From Gothamist, Sept. 13:

No Charges For Running Over Schoolkids On Queens Sidewalk
The SUV driver who plowed into five teenagers on a Queens sidewalk yesterday morning has not been charged with any crime nor issued any summonses. This stands in stark contrast to another sidewalk collision yesterday: between a cyclist and Nicole Kidman in Manhattan. The crash in Queens resulted in very serious injuries; in Manhattan, Kidman was knocked down but unscathed. But in Kidman's case the cyclist was swiftly issued three summonses.

An NYPD spokesman confirmed today that the driver in yesterday's crash, Francis-Aung Lu, had not been charged or issued any summonses, but the investigation is still ongoing. The teens survived the crash with various injuries—it appears Ashley Khan, 13, got the worst of it. DNAinfo reports that Khan suffered a compound fracture to her left leg and a broken pelvis when she was pinned under the SUV. Another girl's back was broken.

"We lifted the car just enough to get the girls out," David Foubister, 40, at truck driver who witnessed the crash,told DNAinfo. "It was a whole community effort. The girls were in shock." Marina Abadir's uncle told the Daily News, "They’re not really sure how many bones are fractured in her body,” said Sherif El Gawly, 37, her uncle. "Marina is able to move her arms and legs. She can’t move her neck. She’s wearing a neck brace.”

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley defended the driver, telling the News, "He hit the gas instead of the brake. This had everything to do with being an accident."

Not to be outdone, the school's principal sent out a memo to parents reminding kids not to listen to headphones when walking around. Here's video of the "accident," which shows none of the teens listening to headphones:

Be sure to click on the link for the chilling video. Remember, this could be you the next time you step out on the sidewalk. More at Mobilizing the Region transportation blog.

See more reasons WHY WE FIGHT


  1. Death in Queens sidewalk-jumping incident?
    One of the three kids hit in the sidewalk-jumping incident in Maspeth has died, and Charles Komanoff of StreetsBlog is skeptical of official claims that the death is unrelated to getting hit by the car just days earlier. In another post, Komanoff issues a call to “Make the Maspeth Crash Horror a Teachable Moment for New York City.” That would be nice, but it seems to us that New Yorkers are hopelessly inured to motorist violence, in a way that they never were to the violence of street crime. And we want to know: Why is that?

    From The Brooklyn Paper, Aug. 9:

    Twelve-year-old hit, killed by van on Prospect Park West
    A 12-year-old Park Slope boy was killed by a van on Tuesday evening after he ran into a street near Prospect Park to fetch his soccer ball and was crushed, authorities said.

    Samuel Cohen-Eckstein was playing near his Prospect Park West home near Third Street when the ball rolled out onto Prospect Park West and he sprinted into the two-lane street from the Prospect Park side to chase after it, police said.

    The youngster fell as he was running and was struck and run over by a 2006 Chevrolet van at about 5:15 pm, cops said.

    Emergency responders found the child with critical injuries to his torso and rushed him to New York Methodist Hospital, where he died, according to police.

    The driver of the van remained on scene and was not immediately charged or ticketed, cops said. The investigation is ongoing.

    It was not immediately clear whether the driver of the van was speeding, but neighbors say that Prospect Park West is a magnet for lead-footed drivers.

    “Parts of the avenue are like a raceway,” said Tom Prendergast of Prospect Park Southwest, adding that drivers have slowed down since a controversial two-way bike lane was installed on the thoroughfare, cutting the car lanes from three to two.

    “But there are still drivers that insist on speeding and who are oblivious to pedestrians that are crossing the avenue,” he said.

    Cohen-Eckstein was just more than a month from celebrating his bar mitzvah, a Jewish coming-of-age rite, according to a website announcing his occasion.

    1. Tearful City Council testimony on Sammy Cohen Eckstein
      Amy Cohen, grieving mother of Sammy Cohen Eckstein, testified before New York’s City Council today, unsuccessfully struggling to hold back tears as she urged a new law to cap speeds on the city’s residential streets at 20 miles per hour, calling it “a no brainer.” She added: “Every 33 hours, someone is dying. The next one could be someone you love.”

      Said her husband aid Gary Eckstein: “Just yesterday morning, Amy used a borrowed radar gun to clock the speed of vehicles traveling in front of our home on Prospect Park West where Sammy was killed. Although the bike lane and reduction to two lanes has slowed traffic somewhat (and you would think the large memorial to Sammy in the the intersection would make drivers aware of the need to drive slowly), in a span of approximately 15 minutes, 25 vehicles—many of them large commercial vehicles—exceeded the 30 mph limit.” 

      Yet the local 78th Precinct issues not one speeding ticket last month. Which raises the question of why a 20-mph limit would be enforced if the 30-mph limit is not now being enforced.

      The paradoxicallty named Committee for Taxi Safety opposes the bill. Vehicular deaths are said to be at theilowest levels since record-keeping began. But 237 people were killed in traffic incidents in 2011—yes, a 40% drop from 2001. Nontheless… “Death by traffic is the leading preventable cause of death for children under the age of 15,” said Paul Steely White, director of Transportation Alternatives, who was also emotional in his City Council testimony. Even before Sammy’s death, Cohen and Eckstein had been members of the group. 

      Coverage at Gothamist, Daily News, WNYC

    From the New York Times, Oct. 15:

    Oregon Father’s Memorial Trek Across Country Ends in a Family’s Second Tragedy
    DENVER — As he made his way across the country, Joe Bell walked through rain squalls, slept in ditches and talked to anyone who would listen about how his gay son had killed himself after being taunted and bullied at school.

    Mr. Bell’s artificial knees ached and his feet were mapped with blisters, but he told friends and strangers that he was determined to make it on foot from his home in eastern Oregon to New York City, where his son, Jadin, 15, had dreamed of one day working in fashion or photography. “I miss my son Jadin with all my heart and soul,” he wrote on Facebook in late May. “I know you’re with me on this walk.”

    But last Wednesday, Mr. Bell’s American journey—one that drew attention from local newspapers and attracted thousands of followers on social media—ended in an instant on a two-lane road in rural eastern Colorado. He was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer whose driver had apparently fallen asleep, the state police said.

    From the NY Times, Nov. 2:

    Boy, 9, Is Killed by S.U.V. in Brooklyn

    A 9-year-old boy was killed and three other people were hurt when a sport utility vehicle jumped the curb at an intersection in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on Saturday, the authorities said. 
    The Police Department said a 59-year-old man driving a Ford Expedition was traveling west on DeKalb Avenue at about 12:50 p.m. and attempted to make a left turn onto Clermont Avenue when he struck another car and jumped the curb, plowing into a group of pedestrians.
    The boy, whom the police did not immediately identify, was pinned under the car, the police said. He was declared dead at the crash site.
    Three other people, two women, ages 47 and 28, and a 5-year-old boy, were taken to Kings County Hospital Center with minor injuries, the police said. 
    The driver of the S.U.V., whose name was not released, remained on the scene. He did not appear to have been impaired, the police said. 
    But is he going to be charged with anything? License to kill it. No other way to call it.

    An angry NYC bicyclist manifesto on Rebel Metropolis, “It’s Time to Stop Sharing the Road,” accurately notes: “The burden of mortality is always on the person riding a bike, yet the burden of responsibility for using a car to kill or maim a person virtually never falls on the driver.”

    1. Charges in NYC car-nage… for a change
      Well, whaddaya know? From the NY Times, Nov. 3:

      Driver Charged With Negligent Homicide in Death of Boy, 9
      The red Ford Expedition mounted the sidewalk along DeKalb Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on Saturday afternoon not once, but twice.

      The first time, it narrowly missed two people at the southwest corner of Clermont Avenue, crashing into a parked car, jumping the curb and hitting another vehicle, the police said.

      But the second time, pedestrians along the busy Brooklyn thoroughfare were not so lucky: The S.U.V. struck and killed a 9-year-old boy, Lucian Merryweather, who was with his mother on the northeast corner. His 5-year-old brother and a woman who had been in the crosswalk were hurt.

      At first glance, the crash seemed likely to attract attention but unlikely to result in criminal charges. The driver, Anthony Byrd, 59, of Clinton Hill, remained at the scene and was not intoxicated, the police said.

      Yet in what pedestrian advocates called a welcome development, investigators arrested Mr. Byrd based solely on the scale of what the police called negligent and reckless driving. He was charged with criminally negligent homicide and other offenses, including driving the wrong way on a one-way street and driving on a sidewalk, the police said on Sunday.

  5. Victim charged in police shooting

    This takes the damn cake. The NY Times reports Dec. 4: "An unarmed, emotionally disturbed man shot at by the police as he was lurching around traffic near Times Square in September has been charged with assault, on the theory that he was responsible for bullet wounds suffered by two bystanders, according to an indictment unsealed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday." 

    Reminds us of the Marikana massacre survivors in South Africa last year being charged with murder for the deaths of their own comrades by the police. It's the cops who should be in the dock! Needlessly firing in a jam-packed Times Square, and then charging some innocent loon who was dancing in traffic? Twisted totalitarian bullshit of the lowest order. What a blow it will be for mere elementary logic if these charges stick. 

    But more the point of this particular thread: Said loon, one Glenn Broadnax, 35, of Brooklyn, was (whether he realized it or not) reclaiming public space. It is his damn right to dance in the street! As a citizen, he owns those damn streets! Maybe Broadnax's little Times Square dance was a protest against the domination of public space by the tyranny of the automobile. Maybe he should launch a First Amendment defense.

    We're serious.


    A 50-car pile-up in Pennsylvania today left one driver dead and dozens of motorists stranded on the state turnpike for hours in the middle of a major snowstorm. The mega-crash near Morgantown left motorists stranded on the road for hours as the snow continued to fall. Meanwhile a 30-car crash in Milwaukee caused multiple injuries. (ABC, Dec. 8)

  7. License to kill

    The beat goes on. From the NY Times, Jan. 11:

    9-Year-Old Killed by Taxi Was 'Spirited' and 'Wise'
    A 9-year-old boy who was one of two people struck and killed by separate vehicles on the Upper West Side on Friday night was described by his family on Saturday as a "spirited third grader" with a fanatical devotion to the New York Knicks.

    The boy, identified by his family as Cooper Stock, was trying to cross the intersection of West End Avenue and West 97th Street with his father at about 9 p.m., the police said, when a taxi making a left turn crashed into them. Cooper was pronounced dead at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center.

    His father, Dr. Richard G. Stock, a radiation oncologist who treated former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani for prostate cancer, suffered a leg injury.

    The driver of the taxi, whom the police did not identify, remained on the scene and was given a summons for failing to yield, officials said.

    A half-hour earlier and just two blocks away, a private tour bus struck and killed a 73-year-old man as he crossed Broadway on West 96th Street. No charges had been filed against that driver as of Saturday evening and the police had not released either name.

  8. “Vision Zero” for NYC?

    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Jan. 15 that he will implement his "Vision Zero" plan to reduce pedestrian traffic fatalities in New York City by installing new cameras and issuing more tickets for speeding, among other measures. He spoke at a site in Queens where an eight-year-old boy was killed by a truck as he walked to school last month. (Capital New York, Jan. 15) 

    Police say Noshat Nahian was crossing the intersection of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard in Woodside at about 8 AM when a tractor-trailer making a left turn hit him. The boy was just a block away from his school, PS 152, when he was struck. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the truck, Mauricio Osorio-Palominos, 51, was actually arrested and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operating a vehicle in violation of safety rules. (PIX11, Dec. 20) One wonders if he'd have been arrested at all if he hadn't been unlicensed.

    It would be nice if de Blasio is really going to execute a serious crackdown on lawless motorists. But note that the automotive trasnport system necessitates expanding the surveillance state with more police cameras on the public streets… We don't need more cameras, we need less cars…. If "Vision Zero" refers to zero traffic fatalities, it can only be acheived through zero cars. We sure wish de Blasio would recognize that…

    1. Justice for Cooper Stock —too little, too late

      From DNA Info New York, May 29:

      The City Council passed legislation Thursday to revoke the license of taxi drivers who kill or critically injure a person after being convicted of breaking a traffic law.

      "Cooper's Law" was introduced by City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal in response to the death of 9-year-old Cooper Stock, who was killed in January when a cabdriver failed to yield to him while he was crossing the street with his father.

      Under the bill — which passed 46 to 1, with two abstentions — a cabbie's taxi license would automatically be suspended immediately after a crash in which a pedestrian is killed or critically injured. It would be permanently revoked if the cabbie is eventually convicted by the Taxi & Limousine Commission of violating traffic laws at the time of the crash, such as failing to yield to a pedestrian, officials said.

      The legislation defines "critical injury" as "any injury determined to be critical by the emergency medical service personnel responding to such crash."

      In the case of young Cooper, the driver was given a $300 summons following the crash for failing to yield but was not convicted of any other wrongdoing and allowed to continue driving his cab. The lack of consequences he faced provoked outrage from the boy's family and local residents.

    2. Vision Zero: empty promise?

      Attorney  writes for StreetsBlog NYC, Sept. 9:

      Eight months in, Mayor de Blasio and his administration should be proud of how much has been achieved under the Vision Zero program.. But as shown by the Dulcie Canton scandal NYPD's response has been inconsistent.

      Dulcie's case illustrates the gaping holes that remain in NYPD's approach to Vision Zero. She was struck with tremendous force in a horrific hit-and-run crash on August 7 and suffered serious injuries, somehow managing to escape with her life (in large part because she was wearing a helmet). Surveillance video shows a sedan driver speeding behind her fully-illuminated bicycle, striking her, and driving off without so much as hesitating.

      Although, as is often the case, the surveillance video did not capture the car's license plate, and the driver sped off before witnesses could get a look at him, Bushwick residents at the crash scene came together in a remarkable way to help identify the driver… The skateboarder with Dulcie that night worked with neighbors to identify the car, parked just a block or so from the crash scene…

      All that was left for me to do as Dulcie's lawyer was to bring this evidence to the police and let them do their job… But that’s where the process broke down. Because Dulcie thankfully hadn’t been killed or critically injured, the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad did not respond. Instead, a detective at the 83rd Precinct was assigned to investigate the case as a hit-and-run…

      Over the following month, I followed up with the detective several times by phone and in writing. He explained…that he was busy with a heavy caseload and needed more time before he could question the owner…

      I have on many occasions encountered deeply held cultural biases among police against investigating traffic crimes. They don't take them as seriously as other crimes. A "quality of life" crime like selling loosies is enough to trigger a fatal encounter under the broken windows program, but a naked act of aggression with a deadly weapon like the hit-and-run that could have killed Dulcie warrants attention only, as the detective put it to me, if police “have the time.”

      Now that Administrative Code 119-90 is law, thousands of cases like Dulcie’s are misdemeanors — crimes — that require law enforcement resources and attention. This applies to crashes involving a failure to yield the right of way, even if the driver is sober and stays at the scene. Yet NYPD shows no sign it is even aware that this law took effect two weeks ago, and continues to let nonfatal traffic violence cases fall through the law enforcement sieve.

  9. NY cops beat elderly man bloody for jay-walking

    From the NY Post, Jan. 19:

    Cops left an 84-year-old man a bloody mess on Sunday after he was caught jaywalking through an Upper West Side intersection near where a pedestrian had been killed hours earlier.

    Kang Wong, who lives nearby, had been strolling north on Broadway, crossing 96th Street in the eastern crosswalk, when an officer told him to stop — for allegedly crossing against the light, just before 5 p.m.

    The man didn't seem to understand English-language commands.

    Then the cops physically held him while starting to write a ticket, and the still-uncomprehending man tried to wrench himself free. The cops reacted predictably.

    The man's blood was spilled all over the pavement, before he was handcuffed and hauled away.

    He was taken to a local hospital.

    The exceedingly violent arrest came 12 hours after an ambulance struck an Upper West Side woman in front of her own building, sending her into the path of another vehicle and killing her on the spot, authorities said.

    It was the third fatal accident within two blocks of 96th Street and Broadway in a little more than a week.

    In this latest deadly crash, a 26-year-old Samantha Lee was crossing 96th — mid-block between Broadway and West End Avenue — when she was clipped by the driver’s side mirror of a westbound St. Luke’s Hospital ambulance at 4:45 a.m., police said.

    Lee ended up face-down in eastbound lanes when she was run over by a red, four-door Dodge Charger, officials said.

    She woman was pronounced dead at the scene. [Sic]

    Both drivers, of the ambulance and Charger, stayed at the scene and no arrests were immediately made cops said.

    How much longer are we going to tolerate this tyranny?

    Oh, wait. This isn't tyranny. It's normality. Silly me.


    From The Villager, Feb. 13:

    In a deadly traffic accident that killed an M.T.A. bus driver and left several others injured on Wednesday, around 5:30 a.m., a stolen truck crashed into a 14th St. cross-town bus at Seventh Ave., sending both vehicles careening into the intersection’s southeast corner.

    The vehicles smashed into a scaffold, and two parked cars and a cab were also struck.

    According to the police report, E.M.S. medics responded to the scene and declared the bus’s operator, William Pena, 49, of Hillside, N.J., dead on arrival. A 17-year veteran driver of the cross-town route, Pena was married and had a teenage daughter. According to the New York Post, he was…ejected from the bus by the impact of hitting the scaffold.

    Two pedestrians at the location were removed to local hospitals in stable condition. Three passengers on the bus were also injured, as was 15-year food vendor Ashraf Marei, who, enclosed inside his food cart, suffered minor injuries after a cab clipped his cart and boiling water spilled on him. He was treated at Beth Israel.

    A person on a three-wheeled scooter who was struck by the truck prior to the collision with the bus was removed to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.

    The stolen orange box truck's sides were marked "18 Rabbits Granola." The driver — identified by the Daily News as Dominic Whilby, 22, of Georgia — was removed to Bellevue Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

    And what exactly was it that was worth all this carnage? Oh right, being a privileged anti-social idiot with a complete sense of entitlement:

    The Post subsequently reported that Whilby is the nephew of male model Tyson Beckford and had been out drinking with him and Beckford’s girlfriend, Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik, at a Fashion Week party in Chelsea. Whilby was reportedly bounced from 1OAK on W. 17th St. around 3:30 a.m. for "getting too frisky with some women," then wandered over to the nearby Maritime Hotel on W. 16th St., where he passed out in the lobby and was again kicked out. Drifting down the street and unable to find a limo, he jumped into the truck, which had the keys in the ignition, and took off, crashing into several parked cars along the way.

    Another case soon to be utterly forgotten by all but the survivors and the kin of the deceased…

  11. Jaywalking: a human right

    A couple of years ago we noted an interesting historical primer on the "Invention of Jaywalking." Now a BBC News analysis, "Jaywalking: How the car industry outlawed crossing the road," provides further enlightenment…

    Enforcement of anti-jaywalking laws in the US is sporadic, often only triggered by repeated complaints from drivers about pedestrian behaviour in a particular place. But jaywalking remains illegal across the country, and has been for many decades.

    The first known reference to it dates to December 1913, says Peter Norton, a history professor at the University of Virginia and author of Fighting Traffic – The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. That month a department store in Syracuse hired a Santa Claus who stood on the street with a megaphone, bellowing at people who didn't cross properly and calling them jaywalkers.

    "I don't know how this got to Syracuse, but in mid-western slang a jay was a person from the country who was an empty-headed chatterbox, like a bluejay," he says.

    The word was first used to describe "someone from the countryside who goes to the city and is so dazzled by the lights and the show windows that they keep stopping and getting in the way of other pedestrians".

    The use of jaywalking as a term of ridicule against pedestrians crossing roads took off in the 1920s.

    A key moment, says Norton, was a petition signed by 42,000 people in Cincinnati in 1923 to limit the speed of cars mechanically to 25mph (40kph). Though the petition failed, an alarmed auto industry scrambled to shift the blame for pedestrian casualties from drivers to walkers…

    "The newspaper coverage quite suddenly changes, so that in 1923 they're all blaming the drivers, and by late 1924 they're all blaming jaywalking," Norton says.

    Soon, he adds, car lobby groups also started taking over school safety education, stressing that "streets are for cars and children need to stay out of them". Anti-jaywalking laws were adopted in many cities in the late 1920s, and became the norm by the 1930s…

    Meanwhile, an overriding goal of city planners and engineers became allowing traffic to circulate unhindered.

    "For years, pedestrians were essentially written out of the equation when it came to designing streets," says Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic – Why We Drive the Way We Do.

    "They didn't even appear in early computer models, and when they did, it was largely for their role as 'impedance' – blocking vehicle traffic."

    This made US cities unusually hostile to walkers, says Vanderbilt. Jaywalking became an "often misunderstood umbrella term", covering many situations in which the pedestrian should in fact have the right of way.

    Some countries have followed the lead of the US and imposed anti-jaywalking measures. Police in China began a fresh push to stop jaywalking last year, fining offenders and in Shanghai, making them read out traffic regulations aloud.

    Another example of China following the bad example of the US. Exactly the opposite of what needs to happen… 

    1. More context on the invention of ‘jay-walking’

      Another piece looking at this forgotten history is provided by Joseph Stromberg on Vox Jan. 15, with amazing period photos of New York's vibrant streets in the pre-auto age. His sub-hed: "It's strange to imagine now, but prior to the 1920s, city streets looked dramatically different than they do today. They were considered to be a public space: a place for pedestrians, pushcart vendors, horse-drawn vehicles, streetcars, and children at play. As cars began to spread widely during the 1920s, the consequence of this was predictable: death."

      1. More context on the invention of ‘jay-walking’

        An Aug. 4 piece on Gothamist quotes from a new study entitled Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street:

        Before the American city could be physically reconstructed to accommodate automobiles, its streets had to be socially reconstructed as places where cars belong. Until then, streets were regarded as public spaces, where practices that endangered or obstructed others (including pedestrians) were disreputable. Motorists' claim to street space was therefore fragile, subject to restrictions that threatened to negate the advantages of car ownership.

        Epithets—especially joy rider—reflected and reinforced the prevailing social construction of the street. Automotive interest groups (motordom) recognized this obstacle and organized in the teens and 1920s to overcome it. One tool in this effort was jaywalker.

        Motordom discovered this obscure colloquialism in the teens, reinvented it, and introduced it to the millions. It ridiculed once-respectable street uses and cast doubt on pedestrians' legitimacy in most of the street. Though many pedestrians resented and resisted the term and its connotations, motordom's campaign was a substantial success.

        The story notes that a "counter-campaign using the term 'jay drivers' did not catch on." Maybe it's time to revive it.

      2. More context on the invention of ‘jay-walking’

        A very refreshing open defense of jay-walking from Ravi Mangla in Salon Aug. 20: The secret history of jaywalking: The disturbing reason it was outlawed — and why we should lift the ban…

        Before the proliferation of automobiles streets were shared by all manner of traveler. Crosswalks had not yet been established (the first one wouldn't appear until 1911) and pedestrians had just as much right to the road as streetcars and carriages. Cars, in their earliest incarnation, were seen as interlopers, an unwelcome addition to the urban milieu. Traffic fatalities were not looked upon kindly by the general public. Angry mobs were wont to drag offending drivers (kicking and screaming, one would presume) from the comfort of their cars. According to the Detroit News, upwards of 60 percent of automobile-related fatalities in the 1920s were children under the age of 9. "One gruesome Detroit article described an Italian family whose 18-month-old son was hit and wedged in the wheel well of a car. As the hysterical father and police pried out the child’s dead body, the mother went into the house and committed suicide."

        By the close of the 1920s, automobiles had claimed the lives of more than 250,000 children and adults in the United States. In New York City, temporary memorials were erected in Central Park to commemorate the dead, as if casualties of combat. Automobile drivers were uniformly painted as villains in newspaper editorials, a menace to civic well-being. Cartoons depicted them in full reaper regalia, armed with sharpened scythes. The phrase "jay driver" prefigures its more common counterpart, appearing in print as early as 1905. (A 1907 headline in the Albuquerque Evening Citizen reads "Jay Drivers Imperil Life Each Hour in Albuquerque.") The growing tension between motorists and pedestrians had larger class implications. While motorists tended to be men of means, the pedestrians they sought to displace were largely working-class… As James J. Flink writes in "The Automobile Age," "The automobile trade journals were agreed in 1923 that ‘illiterate, immigrant, Negro and other families’ were ‘obviously outside’ the market for motorcars."

        In 1923, Cincinnati residents pursued an ordinance that would require motorists to outfit their cars with mechanical devices called governors. The governors would switch off car engines if vehicles exceeded speeds of 25 miles per hour. Local automobile dealers mobilized to strike down the measure. Over the next decade the auto industry pursued aggressive action to take sole possession of public roads and, in turn, reshape the conversation around cars. The American Automobile Association, or AAA, sponsored safety campaigns in schools, educating students on the dangers of crossing the street in unmarked zones. Boy Scouts handed out cards to pedestrians, warning them against the practice of jaywalking. Mock trials were conducted in public settings to shame or ridicule offenders.

        This all didn't just happen "naturally," folks…

  12. License to kill

    WNYC runs a heart-wrenching account of the case of Allison Liao, 3, who was killed by an SUV while crossing Main Street in Flushing with her grandmother on Oct. 7, 2013—one of the 156 pedestrians killed in New York City traffic last year. Allison and her grandmother had the right of way. The driver faced no consequences. More at Streetsblog.

    1. Demand justice for Allison Liao

      An administrative law judge for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles on Jan. 6 deferred a decision concerning the driver’s license of the motorist who killed three-year-old Allison Liao. "My entire family has been suffering heartbreaking pain," said the tot's grandmother Chin Hua, who stopped several times to compose herself as she described the crash via a translator. “It’s better to revoke the driver’s driver's license.” Motorist Ahmad Abu-Zayedeh declined to testify. (Streetsblog) The Liao family has an online petition demanding justice in the case. It reads:

      Despite a video of the incident showing a failure to yield, an admission to having 2 glasses of wine, and our daughter being killed, the driver only received 2 tickets: failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to use due care. When the case came before a DMV judge we were not officially informed of the hearing and the court was not informed a death had been involved, both not mandatory under the law. Seconds after the hearing started, the judge found the driver not guilty simply because the cop present said he did not witness the crime.

      So a driver's license is not a license to kill? Really?

      Meanwhile, the NY Post reported Dec. 24 that a group of Brooklyn bus drivers staged a one-day strike to protest the arrest of a fellow driver, under a new "Vision Zero" law, for what the Post called a "fatal crash" (a 78-year-old man was run down in the crosswalk). It pains us to have be on the opposite side of striking workers, but the tyranny of lawless motorists in NYC demands urgent action. This carnage and impunity has been accepted as "normal" far too long.

      1. NY bus driver arrested for maiming pedestrian

        The pedestrian was a 15-year-old girl, Jiahuan Xu, who was in the crosswalk and had the right of way on a Williamsburg street. She survived, but her leg has been so damaged that she may lose it. Yet the TWU Local 100 are protesting that the driver was arrested and charged with breaking the new "Vision Zero" law, that jacks up harming a pedestrian who has the right of way from a violation to a misdemeanor. The driver was not actually held, but given a desk appearance ticket. But Pete Donahue gripes in the Daily News: "Law-abiding MTA bus driver cuffed like thug after accident in Brooklyn." Excuse us? "Law-abiding"? The excuse for this is the notion that the driver "didn't see" Jiahuan.

        To which we reply: Learn to see pedestrians, or get off the road.

  13. License to kill

    Another longtime Lower East Side fixture is gone. From the NY Post, March 27:

    Punk rocker struck, killed by SUV in East Village: cops
    A 47-year-old punk rock guitarist died at dawn Thursday after being struck by an SUV while crossing the street near her East Village apartment.

    "She was a loving, upbeat, and interesting person," the distraught boyfriend of Lisa Julian said at Beth Israel Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

    "She was very happy. It’s tough to talk about her right now," said the boyfriend, Alexander Rubinstein, 21.

    No criminality is suspected, though the accident remains under investigation, cops said

    Julian was crossing the street at Third Avenue and St. Mark’s Place when a white Ford Explorer hit her at around 6:30 a.m., according to police.

    "She was walking. I don’t think she was paying attention," the vehicle's stunned driver, Oliver Parris, 58, said as he lingered at the scene after talking to police

    Parris delivers newspapers to apartments for a living, and had just finished for the day. He was driving home to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, when he struck Julian.

    "She was crossing against the light. I had a green light," he said sadly.
    "I tried to avoid her. I swerved."

    Note the usual jaundiced reporting. "No criminality is suspected." That inevitable, ironic line. She "wasn't paying attention." So she's to blame. The victim is always to blame. The driver "swerved," but doesn't say whether he hit the breaks. Generally, motorists will HIT THE GAS if they see a pedestrian in their way without the right of way, to terrorize 'em and teach 'em a lesson. Sure he "swerved"—at the last possible micro-second after first SPEEDING UP. In all probability.

    When, when, when will New Yorkers rise up against this tyranny?


  14. Another innocent loon killed by morotist

    From KPTV in Portland, Ore., May 4:

    A naked man doing push-ups in the middle of a North Portland street was struck and killed by a car early Sunday morning.

    North Precinct officers first responded to the report of a naked man running in traffic near North Columbia Boulevard and Portsmouth Avenue at 4:04 a.m.

    While they were en route, police received a second report that the naked man was doing push-ups in the road. Then, they received a third report: he had been struck by a car.

    Officers and medical personnel arrived and found the man dead.

    The driver who struck the man remained at the scene and was cooperative. The driver was not impaired by alcohol or drugs.

    So taking a human life is OK, as long as you aren't stoned. Motorists have the right to be judge, jury and executioner if some harmless loon disregards social norms?

    Where is the outrage?

  15. Lawless motorist arrested…. Progress?

    Glad to see him busted, but if he had a license and hadn't fled the scene, he probably would've got away with it. From WPIX, May 5:

    A 62-year-old driver has been arrested in connection with a crash that killed a 9-year-old girl and injured five other people in Brooklyn, police said Monday.

    Kenneth Palache, of Huntington, Long Island, faces charges of criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and operating a motor vehicle without a license.

    Two blocks away from the crash site, police said officers tried to pull over Palache because his car matched the description of a vehicle involved in an earlier hit-and-run. But when officers approached Palache’s car, the driver allegedly took off.

    Traveling home from church with a friend and her friend’s mother, Rebecca Ramnarine, of Queens, was a passenger in a sedan when Palache’s Honda minivan struck it near Avenue N and Remsen Avenue about 5 p.m. Sunday, police said.

    Officials said the minivan also struck another vehicle.

    The 9-year-old girl, whose family said wanted to grow up to be a pediatrician, was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

    Two other occupants in the sedan and three people in the other vehicle were hospitalized in stable condition.

  16. Man-bites-dog incident fuels anti-bike backlash

    From The Villager, May 12:

    After a state Senate staffer was nearly killed last month by an unidentified bicyclist who hit him and fled the scene, state Senator Brad Hoylman is calling for much stiffer criminal penalties for hit-and-run cyclists.

    The Senate staffer, John Allen, 70, who lives on the Upper West Side, was walking across West 40th St. at Sixth Ave. on Mon., April 7, around 2 p.m., when he was mowed down by the speeding cyclist, according to police. The crash was so serious that the senior was left with a fractured skull, and briefly had to be placed in a medically induced coma after being rushed to Bellevue Hospital that day.

    Allen is also a personal friend of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. A former Upper West Side city councilmember, Brewer initially explained the incident to Hoylman — along with dozens of Chelsea residents — at an April 21 forum at the Hudson Guild community center on W. 26th St.

    Brewer’s recounting of the hit-and-run crash came in response to a question from Chelsea seniors — residents of the nearby Penn South housing complex, who frequently raise concerns about cyclists who they claim blow through red lights or ride the wrong way in the Eighth and Ninth Aves. bike lanes around their development.

    The case that sparked this bill is an example of "bad facts." I have ZERO sympathy for bicyclists who adopt the Social Darwinist mentality of motorists. But let's keep in mind that: a.) This is a man-bites-dog story. Bike-on-pedestrian collisions ironically get MORE play because they are far LESS frequent (as well as less likely to be deadly). b.) It is the dominance of cars that has turned the streets into a Darwinian death race, and encourages this kind of behavior.

    And, by the way, 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. There is a good piece exploring the question at Vox

    1. Man-bites-dog incident fuels anti-bike backlash —again

      Jill Tarlov, a pedestrian  struck by a cyclist in Central Park last week has died from her injuries, Gothamist reports. She was the second person in New York to be killed by a cyclist this year. The cyclist, Jason Marshall, was not arrested. Gothamist writes: "Marshall was reportedly riding his racing bike in the bike lane as he approached the intersection, and struck Tarlov after he swerved out of the bike lane to avoid several pedestrians. Some witnesses said he was speeding, which Marshall denies. He sustained minor injuries in the crash."

      Now, Gothamist reported June 5 that a whopping 100 had been killed by cars in New York by that date. Yet cars are accepted as "normal," whereas bicycles are viewed as some abhorrant aberration and meance to pedestrians. We ask again: Why is that?


    From NBC New York, July 2:

    Woman Walking Dog Killed by City Garbage Truck in Chelsea
    A woman walking her dog was hit and killed by a city garbage truck in Chelsea Wednesday morning after the pup ran underneath the truck and she went after it, authorities say.

    Jackie Haeflinger, 58, was walking her dog near Seventh Avenue and West 15th Street around 10 a.m. when the dog ran toward the idling truck.

    The dog ran underneath the garbage truck and Haeflinger went to reach for it, but slipped under the truck and was run over, according to a man who witnessed the accident as he was coming home from work.

    "Slipped"? How does one "slip" under a truck? Sounds more like she was reaching under the truck, and the driver reacted like a typical conditioned motorist, and pulled out at that moment just to terrorize her. No charges have been filed (of course), and the Sanitation Department wouldn't talk to reporters.


    The double-decker tour bus driver who slammed into another bus and injured 14 people in Times Square on Aug. 5 while allegedly high on drugs has had his driver's license and vehicle registration suspended a combined 20 times, officials said. (NYP)


    From CBS New York, Aug. 11:

    HAWTHORNE, N.J. — A driver has been arrested in connection with a crash that killed a woman and injured two others at a farmers market in northern New Jersey.James Woetzel, 48, has been charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident which resulted in death, authorities said Monday. Bail was set at $200,000.

    Around 2:12 p.m. Sunday, authorities said Woetzel drove his pickup truck through a barricade and hit three people, including a woman who was dragged three blocks.

    "I heard the truck coming through the barricades, I heard crashing and I heard screaming," vendor Jamie Borelli said.

    "I ran after the car screaming, 'stop, stop, stop' because there was a person under the car," said witness Blythe Roth.

    The woman, who has been identified as 58-year-old Donna Wine, was pronounced dead at the scene.

    "It's unthinkable you can drag someone so far and not realize you've done something," Hawthorne Mayor Richard Goldberg said.


    From AP, Sept. 28:

    Police say two pedestrians have been killed in separate incidents in New York City.

    Authorities say a 26-year-old man was hit by a livery car as he was trying to cross Pelham Parkway near White Plains Road in the Bronx around 1 a.m. Sunday. The driver remained at the scene. The pedestrian was then hit by a second livery car that left the scene. The man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    Shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, a 33-year-old man crossing Fifth Avenue between 15th and 16th streets in Manhattan was hit by a sedan, which left the scene. The man, identified as Doohee Cho, was also pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

    The Bronx victim has not been identified. There have been no arrests.

  21. War on bicycles excised from coverage of NYC car-nage

    Big ups to WNYC for running this compelling account of the family of Queens rapper Asif Rahman, struggling with his senseless death, but nowhere does it mention the rather critical fact that he was riding a bicycle when he was run down by a truck four years ago… See the page on the incident at Ghost Bikes

    In an advance for Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Vision Zero" program, the NY City Counicl voted to lower the speed limit on streets (other than highways and parkways) from 30 to 25 mph. (Daily News, Oct. 7) Like 100 SUVs at the bottom of the East River, we'd call this… a good start.


    From The Villager, Oct. 16:

    Car kills elderly woman on Canal St.
    On Tues., Oct. 14, at 4:08 a.m., police responded to a 911 call of a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian near the intersection of Canal and Elizabeth Sts.

    Upon arrival, officers observed an unidentified elderly female, unconscious and unresponsive, lying on Canal St. E.M.S. medics responded to the location and transported the woman to New York Downtown Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

    Further investigation revealed the pedestrian had been walking northbound on Elizabeth St., crossing Canal St., when she struck by a gray 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee, traveling westbound on Canal St. and operated by a male, 64.

    The driver remained on the scene. There were no arrests. The investigation is ongoing.


    Edgar Torres of Queens had the right of way Oct. 30—walking in a crosswalk, with a green light—when he became the fourth pedestrian to be fatally struck by an MTA bus driver in the last two months. The "accident" (sic) occurred at the same intersection in Ridgewood where a city bus driver killed pedestrian Ella Bandes in 2013. (StreetsBlog, Oct. 31)


    From a Nov. 13 report in The Villager on NYC Councilmember Margaret Chin's call for a study on traffic fatalities along Canal Street:

    Motor vehicles struck and killed three elderly residents crossing local streets within crosswalks between Aug. 28 and Oct. 14 of this year. Details are less clear in the death of a 59-year-old Canadian man who was struck at an unknown location along Canal St. on Oct. 30 by a private sanitation truck, which continued moving until stopping at the intersection at Centre St…

    According to data compiled by nyc.crashmapper.com, there were 267 traffic collisions at the intersection of Canal and Bowery between August 2011 and February of this year. Further west, 110 such incidents occurred at Canal and West Broadway during the same period. More than two collisions per month occurred at the intersection where Sau Ying Lee, 90, died on Oct. 14 just steps from the curb at Elizabeth and Canal Sts.

    "Legally, my mom had the right of way when she crossed the street," said Michael Cheung, Lee's son, who added his opinion that the driver lied when telling investigators that he could not see Lee.

    The driver of the SUV that killed his mother faces no charges, though that and the other incidents remain under investigation, according to Chin, who said she recently discussed the matter with the District Attorney's Office. She and others have called for criminal charges against that driver, as well as those who struck Shu Fan Huang, 82, on Aug. 28 and Sui Leung, also 82, on Sept. 25.

    The purported lack of accountability on the part of drivers is a "disgrace," according to attorney Steve Vaccaro. He said that responsibility for pursuing such cases can fall by the wayside amid the city’s bureaucracy.

    "There are plenty of laws on the books but they are not being enforced the way they should be," he said.

    Unfortunately, that same issue contained a letter protesting "Bike anarchy on the streets," by one Ned Sublette…

    A cultural shift among New Yorkers is needed in order to reduce aggressive driving, jaywalking and other dangerous behavior on the streets, they say.

    Why is dangerous behavior by bicyclists never mentioned? You cannot walk down a block without seeing a bicyclist going the wrong way, riding on the sidewalk, riding without lights at night, riding with headphones on… .

    The bicycle explosion has been a disaster for the elderly, the visually handicapped, the cognitively challenged, and anyone whose head doesn’t spin around 360 degrees.

    A cultural shift among cyclists is needed — along with vigorous enforcement of existing laws about what bicyclists can and cannot do.

    Sorry, Ned, but the bicycling "disaster" is not backed up by the facts. The problem is that the massive deaths caused by cars (209 in NYC so far this year, according to the Vision Zero website) are accepted as "normal," while the rare ones by bicycles are viewed as an insidious menace. We also refer you to ethicist Randy Cohen's excellent NY Times op-ed of Aug. 4, 2012, "If Kant Were a New York Cyclist," explaining why it is safer for all if cyclists are not bound by rules devised for motorists.

    1. Unreported car-nage

      I was hoping it would have got some media coverage by now, but it hasn't. On Nov. 6, I arrived at the corner of Bowery and Canal on my bicycle just after an elderly pedestrian was hit by a taxi. Saw the ambulence take away the victim. Saw the cops let the cabbie go after he protested "He didn't see me"! Not even "I didn't see him," but "he didn't see me"! Don't tell me a driver's license isn't a license to kill.

      A bit later in the same area, a police van with loudspeakers was announcing de Bazio's new 25mph speed limit, which is a good thing but will NEVER acheieve "Vision Zero." The cops were saying, seemingly without intentional irony: "Please slow down and drive carefully unless a sign indicates otherwise." So there are some streets where it is OK to drive recklessly?


      The Villager on Nov. 25 reported on that week's "Bloody Monday," with a cyclist and a pedestrian killed within a three-hour span on the Lower East Side. The taxi-driver who hit the cyclist, Shan Zheng, 61, on Houston Street was given a breathalyzer test and released. The BMW driver who hit a 57-year-old man crossing Bowery on foot was going 62 mph and kept going for another block until striking a fire hydrant at Stanton St. The driver was charged with criminally negligent homicide. He had 17 prior suspensions on his record. Why was he still on the road?

      That same issue featured a guest editorial by one Carl Rosenstein, rejecting Chin's call for a study as a stalling tactic, and calling for immediate action to reduce truck traffic in Lower Manhattan.

  25. Lawless motorist convicted…. Progress?

    The Daily News reported Feb. 19: 

    An ex-con was found guilty Thursday of killing a Brooklyn family in a horrific hit-and-run crash.

    Julio Acevedo, 46, was convicted of reckless manslaughter and other charges for the March 2013 death of Nathan and Raizy Glauber, who was pregnant at the time of the accident, in a Williamsburg wreck.

    OK, a start. But we wonder if the irrelevant fact that Acevedo is an "ex-con" didn't sway the jury (as if the "respectable" never commit this kind of crime). Ditto the fact that one of the victims was pregnant… We also object to the loaded word "crash." A more appropriate choice might be "assault."


    A New Jersey Transit bus rear-ended a private bus carrying more than two dozen Canadian middle-school students in the Lincoln Tunnel June 10, leaving 31 people with minor injuries. (NBC New York)

    On June 7, a five-year-old boy was hit by a car at a Brooklyn intersection near Prospect Park, mere feet from where 12-year-old Sammy Eckstein was killed in 2013. Roark Bennett , who apparently "ran out into the street against the light after straying from his family," was thrown two car lengths but suffered only minor injuries. "Cops said there was no criminality." (Daily News)

    In a new study by Hunter College professors, students surveyed 50 randomly selected intersections in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Of 4,379 drivers observed approaching lights that had already turned full red, 8.7%—nearly 1 in 10— ran the light. The majority of those who did not stop (4.4% of the total) drove straight through the light; others (2.6%) turned illegally on red; still others (1.7%) paused then continued through the red, treating it essentially as a stop sign. The observers only counted cars that entered the intersection after the light had already turned red. (CityLab, June 8)

  27. More quotidian car-nage

    A bicyclist was killed and three other people injured in what WABC is calling a "crash" this morning near the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. Details:

    Authorities say an SUV heading northbound on Flatbush Avenue crossed the double yellow line, went into the southbound lane and struck the southbound bicyclist.

    The SUV then struck a Mitsubishi.

    The bicyclist, a man in his 30s who was not carrying any identification, was pronounced dead at the scene…

    [A witness] says he saw the driver of a gray SUV initially hit a Toyota Camry that stopped at a red light at Dean Street and Fourth Avenue.

    "Didn't even hit his brakes, just went boom…"

    After smashing into the back of the Camry, witnesses say the driver backed up, went around the Camry then drove into oncoming traffic and kept speeding up the block, hitting the bicyclist near Atlantic Avenue.

    "His body went up in the air and it looked like it rolled on top of the vehicle," Weaver said.

    But he says the driver kept on going with the man on his hood, striking a black car before crashing again. Bicycle parts could still be seen stuck in the wheel.

    Do we ever hate that bogus word "crash," which implies two objects of similar bulk accidentally hitting each other. This wasn't a "crash," this was a hapless bicyclist being mowed down by an SUV.

    Another one from today's Daily News:

    Queens dad and 2 kids killed in car crash caused by drunken driver on Long Island
    A Queens mother desperately tried to save her daughter from the family’s burning car moments after they were slammed by a drunken hit-and-run driver on Long Island early Sunday, friends said.

    "She's been saying it all day: 'I tried to open the door for Sephora, and I couldn’t get her out,'" family friend Sonia Michel said of grieving Lucnie Bouaz-Ostane.

    Bouaz-Ostane tragically was also unable to rescue her husband and son. The mom was in the front passenger seat when a 2008 BMW slammed her family’s Toyota on the Southern State Parkway in Bay Shore at 1:30 a.m., cops said.

    Her husband, Ancio Ostane, 37, and their two children, Andy, 8, and Sephora, 4, were fatally trapped in the burning vehicle, police said.

    The St. Albans family was returning from a gathering with relatives when the crash occurred.

    Cops charged O’Neil Sharpe, 24, with DWI and leaving the scene of an accident.

    So the "crash" (as if it were just an inevitable accident) "occurred" (as if it were a random act of God, like someone getting struck by lightning). 


    1. No, no, no! ‘Crash’ is too weak!

      Well, this is ironic. Earlier this evening, I was at the Union Square vigil organized by Families for Safe Streets, which was moving and inspiring. Survivors and kin of motorist victims gathered with photos and memories of their lost loved ones (including many mentioned in the above thread). Several City Council members were on hand, and helped read out the names of hundreds of New Yorkers killed by reckless motorists. But… the slogan of the affair was Crash Not Accident, and an initiative has been launched to get the news media to phase out the word "accident" in favor of "crash." This, one day after my rant (see above) against the word "crash"!

      I must dissent from this. "Crash" is admittedly a better word than "accident"—but still way off base. Again: "crash" implies two objects of similar bulk accidentally hitting each other. It is an utterly inappropriate word to describe a pedestrian or bicyclist being hit by a motorist. Think about it. The word "crash" obviously has its origin as an onomatopoeia—that's more or less the sound of two metallic objects of similar bulk hitting each other. The sound of a human being run over by a large, heavy metallic object moving at great speed is another word with roots as an onomatopoeia—squash!

      Better to dispense with nouns and use the active voice: A pedestrian was run over. A bicyclist was mowed down. Or better: A pedestrian (or bicyclist) was killed (or gravely injured)… If you must use a noun… How about "assault"? 

      We applaud this campaign for starting a sorely needed conversation. But their terminology remains far too forgiving. And we reiterate: it is sheer delusion to think Vision Zero will ever be attained as long as there are cars on the streets of New York.

      Abolitionism is the only intellectually consistent stance. Ban cars.

      1. Establishment embraces critique of ‘accident’ terminology

        Thus notes the New York Times, in a story entitled "It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car 'Crashes' Instead." Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is quoted as saying: "When you use the word 'accident,' it's like, ‘God made it happen. In our society, language can be everything." OK, it's good that we're finally having this conversation, but (as noted above) the word "crash" is little better than "accident"….

  28. Queens street to be named after Allison Liao

    Queens Courier reports that the corner of Main Street and Cherry Avenue in Flushing will be known as Allison Hope Liao Way after Allison Liao, the 3-year-old girl who was fatally run down by a motorist on Oct. 13, 2013, while crossing the street with her grandmother. (Her kin are among the founders of Families for Safe Streets, cited above.) Alas, the Courier account commits the sematic sins that implicitly legitimize this kind of carnage. Allison Liao was not (as the photo caption has it) an "accident" victim. Nor (as the headline has it) a "crash" victim. Call it what it is: deadly assault, normalized under a political system in which motorists have a de facto license to kill.

  29. A little justice for Allison Liao

    From Streestblog, Oct. 29:

    A bereaved family has done what NYPD, city district attorneys, and the New York State DMV usually fail to do: impose meaningful sanctions against a reckless driver, who in this case took the life of 3-year-old Allison Liao.

    Ahmad Abu-Zayedeh failed to yield the right of way when he struck Allison as she walked hand in hand with her grandmother across Main Street in Flushing on October 6, 2013. The DMV found Abu-Zayedeh at fault for the crash, but revoked his license for just 30 days.

    NYPD summonsed Abu-Zayedeh for failure to yield and careless driving, but filed no criminal charges. The DMV later threw out the tickets. The chief vehicular crimes prosecutor for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Charles A. Testagrossa, wrote off the crash as a blameless "accident," and said Abu-Zayedeh was proceeding with a green light. In stories that are still online in their original form, the press falsely reported that Allison "broke free" from her grandmother, implying the victims were at fault.

    As is common when drivers injure and kill people in NYC, civil court was the victims' only available venue to hold the motorist accountable. This month, Allison’s parents, Amy Tam and Hsi-Pei Liao, settled a suit with Abu-Zayedeh. Under the terms of the settlement, Abu-Zayedeh surrendered 75% of his net worth, acknowledged complete responsibility for the crash, and signed a notarized agreement to not drive or apply for a license for five years.

    1. Cyclist documents NYC motorist transgressions

      WNYC on Nov. 6 profiled Paul Vogel, a Brooklyn-based cyclist who takes photos through a small camera mounted on the front of his bike as he pedals around the city, documenting the blocking of bike lanes and other reckless and illegal motorist behavior. 

      Vogel, a 43-year-old fundraiser for a nonprofit, has been doing this for about a year. He was motivated by a few things: a Tumblr page dedicated to showing cops parked in the bike lanes; a few nasty exchanges with angry drivers; and the death of 3-year-old Allison Liao as she was crossing a street in Flushing with her grandmother.

      "I know that somebody’s dashcam footage helped resolve that case," he said. He thought perhaps his images could help a traffic victim or bring someone to justice.

      He began submitting the photos of traffic infractions to city agencies and 311. He said some agencies have taken action, especially the city Taxi and Limousine Commission, which has issued fines to taxi drivers based on the photos.

      In mid-September when WNYC launched its Bike Blockers project on bike lane obstructions, his photos had another use. He became a super-contributor. Out of the more than 3,200 photos WNYC has received, over 700 of them have come from him.

      Very good to see his efforts getting some play.

      1. Crew looks for hazards in NYC bike lanes

        PIX11 features the efforts of  the Public Space Party ato document obstacles in the bike lanes of New York City. Benjamin Shepard puts on an orange jumpsuit and hard hat for organized bike rides. Crew members write "tickets" to cars that block the lanes and move items out of the way (including a dumpster).