A thoughtful piece in the NY Times this week examines the lack of criminal charges in pedestrian accidents. According to the article, the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad only investigated 2 percent of the near-3,000 serious, nonfatal crashes in the city last year. While this can be chalked up to a lack of staffing, some say it simply isn’t good enough.
The accident squad is a crew of only 20. They are only tasked with investigating fatal accidents or those where it is likely the victim will die. In other cases, usually, no investigation takes place at all. This offers little solace to accident victims who are severely injured by reckless or distracted drivers.
In this city, where many of us put miles on our feet everyday, it’s not unusual for people to be hit as they cross the busy city streets. And often, when the pedestrian is crossing with the light; the driver simply defends themselves with a simple, “I didn’t see them,” and carries on.
As pedestrians, we can follow all of the traffic safety rules, be cautious of where we walk and who we step in front of, and even wear reflective clothing at night. But if we are hit by a car, and we survive, there will likely be no criminal consequences for the driver—even if they were drunk. Continue reading
There have been numerous headlines coming from various news sources in the NYC area lately, all discussing the frequency of bike accidents, how they are handled by the cops, and bicycle safety in general. The latest addition to the growing pile of work is an article in the Gothamist which asserts New York City streets are safer for pedestrians and everyone thanks to cyclists. The article is an answer to the Gawker piece entitled “First, Kill All the Cyclists,” where the writer is overly critical of bikes in the city, saying they are a “menace,” among other things. In the Gothamist piece, however, we learn that bikes may just be an asset to the city. New Yorkers on bikes have risen dramatically in recent years, doubling in number from 2007 to 2010. During that time, bike-on-pedestrian crashes actually dropped 9 percent. Also during that period, the number of cyclist-caused crashes fell. The writer goes on to add, that bike lanes make everyone safer: Bike lanes, which are on just over 4% of New York City’s streets, also make roads safer for everyone: according to the DOT [pdf], pedestrian crashes on streets with bike lanes are 40% less deadly. Bike lanes have “a calming effect, lowering speeds and increasing driver attention.” While the Gawker piece would have you think that pedestrians are dodging bikes at every turn, the Gothamist article asserts that pedestrians should be far more concerned with cars, saying they are 365 more dangerous than cyclists, adding that 60 percent of fatal pedestrian and cyclist accidents are caused by illegal driving behavior. By being super-critical of cyclists, the Gothamist warns, Gawker is only perpetuating the ambivalence towards bicycle accidents, an already-existing problem in the city and especially among the NYPD. Instead, New Yorkers should hold their cyclists as a symbol of the city rather than a black mark, something to be proud of rather than something to criticize. After all, if you are riding a bicycle and are hit by a drunk driver or merely a distracted driver, you are far more likely to suffering life-changing, or even life-ending, injuries than if you are in another vehicle. It is in a cyclist’s best interest to be the best possible driver and to be hyper-aware of all of their surroundings. If you are involved in a bike or pedestrian accident, you want your side of the story to be taken seriously. You deserve to have an advocate on your side. Our attorneys can help. Contact the New York accident attorneys of Omrani & Taub today for a consultation on your case. We can be reached at 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAWSUIT).
A New Brunswick man is dead after the boat he was on capsized off the coast of Staten Island, near Perth Amboy. The drowning is said to have been a “tragic accident,” according to one NYPD source speaking to The Star-Ledger.
The pleasure boat was carrying 5 people. It’s believed the anchor got caught, capsizing the boat, according to authorities.
Three men and one woman, the only one wearing a life-jacket, were treated and released at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. But Mario Baredales was dead when the rescue mission began.
According to another report from the Star-Ledger, the boat passengers were rescued by another civilian vessel who happened upon the capsized boat quite by accident.
David Gross, who was piloting his own sport fishing boat, changed his route when the swells in the Verrazano Narrows looked a little rough for his aging mother-in-law who was on board. He altered his course into Raritan Bay when he saw four people waving in the water, one of them grasping the lifeless body of their friend. Continue reading
An accident on 42nd Street and 6th Avenue this past weekend sent several people to the hospital, including several pedestrians. The accident shows how dangerous it can be, even just to walk the sidewalks in New York City.
According to CBS New York, the accident was triggered when a Jaguar, traveling at a high rate of speed, crashed into the back of an Impala, stopped at a red light. Then, the Jag hit a cab before jumping the sidewalk and mowing several people down.
Witnesses said it appeared as though the taxi turned over on its side and hit a tree, causing the roof to be “shaved” off of the vehicle.
Reports are conflicting but at least three people from the vehicles are listed in critical condition, while three pedestrians are listed in serious condition. According to the NY Times, at least two people at the scene refused medical treatment.
One witness, who had been reading in the nearby Bryant Park when the accident occurred, said he ran over to the scene after hearing the crash. There he found people lying on the sidewalks “screaming for help.” Continue reading
A few high profile cases over the past year, especially that of cyclist Mathieu Lefevre, have brought significant attention to the NYPD’s treatment of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. So much so that the City Council held a meeting on the department’s lackadaisical attitude towards such accidents and how they are investigated.
According to the Village Voice, much of the frustration is due to the police department’s reluctance to charge drivers criminally after being involved in such accidents. Though they may receive a ticket for failing to signal or running a red light, it’s rare that they face charges of reckless endangerment or assault with a vehicle, even after the accident victim has suffered extensive injuries or even died.
The department assured the council that everything is being handled according to protocol, citing a 33% decrease in traffic fatalities overall in the past ten years. Continue reading
Canadian bicyclist and artist Mathieu Lefevre was killed by a crane truck about three months ago, and his family is highly critical of the NYPD, who took all three months to hand over the police records of the accident.
Only after filing a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act did the Lefevre family receive the file which included 115 pages and four videos, including the initial bicycle accident report.
Lefevre was riding his bicycle in Brooklyn when he was killed. The large crane truck was on his left at a corner, and the driver admittedly failed to signal a right turn. When Lefevre went to pass the truck on its right, he was hit, causing the fatal bicycle accident. Continue reading