brooklyn pedestrian and horribly injured three of his college pals in a gruesome wreck, cops and eyewitnesses said.

Officer Nicholas Batka’s vehicle was seen swerving in the seconds before impact. His runaway SUV tore the leg off one victim and left another impaled on a fence, witnesses said.

"The EMTs had to get a saw to remove the man impaled on the railing," said witness Jaminah Kang, 35. "Another man (looked) like he took a chain saw to the knee."

The inebriated second-year cop flashed his badge and slipped into his SUV’s passenger’s seat about 3 AM. Saturday as the mangled victims writhed in agony on a bloodstained sidewalk in Williamsburg.

A cell phone video captured a man in a red shirt wagging a menacing finger at Batka, keeping the SUV door shut tight and the off-duty cop pinned inside.

"Don't let him get out!" someone else shouted. "He's going to run away!"

The sloshed cop was trapped inside the SUV — on the driver's side by a utility pole he crashed into and on the passenger side by the enraged onlookers...

Prosecutors identified the victim as Andrew Esquivel in charging documents... Batka was charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, three counts of assault, driving while intoxicated, driving with impaired ability and driving on a sidewalk.


From the New York Times, Aug. 19:

Two New Jersey Transit buses collided in Newark during the early morning commute on Friday, killing one driver and a passenger and injuring at least 17 other people, the authorities said...

Images shared online suggested that one of the buses had slammed into the midsection of the other in a "T-bone" crash.

The collision left a scene of police officers and emergency workers swarming over a site strewn with twisted metal, and local media reports said injured passengers were trapped after one bus was tipped over at an angle


From the NY Daily News, Aug. 22:

A 10-year-old boy died Sunday on the way to his own birthday party in a horrific Long Island Expressway crash that also killed his father and three others.

One of the victims of the three-car wreck was Scott Martella, a 29-year-old former aide to Gov. Cuomo who was set to marry his high school sweetheart.

Young Christopher Pinales turned 10 last week and was on his way to the Splish Splash water park in Calverton, L.I., to celebrate, when his father, Carmelo, lost control of his Subaru Outback as he drove east on the highway by Exit 68 in Manorville shortly after 9:30 a.m.

Police are looking into whether Pinales was speeding before the Subaru crossed a grassy median and went airborne, slamming into a Honda and a BMW going in the opposite direction.


Well, this one hits a perfect trifecta of American pathologies... Car culture, gun-fetishism and racism... A white motorist in the Cleveland area ran a red light, causing an accident—then pulled out his AK-47 and shot to death the motorist in the car that he hit:  Deborah Pearl, a 53-year-old Black woman who had her hands up. Matthew Desha, 29, has been charged with murder. (Daily News, Aug. 29)


The New York Times Sept. 4 reports of an effort by police in Colorado to crack down on a new menace on America's roads: diesel truck drivers who soup up their engines and remove their emissions controls to "roll coal," or belch black smoke, at pedestrians, cyclists and unsuspecting Prius drivers.


Several were injured when counter-protesters in a pick-up truck menaced and finally drove into a group of Native Americans holding a demonstration against Columbus Day in Reno, Nev. The driver and passneger were questioned by police, but no charges were filed. (KOLO, Reno, AJ+, Oct. 10)


From ABC News, Nov. 22:

The school bus driver charged in connection with a crash that killed five children in Tennessee on Monday was involved in a separate bus collision two months ago, ABC News has learned.

Johnthony Walker, 24, was driving a bus for Durham School Services — the same as in the fatal crash — when he sideswiped an oncoming Kia Soul in September after crossing into oncoming traffic while attempting to negotiate a "blind curve," according to the crash report.

There were no injuries, according to the crash report, and children were seated in the rear rows.

No charges were filed in that incident, but a citation for failure to yield was issued. It was unclear if Durham took any action against Walker after that collision.

Glimmer of hope in Copenhagen

Bicycles now outnumber cars in Copenhagen’s traffic, according to new figures released by the city authorities of Denmark’s capital.The latest traffic count conducted by the city indicates that 265,700 bicycles entered the centre Copenhagen in a 24-hour period, compared to 252,600 cars—the first time that has happened since records began in 1970. (Road.cc, Nov. 10)

No anti-car backlash after Ohio State attack

So 11 are injured as one  Abdul Razak Ali Artan, supposedly inspired by ISIS, rammed his car into a group of people on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus before being shot down by police. (CNN) The right-wing media are aghast at a perceived relcutance to call the attack "terrorism." But nobody seems to be identifying car culture as a culprit.

Did you ever ask yourself—Why is that?


 From BBC News, Dec. 19:

A three-year-old boy being taken out shopping by his grandmother has been killed in a road rage shooting in Little Rock, Arkansas, US police say. Their vehicle was fired upon by another driver who thought the woman had not driven quickly enough through a stop sign, police said. The grandmother drove away but the boy later died in hospital.

Police are hunting for a black Chevrolet Impala but gave few details of the man driving it. Authorities identified the grandmother as 47-year-old Kim King-Macon and the boy as Acen King, according to local media reports.

US traffic deaths rise for second straight year

From the New York Times, Feb. 15:

Over the last decade, new cars have gotten electronic stability control systems to prevent skids, rearview cameras to prevent fender benders and more airbags to protect occupants in collisions. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on campaigns to remind the public of the dangers of drunken driving, failing to buckle up and texting while on the go.

Despite all that, more Americans are dying on roads and highways than in years, and the sudden and sharp increase has alarmed safety advocates.

The latest batch of bad news arrived Wednesday in traffic fatality estimates released by the National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization that works closely with federal auto-safety regulators. According to its estimates, 40,200 people died in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2016, a 6 percent rise from the year before.

If the estimates are confirmed, it will be the first time since 2007 that more than 40,000 people have died in motor vehicle accidents in a single year. The 2016 total comes after a 7 percent rise in 2015 and means the two-year increase — 14 percent — is the largest in more than a half a century.

"Why are we O.K. with this?" Deborah Hersman, the National Safety Council president and chief executive, said at a news conference. "Complacency is killing us."

Part of the increase is believed to stem from the improving economy, which has led Americans to drive more miles for both work and pleasure. But safety advocates say that explains only part of the trend because the number of deaths as a percentage of miles driven is also increasing.

They also point to data suggesting an increase in distracted driving. While cars and phones now offer advanced voice controls and other features intended to keep drivers’ eyes on the road, apps like Facebook, Google Maps, Snapchat and others have created new temptations that drivers and passengers find hard to resist.

"It's not just talking on the phone that’s a problem today," said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “You now have all these other apps that people can use on their phones."

We predicted in 2010... a year or two from now, they'lll be lecturing us about the dangers of watching porn videos while driving. Welcome to the dystopian future.


From AP, Feb. 25:

Dozens hurt after 'drunk' driver plows into Mardi Gras crowd
NEW ORLEANS — A suspect is in custody after 28 people were injured Saturday when a vehicle plowed into a crowd watching the Krewe of Endymion parade in the Mid-City section of New Orleans, police said.

Police Chief Michael Harrison said the suspect is being investigated for driving while intoxicated. Harrison was asked twice by the media if terrorism was suspected. While he didn't say "No" he did say it looks like a case of DWI.

"We suspect that that subject was highly intoxicated," he said.

Twenty-one people were hospitalized after the crash with five victims in guarded condition.


From the Daily News, Feb. 26:

Bronx woman to file $150M lawsuit accusing NYPD of hit-and-run 'coverup'
A Bronx woman plans to sue the city for $150 million, claiming cops “covered up” a hit-and-run that left her with serious injuries.

Tishira Japa, 21, charges in a notice of claim filed with city Controller Scott Stringer’s office that cops knowingly issued a false accident report about the incident on W. Fordham Road at 4:05 a.m. on Dec. 17.

A video of the crash shows a white minivan slam into Japa as she stood on a double-yellow line waiting to cross, sending her rolling down the snowy road about 40 feet.

The driver, identified as Mene Mpeke, who could not be reached by the Daily News, then gets out of the van for a minute before getting back behind the wheel and driving away. The police report on the crash inaccurately states that Japa spoke with police and that the driver didn’t leave the scene, the notice of claim charges...

An NYPD spokesman said the driver left the scene because he feared for his safety. That is not noted in the accident report.

Investigators failed to follow proper protocol for such a serious crash, Sanders said.

Japa suffered seven fractures in her pelvis that could affect her for the rest of her life, papers charge.


In 2014, the typical urban commuter spent 42 hours stuck in traffic, up from 20 hours in 1984. Americans consumed over three billion gallons of gas as they sat in grid­lock for almost seven billion hours, at a cost of $160 billion in wasted fuel and time. (Foreign Affairs, Sept./Oct. 2016)


A Bedford-Stuyvesant couple is two and a half years into what looks like a losing legal battle over a stack of tickets they got for allegedly running a series of red lights in the neighborhood, to the tune of over $4,600. The cops evidently followed the couple, watching them run four red lights to jack up the total they could be slapped with. Perversely, the cops invoked "Vision Zero" in writing the tickets. (Gothamist, March 31)

And, as we've noted, there is a very good case for allowing bicycles to run red ligts, treating them essentially the way motorists (theoretically) treat stop signs. Idaho has already adopted this policy.


So Lower East Side woman Kelly Hurley, hit by a box truck while bicycling (with the right of way) at E. Ninth St. and First Ave., dies of her injuries a week later. The driver has not been charged—but in the wake of the killing, cyclists and safe-streets advocates have criticized the NYPD for apparently cracking down on cyclists, not motorists, in the area where Hurley was hit. (Gothamist, Villager, Village Voice)


From The Villager, March 30:

Careening cab plants itself in Jefferson Market Garden
Spring came into the Jefferson Market Garden with a roar — no, not of a lion…but an out-of-control, speeding yellow taxi.

The cab went wildly crashing through the garden’s metal fence early Sunday morning.

George Paulos, the chairperson of the garden, at Sixth and Greenwich Aves., said that, according to the police report, the taxi slammed into the green oasis at 2:30 a.m. It knocked out the bars in four sections of the fence, though the trellis on top somehow remarkably remained intact.