NYC: outrage over automotive terror —at last
Hundreds of bicyclists staged a "die-in" in New York's Washington Square Park July 9, expressing outrage over the spate of killings of cyclists on the city's streets. Three deaths came in a one-week period, finally prompting demands for public action: Robyn Hightman, a 20-year-old bicycle messenger and track racer, was killed by a truck driver in Manhattan. Ernest Askew, 57, riding an e-bike in Brooklyn, was hit and killed by a teen driver. And Devra Freelander, 28, an artist, was killed by a cement truck driver, also in Brooklyn. (Bicycling, July 10) Hundreds of people gathered at 6th Avenue and West 23rd Street after the slaying of Hightman there on June 24. Hightman was the 12th cyclist killed on New York City streets in 2019; 10 were killed in all of 2018. (Gothamist, June 25)
Hightman was found by police laying on the street, unconscious and unresponsive, with head trauma. The driver initially fled, but later returned to the scene. Media reports did not indicate that he was arrested. As The Villager reports, Hightman had been an advocate for bicylists, who had recently posted on social media:
As a homeless youth deeply entrenched in the trappings of poverty and parental abuse and neglect, my first bicycle offered a way to seek respite from the horrors of my surroundings and human experience, if only for a few glorious minutes. My bicycle established a sense of independence, strengthened my ability to be self sufficient, and provided me with the confidence necessary to advocate for myself, my rights, and my needs in public space... Eventually, my bicycle allowed me to provide for myself when I began working a full time job at the age of fourteen. My bicycle provided me with the socioeconomic mobility necessary to escape. My bicycle saved my life.
City Council member Brad Lander has introduced a bill to impound vehicles that rack up five or more moving violations in any 12-month period. (Streetsblog, July 10) But Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has made traffic safety a supposed priority with his Vision Zero campaign, sparked further outrage just a few days later by defending a police officer who "forcefully stopped" a cyclist in the East Village—running over his CitiBike in the process.
The incident took place on Ave. A near Tompkins Square Park July 5—just three days after the mayor announced a new campaign to protect cyclists in response to the recent killings. A widely-shared video of the confrontation shows an unidentified officer—his SUV jack-knifed across the bike lane, the mangled CitiBike stuck under its wheels—accusing the cyclist of riding recklessly. "I'm going to use whatever means necessary to stop you, and that's for your safety," the officer tells him, drawing gasps and guffaws from the gathered crowd. (Gothamist, July 8)
The headline announcing the new safety campaign in the Daily News July 2 was all too telling: "NYPD announces plan to temporarily improve bike safety after slew of cyclist deaths." Temporarily. Right, let's wait for the news cycle to move on, then we can go back to killing bicyclists like normal.
Indeed, the NYPD has been escalating harassment of bicyclists of late. As Gothamist reported April 22:
For six years, bike messenger Shardy Nieves, 38, has organized the 4/20 Race and Bake relay bike race without any major issues with the NYPD. "At the finish line we have cookies, pizza, cupcakes, local bakeries sometimes sponsor it, it's just a way to bring the community together," Nieves told Gothamist.
But on Saturday afternoon, when Nieves arrived at the starting point for this year's race, Tompkins Square Park, he said he was greeted by name by an NYPD Lieutenant. "The officer had a manila envelope, and inside that envelope was screenshots of my social media and screenshots of the event," Nieves says. A few minutes later, Nieves was in handcuffs.
Nieves was told he was being arrested for an outstanding warrant stemming from an open container ticket he got in 2015.
And the automotive carnage that we have been documenting for years likewise escalates...
James Buzzell, 76, was fatally struck by a box truck backing into a parking spot near Union Square in May. (Daily News, May 21) Earlier that month, police charged the driver of a Smart car who plowed into two people in Battery Park City, severing one victims' foot. (Daily News, May 11) Also that month, a car rammed into a man crossing Northern Blvd., critically injuring him. The city is supposedly planning a makeover of the Queens thoroughfare because of an alarming uptick in pedestrian fatalities there. (Daily News May 11)
Arlene Kalfus, 81, was struck and killed by a shuttle bus near Battery Park in April. No arrest was reported at the time. (The Villager, April 11)
Another metro area bicycling advocate, David Schlichting, 66, of Great Neck, who helped found the Five Boro Bike Tour more than four decades ago, was killed in March when he was struck by a minivan while riding his bike in Lake Success, Long Island. (Newsday, March 19)
Similar news is reported from across the country. In Washington DC, bicyclist and safe-streets advocate Dave Salovesh, 54, was killed by a speeding driver on Florida Ave. NE—another thoroughfare with a notoriously deadly reputation. Just days after Salovesh's death in April, Bronx resident Abdul Seck, 31, was fatally struck by a vehicle while visiting DC's Anacostia neighborhood. (SmartCities, April 30)
In June, an off-duty police officer lost control of his vehicle while allegedly driving drunk and plowed into a restaurant in Chicago's South Side, killing a woman who was dining inside. (ABC News, June 12)
In Los Angeles, where 21 bicyclists were killed last year, city officials aim to raise awareness of the issue by placing signs memorializing bike riders "who died in crashes." (LA Curbed, April 8) Note that we take issue with this terminology.
In a truly perverse case, a trap set along a Colorado Springs bike trail severely injured a 69-year-old rider in March. Nard Claar suffered a broken right clavicle, three broken ribs, a concussion, and "road rash" when his bike got caught in a parachute cord intentionally strung across the trail. (Bicycling, April 17)
And in Guatemala back in March, more than 30 people were killed when a truck plowed into a crowd gathered at the site of a road collision that had left one dead. There was no report of an arrest. The "accident" (sic) took place in the municipality of Nahula, Sololá department. (Sky News, March 28)
But while this is of course a global pathology, the escalating road carnage in the United States is clearly linked to the current fascistic zeitgeist in the country.
As Vice reported April 24:
Researchers have now found an explanation for why many drivers act out toward cyclists: They are actually dehumanizing people who ride bikes, according to an April study by Australian researchers in the journal Transportation Research. And this dehumanization—the belief that a group of people are less than human—correlates to drivers' self-reported aggressive behavior.
Since 2010, cyclist fatalities have increased by 25 percent in the US. A total of 777 bicyclists were killed in crashes with drivers in 2017, and 45,000 were injured from crashes in 2015. Data compiled by the League of American Bicyclists also suggests that, in some states, bicyclists are overrepresented in the number of traffic fatalities.
Added the municipal affairs website Strong Towns:
If anything else—a disease, terrorists, gun-wielding crazies—killed as many Americans as cars do, we'd regard it as a national emergency. Especially if the death rate had grown by 50 percent in less than a decade. But as new data from the Governor's Highway Safety Association (via Streetsblog) show, that's exactly what's happened with the pedestrian death toll in the U.S. In the nine years from 2009 to 2018, pedestrian deaths increased 51 percent from 4,109 to 6,227.
We have pointed out before that by any objective standard, cars are worse than terrorism. The escalating carnage may also be linked to the current depressed oil prices—reversing the downward trend in road fatalities during the oil shock a decade ago. But this issue brings together concerns of foreign wars for control of oil, the domestic police state, global climate destabilization, and the particular manifestation of Ugly Americanism evidenced under Donald Trump. It is long, long past due that we start viewing trafic "accidents" (sic) as a political issue, and a form of systemic oppression of those who (whether consciously or not) dissent from the hegemonic and ecocidal car culture.
Context on anti-bicycle backlash
So far this year, 81 New Yorkers have been killed in traffic "accidents." Exactly one of those deaths was caused by a bicyclist—and it was the first since 2017. (Vision Zero, Gothamist) Yet double-standard anger directed at bicyclists on supposed "safety" grounds continued to be manifested in the comments section of The Villager.
Motorist kills art teacher in Brooklyn
An art instructor and avid yoga teacher who rode her bike everywhere became the city's 18th cyclist fatality when she swerved into the path of a vehicle while trying to avoid an opening car door. M. Samolewicz, 30, was traveling on Third Ave. in Sunset Park when she was hit by the 10-wheeler semi. (Daily News)
...while NY Post fears 'bike supremacy'
A New York Post editorial against Mayor de Blasio's "Green Wave Bicycle Plan" is entitled "'Bike supremacy' is ruining the city." Bike supremacy? Is that like "special rights" or "reverse racism"?
Traffic 'state of emergency' for San Francisco?
San Francisco's deadly year for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists has street-safety advocates clamoring for city leaders to formally declare a "state of emergency."
The call comes in the aftermath of two pedestrian deaths in just four days. Benjamin Dean was struck and killed by the driver of Tesla who ran a red light at Taylor and O'Farrell streets on July 21. The 39-year-old was visiting from Clovis to celebrate a wedding anniversary, with his wife, Kelly Dean, who was seriously injured. Three days earlier, the driver of a big rig fatally struck 54-year-old Michael Evans, dragging him two blocks to Fifth and Market streets before fleeing the scene.
On July 23, outside City Hall—where the Deans were married—street-safety advocates and San Francisco representatives called on Mayor London Breed to formally proclaim a citywide emergency. Doing so could unlock funds needed to speed up street-safety projects, advocates urged. (SF Weekly)
Propaganda wars in NYC car-nage
Michael Collopy, 60, died of his injuries after being struck by a bicyclist at 23rd St and 8th Ave, The Villager reports. This is terrible (of course), although we note, first, that the medical examiner is disputing the police account that he died as a result of being struck. And, secondly, that he was standing in the bike lane.
But we can already hear the hypocritical anti-bicycle reaction. He is the third pedestrian killed by a cyclist in NYC in as many years. There have already been 88 New Yorkers (including 18 bicyclists) killed by motorists so far this year. The most recent cyclist to die was Em Samolewicz, 30, an art teacher, struck by a truck in Sunset Park July 29. (Daily News) No arrests were reported in either case.
I called out the double standard in a letter to The Villager last week, in response to the unseemly anti-bicycle pile-on in their comments section.
Iris Crespo: Say her name.
An elderly woman walking in Chelsea was killed on Aug. 8, after being hit by a taxi around 1 p.m., according to police. The 77-year-old victim was identified as Iris Crespo, of 60 Amsterdam Ave. She was trying to cross W. 22nd St. at Eighth Ave., and was within the marked crosswalk, when she was struck by the taxi heading uptown on Eighth Ave. The force of the collision caused Crespo to land underneath a parked car, officials said.
After hitting Crespo, the hack, Daniel Fusaro, 82, a Queens resident, continued driving north before ramming into a parked vehicle, police said.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found Crespo unconscious and unresponsive on the street, with trauma to her head and body. EMS took her to Bellevue Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The cabbie was taken into custody and charged with leaving the scene of an accident, failure to yield to a pedestrian, failure to obey a traffic signal and failure to exercise due care. An investigation into the incident is ongoing by the Police Department’s Collision Investigation Squad. (The Villager)
Jose Alzorriz: say his name
From the Daily News, Aug. 11:
The suspect was released without charges.
Melissa McClure: say her name.
A Chelsea woman died of her injuries Aug. 13 after being hit by a turning pick-up truck three days earlier. Police said Melissa McClure, 67, and another woman, age 59, were crossing W. 15th St. at Sixth Ave. when they were hit by the front of the vehicle, knocking them down. The pickup truck’s driver remained at the scene and was not injured. There were no arrests and the investigation remains ongoing. (The Villager)
This was not a 'crash'
From the Daily News, Sept. 2:
Once again, "crash" as a euphemism for homicide.
More anti-bicycle propaganda from NY Post
More blame-the-victim propaganda from the evil NY Post. Amid a wave of motorist slayings of bicyclists this, is what they choose to run—an editorial entitled "NYC bicyclists are killing pedestrians and the city won't stop it." Complete with emotionally manipulative image of a wounded child—who, contrary to the implication of the headline, was not killed, and suffered no critical injuries. Three people have been killed by bicyclists in NYC in the past three years. So far this year, 121 have been killed by motorists. The figure for 2018 was an even 200. The figure for 2017 was 221. DO NOT EAT THIS VOMIT.
Enzo Farachio: say his name
An out-of-control driver mounted the sidewalk and ran over 10-year-old Enzo Farachio, who was waiting at a bus stop in Midwood, killing him. (Streetsblog, Sept. 10)
Police are also investigating an incident in Bushwick in which an SUV driver apparently chased down and intentionally killed a man on a bicycle, who had tried to break into his car. He was the 21st bicyclists killed in the city this year. (Streetsblog, Sept. 2)
De Blasio mulls licenses for bicyclists
During a press conference last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he was considering making CitiBike riders wear helmets and require all cyclists to get licenses. (The Villager)
This licenses-for-bicyclists jive is victim-blaming bollocks of the lowest order. It is disincentivizing the solution to the plague of traffic fatalities—or a big part of it. Instead of burdening bicyclists with bureaucracy there should be a vigorous crackdown on lawless motorists. As of today, there have been 123 traffic fatalities in New York City this year. Two of those were due to bicyclists. The rest due to motorists. This focus on bicyclists as the problem is out of wack in the extreme.
SUV kills tot in Bronx
A 1-year-old child has died after a vehicle involved in a two-car crash jumped a curb and struck a stroller in the Bronx. The driver has since been taken into custody. (WABC)
Mario Valenzuela: say his name
Relevant lines: "crash" and "no arrests."
Elou Rakhminov: say his name
From the NY Daily News:
Anne McLaughlin: say her name.
From the Tampa Bay Times, Sept. 28:
Dalerjon Shahobiddinov: say his name
From the NY Post:
Motoring notes from all over
From Raw Story, Sept. 19:
From Berkeleyside, Oct. 2:
From The Telegraph, Oct. 2:
Portland activist killed by SUV
From Portland Mercury, Oct. 12:
Trump defends automotive terror
From The Independent, Oct. 10:
'Fleetwide' hack attack feared
From the LA Daily News, July 31:
Air quality drops under Trump
From The Independent, Oct. 25:
Yes, he has.
Eduardo Calleabril: say his name
From WPIX, Oct. 22:
Victim-blaming in Lindenhurst
From Newsday, Oct. 20:
Plan to 'revolutionize' NYC streets?
From Gothamist, Oct. 30:
Outrage over bust of Oregon cyclist
From Oregon Live, Oct. 24:
No charges for car terrorist
From JTA, Oct. 24:
Norman Hood Jr: say his name
From KCRA, Sacramento, Nov. 7:
27th bicyclist of 2017 killed in NYC —in hit-and-run
From ABC 7:
Amish family hospitalized after truck strikes buggy
From The Detroit News, Aug. 26:
We have also noted such incidents before.
Border Patrol agent gets probation for running over migrant
From Phoenix New Times, Nov. 20:
Good news, bad news on NYC road carnage
Timothy Cardinal Dolan joins with other faith leaders from New York to issue a statement entitled "We can no longer accept traffic deaths," online at the Brooklyn Eagle.
Meanwhile, from the Daily News, Nov. 16:
Demand justice for Martina Standley
From the Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 19:
NY cops persecute victims
Gothamist runs a maddening story (with gut-wrenching video) of a delivery cyclist who was sent flying and injured after getting "doored" by a car he had to swerve around because it was in the bike lane—and then the cop who showed up while he was still unresponsive on the ground threatened to give him a summons for riding outside of the bike lane! This touches on the legal ambiguity of whether cyclists are required to be in the bike lanes. Gothamist says they are, which we protest as tyranny—and raises the question of what rights cyclists have on streets where there are no bike lanes. It is not clear the cyclist was in fact given a summons—or if the motorist was penalized or even reprimanded.
Unlicensed motorist kills Harlem tot
From Streetsblog, Dec. 9:
29th bicyclist of the year killed NYC —amid semantic confusion
The 29th bicyclist of the year was slain in New York City Dec. 18, run down by a schoolbus full of kids on Fifth Ave. at 96th St. The driver was not arrested (of course). (Gothamist)
Even coverage sympathetic to cyclists continues to use the problemaic word "crash." CityLimits asks: "What's Behind NYC's Mounting Cyclist Death Toll?"
Similar analysis, and unfortunate terminology, is offered by Gothamist:
Even CityLab, in a piece exploring "How Media Coverage of Car Crashes Downplays the Role of Drivers," unconsciously plays into the very propaganda it decries...
OK, all very interesting... but how exactly is the word "crash" any better than "accident"? Sorry. When a pedestrian or bicyclist is killed by a motorist, it isn't a "crash." It's homicide—involuntary manslaughter, at best.
Automotive terror in Des Moines and Portland
A Des Moines woman has been charged with attempted murder after she told police she intentionally ran over a 14-year-old girl because she believed the teen was Mexican. (Detroit News)
Meanwhile in Oregon, a local Portland personality survived being hit by a car. Brian Kidd, better known as his unicycle-riding bagpipe playing alter-ego, the Unipiper, was hit while riding a bicycle through the Buckman neighborhood. (The Oregonian)
Katherine Miller: say her name
From The Village Sun, Dec. 23:
Bicycle delivery workers protest in Italy
In Turin, bicycle riders took to the streets to protest Glovo delivery service in support of a worker identified as Zohaib, a young Pakistani immigrat who is fighting for his life after being struck by a car. Cyclcists occupied the city's Piazza Castello. (La Stampa, Dissapore)
NYC traffic fatality total for 2019
Citing NYC Department of Transportation figures, Eyewitness News reported Dec. 31 a total of 218 traffic fatalities in 2019, including 121 pedestrians and 28 bicyclists—although earlier reports had put the number of cyclists killed at 29. In any case, that’s a 200% increase in cyclist fatalities over 2018. Cyclists were themselves responsible for two of the 218 deaths.
NYC parents stand up to automotive terror
From NBC New York, Jan. 11:
90-year-old man killed by city car on Canal St.
From the Village Sun:
Win Lu Hon: say his name.
Police have released the name of the elderly man who was fatally struck by a Department of Sanitation vehicle while crossing Canal St. early on the morning of Jan. 25. A department spokesperson identified the victim as Win Lu Hon, 90, who lived at 236 Mulberry St., just seven blocks from where he was hit. (Village Sun)
Bob Nill: say his name
From WDAF in Kansas City, Feb. 19:
10-year-old girl killed by a school bus in Brooklyn
A 10-year-old girl killed by a school bus in Brooklyn brings to over 20 the number of pedestrians slain by motorists on New York City streets this year. (NYT, Feb. 25)
Patience Albert: say her name
From the NY Post, Feb. 25:
Speeding up in NYC amid COVID-19 crisis
New York's normally congested streets are empty because of the coronavirus pandemic—and some drivers are taking this as an invitation to speed. Data from the Department of Finance shows that tickets issued by speed cameras jumped in the month of March, even as traffic dropped dramatically. According to Streetsblog, which first reported on the data, there were 180,718 tickets issued on the weekdays from March 5 to March 24, representing a jump of more than 12 percent over the same period in January. (Curbed)
Cyclist killed by bus driver in Flatbush 'danger zone'
A cyclist, apparently making a delivery, was killed by an on-duty MTA bus driver on April 28 afternoon at a dangerous intersection in Flatbush.
According to police, both Tadeusz Czajkowski, 67, and the bus driver were traveling northbound on Rogers Ave. when Czajkowski "attempted to make a left turn on to Clarendon Road," where he was hit by the bus. The 47-year-old driver, whose name was not released, remained at the scene and was not charged. A video of the incident suggests the bus was traveling at a high rate of speed, relative to the e-bike-riding cyclist. It also brings into question the police narrative that the cyclist was preparing to "make a left turn."
Czajkowski is the second cyclist killed this year—and the first since January. Fatalities and crashes are down significantly this year because there are so many fewer cars on the road during the COVID-19 lockdown, which began in mid-March. Statistics show that the total number of miles being driven in automobiles is down nearly 90%. Pedestrian deaths have also plummeted as a result of the reduction in driving. (Streetsblog)
Janette Sadik-Khan on global bicycle agenda
Former NYC transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and co-author Seth Solomonow happily have a piece in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs, foremost forum of the policy elite, "Mean Streets: The Global Traffic Death Crisis." It is a sign of hope to see such ideas expressed there—including a brief discussion of the terminology dilemma. These ideas are all the more timely in light of COVID-19...
Thank you, Janette.
Senior cyclist killed in Manhattan still nameless
From The Village Sun, May 24:
Susan Feterman: say her name
The senior citizen killed on East 14th St. on May 5 is now identified as Susan Feterman. Her friends and neighbors remember her as an avid bicyclist. (The Village Sun)
NYPD use cars as weapons
Police are using their squad cars as weapons in their repression of protesters decrying police violence, Streetsblog reports. Videos filmed on May 30 by witnesses show multiple incidents of NYPD officers using their vehicles to intimidate, endanger and willfully attempt to injure. Most of the videos were taken along Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn.
Another cyclist killed in NYC —third this month
An MTA bus driver struck and killed a cyclist in midtown Manhattan on June 16. According to police, the unidentified cyclist was heading south on Fifth Avenue when the bus caught up to her and struck her near the corner of 59th Street. She died at the scene from head trauma. Although her name has not been released, she was reported to be 19 years old.
The death marks the seventh person to be killed on a bicycle in the city this year, a slight dip from the 12 deaths recorded by this point in 2019. Still, advocates worry this year is shaping up to be just as tragic as last year for cyclists, when 29 people died by the end of the year on bikes, the highest number since at least 1999. Two other cyclists were killed earlier this month, both in the Bronx. (Daily News, Streetsblog)
Vehicle attacks rise as extremists target protesters
From NPR, June 21:
NYPD commish defends automotive terror
NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea, testifying in an online public hearing on the police response to the recent protests, responded to a question from New York Attorney General Letitia James, saying officers who drove their cars into demonstrators did not violate use-of-force policy. (The Hill)
Road fatalities down but ratio of deadly 'crashes' up
Overall road fatalities are down following the COVID-19 lockdowns, but the ratio of deadly "crashes" is dramatically up, as motorists apparently take empty streets as a license to speed. In New York City, the ratio of fatal crashes to all collisions rose 167% in April from a year ago. The increase was 292% in Chicago and 65% in Boston. Across the ocean, in Madrid, Spain, the rate of fatal collisions was 470% higher. (Reuters)
Protesters as 'speed bumps'
From the Des Moines Register, June 30:
Detroit police car ploughs into protesters
From the Detroit Metro Times, June 29:
Seattle motorist ploughs into protesters
Two people have been hospitalized, one with life-threatening injuries, after a vehicle barreled past a police barrier and into protesters on a freeway in Seattle. Washington State Patrol said that the driver of the white Jaguar sedan, a 27-year-old man, is in custody. At this point, officers have not offered a motive, although the suspect was reportedly not impaired. (NPR)
Seattle protester struck by a car dies of wounds
A 24-year-old activist who was struck by a vehicle during a protest in Seattle early July 4 morning has died, a spokesperson for UW Medicine told CNN. Summer Taylor, the protester, was fatally injured when a man drove onto the closed Interstate 5 and into a crowd of protesters.
Another protester, 32-year-old Diaz Love, was also struck by the car and is in serious condition in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center.
Motorist ploughs into protesters in Times Square
BoingBoing is citing reports on social media that an SUV just plowed through protesters on 42nd street in Manhattan. Injuries still being assessed.
No charge for Times Square motor-assailant
The Daily News rather too neutrally writes that "A motorist nabbed by cops for driving off after getting into a confrontation with Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square has been released without charges."
Carless future in NY Times
Farhad Manjoo writes in a NY Times op-ed, "I've Seen a Future Without Cars, and It's Amazing."
Driver smashes through outdoor dining area in Queens
From the Queens Daily Eagle, July 7:
Over 60 motorist attacks on BLM protesters
From Mic.com, July 9:
NYPD out of traffic enforcement
From Streetsblog, June 19:
We aren't so sure about that "automated enforcement technology"...
Carnage at Floyd Bennett Field
An 11-year-old boy and two teenagers died in a car crash at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn the night of July 11, while another 17-year-old male remains in critical condition. Police believe drag-racing was involved. (Gothamist)
More automotive terror —this time in Rhode Island
A Rhode Island driver is being accused of hitting a 63-year-old man with his car after the man had confronted him about not wearing a face mask into a local convenience store. (Raw Story)
Deadly hit-and-run on Chelsea street
Detectives are looking for the van driver who struck and killed a 29-year-old woman on a Chelsea street. The incident happened at on Aug. 2 at the corner of West 23rd St. and 7th Ave. Officers from the 13th Precinct and EMS units responded to a 911 call about the collision. Upon arrival, cops found the victim unconscious and unresponsive with head and body trauma. (AMNY)
Note: "Collision" is our source's word. We submit that the better word is "assault."
Motorist ploughs into protesters in Times Square —again
The driver of a black Ford Taurus rammed into a crowd of protesters marching against police brutality in Times Square on Sept. 3, leading to multiple injuries. Police were hunting for the car. (Gothamist, Daily News)
Trafic fatalities surge in NYC
From the New York Times, Sept. 1:
9 Major N.Y.C. Roads Get Lower Speed Limits as Traffic Deaths Surge
More drivers, passengers and motorcyclists have been killed so far this year than all of last year. Reckless driving is a major factor, officials say.
When the pandemic emptied New York of its usual traffic, the city’s streets transformed into an open speedway where drivers drag raced down major roads, racked up thousands of tickets and in some cases left fatal wreckage in their wake.
At the time, city officials saw the rash of reckless driving as an aberration that would vanish when the city’s usual traffic reappeared.
But as restrictions lifted this summer and traffic crept back toward pre-pandemic levels, the spate of speeding — and fatal collisions — did not end.
Now, alarmed by the sustained rise in fatalities and bracing for the possibility of a second lockdown that could worsen the current speeding crisis, city officials are reducing speed limits by five miles per hour on nine of the most dangerous streets across the five boroughs.
No charges in Times Square automotive terror: report
A pro-Trump counterprotester who was in the car that drove through a crowd of Black Lives Matter marchers in Times Square says she and everyone else in the car spoke to detectives and were let go without charges. (Gothamist.com, CBS)
Automotive terror in Denver
At least one woman was injured Sept. 23 when a man drove into a crowd of demonstrators who had taken to the streets of Denver to protest a grand jury decision not to charge any police officers with the killing of Breonna Taylor. (Daily News)
License to kill in NYC ...again
A man died in Manhattan last week after he was hit by a car while crossing the street in Midtown, police have revealed. Upon arrival at the scene, officers found 69-year-old Richard G. Brode lying in the roadway with trauma to his head. The motorist remained on the scene, but no arrest was made. (AMNY)
Automotive terror in NYC... again
An SUV driver sped into a crowd of cyclist protesters demonstrating against police brutality in Manhattan on the evening of Oct. 3, sending two to the hospital. (Gothamist)
Cars have hit demonstrators 104 times this year
There have been at least 104 incidents of people driving vehicles into protests from May 27 through Sept. 5, including 96 by civilians and eight by police, according to Ari Weil, a researcher at the University of Chicago's Project on Security and Threats. There have been at least two fatalities, in Seattle and in Bakersfield. (USA Today, July 9)
Note: This story just came to our attention, but the figure must be considerably higher today, as several more such incidents are cited above...
Sofia Gomez: say her name
New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced that her office is investigating the death of a 20-year-old woman who was struck by a police car in the Bronx. James said her Special Investigations & Prosecutions Unit is looking into the crash that killed Sofia Gomez last week. Gomez died three days after an NYPD vehicle struck her Oct. 5 in an intersection near her home.
Police said the marked patrol car had its flashing lights and siren on as it responded to another officer's call for backup at a traffic stop on the Throgs Neck Bridge. The backup call was said to be nased on a "false report" of shots fired. (AP, WABC)
More evidence: car culture is fascist
So a MAGA "cavalry" of pick-up trucks and SUVs charged a Biden-Harris tour bus on the interstate outside Austin, trying to force it off the road, and prompting Biden to cancel his rally in the city. "I LOVE TEXAS!" Trump tweeted in response to the news. (See coverage at Daily Beast, Forbes)
Trump digs in on support for automotive terrorism
In response to the news that the FBI is investigating the Texas highway incident, Trump tweeted: "In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!" (Texas Tribune)
Further evidence: car culture is fascist
A homeless activist claims Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Robert McKinzie got behind the wheel of a pick-up truck and ran over a homeless man’s tent to force him to leave an encampment earlier this year. The alleged incident occurred in April, according to a Sept. 22 complaint that homeless advocate Jeff Weinberger sent to the Broward County Office of the Inspector General. (Sun-Sentinel)
More automotive terror in Queens
Automotive terror in Germany
At least five people were killed, including a 9-month-old baby, and several others injured when a man plowed his car into a group of people in a pedestrian zone in the southwest German city of Trier. Police arrested the driver of the car, a 51-year-old German national. He will be prosecuted for murder and manslaughte, police said. (CNN)
Motorist ploughs into protesters in Manhattan —again
A driver who ploughed into a crowd of 50 protesters in New York City on Dec. 11 has been charged with reckless endangerment. Six people at the Black Lives Matter protest in Manhattan's Murray Hill were hit by the vehicle. A number were taken to hospital though none of the injuries were life-threatening, police said. (BBC News)
Hit-and-run driver strikes stroller; baby dies on Christmas
A hit-and-run driver struck a woman pushing her one-year-old grandchild in a stroller, putting the grandmother in critical condition and causing the baby to die Christmas morning. The child, Amara White, was being pushed on Londondale Parkway in Newark, Ohio, just before 3 PM when both were struck by a vehicle. The driver did not provide aid and immediately took off. (AP)
Automotive terrorist walks in Iowa
From AP, Jan. 8:
Police automotive terror in Tacoma
From NPR, Jan. 25:
Police autmotive terror in Philadelphia
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 8:
Arrest in Lower East Side motorist assault on bicyclist
A testament to the American way of life
More police automotive terror in NYC
From the NY Daily News, Dec. 17:
Another testament to the American way of life
Authorities are investigating whether human smuggling was involved after a crash March 2 involving an SUV packed with 25 people and a tractor-trailer that left 13 people dead and bodies strewn across a Highway 115 near the US-Mexico border. (AP)
Oklahoma bill: immunity for drivers who run over protesters
Republican legislators in the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a bill cracking down on "riots," and granting immunity to drivers who hit protesters demonstrating on public roadways. (Jurist)
Propaganda of 'bicycle accidents'
From Slate, March 17:
Black youth cuffed for unlicensed bike riding... uh, seriously?
From NJ.com, April 20:
Oklahoma law protects drivers who run over protesters
If motorists in Oklahoma "unintentionally" injure or kill protesters with a vehicle, they might be exempt from civil or criminal liability, according to a bill Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law on April 11. People in the state have been protesting the legislation, which is one of many GOP-backed anti-protest measures proposed in 2021. (Now This)
Xing Long Lin: Say his name.
From the New York Times, April 29:
NYS bill to crack down on reckless motorists
Glad de Blasio is pushing this, but why did it take the death of a cop to make this an issue in Albany? Only "blue lives" (sic) matter? The rest of us pedestrians and bicycles are chopped liver? From Advance Media:
Aiden Leos: say his name
From USA Today, May 22:
More automotive terror in NYC
Gee, what a relief. We'll say it again: What is at issue in such cases is not drugs but cars!
Automotive terror in Brooklyn
At least 16 people were injured when an MTA bus lost control and jumped a curb, crashing into a brownstone building in Brooklyn. The crash was reported at an apartment building on 174 Lincoln Road, the Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood. (WABC)
Islamophobic automotive terror in Ontario
The driver of a pickup truck in London, Ont., who ran down five pedestrians, killing four of them, chose his victims because they were Muslim, the police said. Mayor Ed Holder of London called it "an act of mass murder perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners and rooted in unspeakable hatred." (NYT)
Deona Knajdek: say her name
A woman identified as Deona Knajdekw as killed and three people injured in Minneapolis June 13 after a man drove a car into a Black Lives Matter protest. A suspect was arrested and taken into custody, the Minneapolis police confirmed on Twitter. The gathering has ben called to protest the death of Winston Smith, who was shot and killed by the police in Minneapolis 10 days earlier. (NYT, WCCO)
More automotive terror on Lower East Side
From the Daily News, June 15:
Antoinette Turrigiano: say her name
From The Village Sun, July 14:
Self-driving cars being tested on NYC streets
From CBS New York, July 23:
Deadly Sept. 11 in NYC
From the Daily News, Sept. 11:
From the NY Post, Sept. 11:
From the NY Post, Sept. 11:
From the NY Post, Sept. 11:
Texas teen trucker runs over multiple cyclists
A 16-year-old truck driver ran over six cyclists on a road near Houston, Tex., sending four of them to the hospital. The cyclists riding along a highway in Houston when a black diesel pickup truck intentionally slowed down and then accelerated in front of them to blow exhaust on the cyclists, one of the riders told local media. (Insider)
No arrest yet for Texas truck assailant
A 16-year-old truck driver ran over six cyclists out on a training ride Sept. 25, in Waller County, Texas. The driver was attempting to "roll coal" on the the cyclists when he hit them, according to witnesses. The driver has not yet been arrested, sparking outrage in the cycling community. The county District Attorney's office has stated, though, that it views what happened as an assault at minimum. (Yahoo)
Mablen Jones: say her name
From The Village Sun, Nov. 11:
Of course not. A driver's license is a license to kill.
Automotive terror in Wisconsin
From WDJT in Milwaukee:
Five dead in Wisconsin terror
So at least five are dead in the Waukesha attack, and several children are among the injured. Yet authorities are saying the incident does not appear "at this time" to be an act of terrorism. (BBC News)
We are curious what criteria are being used to make this judgment.
No 'terrorism' charge in Wisconsin attack
Officials in Wisconsin will charge a motorist who ploughed into a Christmas parade in the town of Waukesha with five counts of intentional homicide. Police say Darrell Edward Brooks Jr, 39, killed five people, aged between 52 and 81, and injured 48 others, including young children. Brooks was fleeing a domestic disturbance when he mowed into the crowd, they said. Waukesha police also said the incident was not an "act of terrorism." (BBC News)
Darrell Edward Brooks, eh? We ask yet again: why always three names for these assholes?
Brooks had been arrested repeatedly since he was a teenager, accused of battery and domestic abuse and resisting the police. Earlier this month, he intentionally ran over a woman he knew with a Ford Escape, prosecutors in Milwaukee say. But he was quickly released on what prosecutors now admit was an inappropriately low bail. (NYT)
And we ask again: What criteria are being used here to exclude "terrorism"?
Child dies in Waukesha automotive terror attack
An 8-year-old boy has become the sixth victim to die after a vehicle plowed through the Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. In a GoFundMe, family members identified boy as Jackson Sparks.
The child was one of 16 children admitted to the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, facility officials said in a news release. (CNN, CBS Chicago)
NYC's Vision Zero program assessed
Gothamist offers an assessment of of Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero program in the final days of his administration. One way to measure de Blasio’s success with Vision Zero is examining whether there was a steady decline in the number of people killed by vehicles. So far this year, the DOT reports 255 people have been killed by drivers, the highest number of deaths since 2013, the year before de Blasio took office, when 279 people died.
During the first year of Vision Zero, 2014, the city passed the Right of Way law that allows police to ticket drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians. The tickets, which were a maximum of $250 and 30 days in jail if someone was killed, were often dismissed, according to records from the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, or OATH, the agency that adjudicates the tickets.
It’s harder to judge the success of Vision Zero when looking at the number of cyclists killed year over year. There were dips followed by increases over the last eight years, with a low of 10 people killed in 2018 and a high of 27 in 2019. The year before de Blasio took office in 2013, there were 13 cyclists killed; this year 18 have died so far.
European cities that have instated Vision Zero progams have fared better. Helsinki recorded no traffic deaths in 2019, while Oslo, Norway went from 41 deaths in 1975 to 0 by 2019.
Another necessary sacrifice for the American way of life
From AP, Dec. 27:
Owner blows up his Tesla
From the Daily Mail, Dec. 23:
15-year-old girl killed in Brooklyn hit-and-run
Why do we accept this as normal?
From PIX11, Feb. 6:
Why do we accept this as normal?
From MSN, Feb. 10:
And no, they were not "crashes." They were vehicular assault. Drivers should be charged with involuntary manslaughter (at the very least).
Man critically injured in Instagram car stunt
From The Village Sun:
Instagram 'stunt' perp surrenders
The driver who seriously injured a man in Manhattan's Hudson Square while doing tire-burning donuts last week has been arrested. Tyler Greer, 22, of Piscataway, New Jersey, was charged with assault, leaving the scene of an accident / serious injury, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. (The Village Sun)
More context on social construct of 'jay-walking'
We have been noting the development of the social construct of "jay-walking," and its links to oppression, ecological degradation, and damage to human communities. This is summed up brilliantly in a comment on Facebook by our friend David Dartley:
NYPD van kills pedestrian
From Gothamist, April 8:
Road carnage soars despite oil price hike
It is extremely disconcerting that traffic fatalities are soaring despite the current jump in fuel prices—a break with the usual reverse correlation. From the NY Post, April 23:
And an op-ed in the NY Times April 21, "Riding a Bike in America Should Not Be This Dangerous" by Farhad Manjoo:
We despair that the efforts of either Eric Adams or Farhad Manjoo will be sufficient, while we appreciate them raising the alarm. Our culture is so deeply conditioned to accept this carnage as a part of "normalcy" (sic).
Eric Salitsky: say his name
From New York's Jewish Week, May 6:
Raife Milligan: say his name
From The Village Sun, May 6:
Karina Larino: say her name
Gothamist reports May 7: "Two pedestrians were struck in separate incidents in Astoria on Friday, during a deadly week where five people died in traffic collisions." One, Karina Larino, was hit by a turning SUV while crossing at an intersection. We are told that the driver "remained at the scene," but not that any arrest was made or charges filed. The other slain pedestrian, unnamed, was the victim of a hit-and-run.
Chicago: outrage over automotive terror
Amid a spate of motorist killings of bicyclists in Chicago over the past weeks, groups such as Bike Lane Uprising are protesting that the city's plans to expand bicycle infrastructure are insufficient in a system built to prioritize cars. (NPR)
More automotive terror in Manhattan
From NBC News. June 20:
More automotive terror in Brooklyn
From NBC New York, June 25:
The Daily News reports that Mayor Eric Adams, who lives nearby and actually visited the scene, is blaming bail reform, apparently on the assumption the driver of the stolen car might otherwise have been behind bars. We blame cars.
More automotive terror in NYC
From the Daily News, June 30:
Christian Catalan: say his name
From WABC, July 7:
Tiburcio Castillo: say his name
Delivery worker Tiburcio Castillo died in a Bronx hospital two wees after he was brutally beaten by an unknown assailant who stole his bicycle. There is a GoFundMe page seeking donations to return his body to Mexico and support his family.
Carling Mott: say her name
Automotive terror in Tompkins Square Park
From the East Village local EVGrieve website:
Further details at The Village Sun.
US traffic deaths hit 20-year high
From WaPo, Aug. 17:
Calls for NJ politician to resign over hit-and-run
From NBC New York, July 27:
Be Tran: say his name
From NBC, Aug. 19:
Automotive terror in Queens
From NBC New York:
Propaganda wars in NYC car-nage redux
The Village Sun runs a tribute to Gavin Lee, 44, who died after being mowed down by a hit-and-run bicyclist while crossing Eighth Ave. at W. 22nd St. on Aug. 11. Howls of outrage from the anti-bicycle hypocrites are already seen in the comments section. I have responded to the first:
US traffic fatalities at 20-year high
Traffic fatalities in the United States are the highest they've been in 20 years, with 46,000 recorded last year by the National Safety Counicl—a 10% jump . This constitutes the worst increase on record. The spike in road fatalities since the pandemic marks a reversal of a downward trend since the 1970s, due to advances in vehicle safety standards, road design and seatbelt compliance. And there has been a shift over the past years, with urban traffic fatalities now exceeding those on rural roads. "Our roadways were turned into race-tracks, and excessive speeds really went through the roof" with the pandemic, said Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety. (KCUR, Clarksville Online)
More automotive terror in the Bronx
At least 10 people were injured after a police car collided with another vehicle before mounting the sidewalk in the Bronx on Oct. 5, police and fire officials said. Ten people, including two NYPD officers, were taken to nearby hospitals. (NY1)
Kala Santiago: say her name
From CBS New York:
Same shit, different city
Nearly 200 transit activists formed a human bike lane along one of Portland's busiest intersections Oct. 12 to demand safety upgrades to a street where a truck hit and killed cyclist Sarah Pliner the week before. The protesters called for immediate changes to managment of traffic on Powell Blvd., a major arterial that runs through Southeast Portland. The road has become one of the city's most dangerous, particularly for cyclists and pedestrians. (Oregon Live)
Marcelino Vitinio: say his name
A vigil was held for Marcelino Vitinio, another slain Mexican immigrant delivery worker—this one in the East Village in a hold-up of his bicycle. (ConexionMigrante, Daily News)
NYPD protect (and perpetrate) automotive terror
From Jalopnik, Nov. 15:
Also note this story Jalopnik links back to, from Oct. 7:
NYC gets memorial to road violence victims
On Nov. 20, members of Families for Safe Streets and other road safety advocates will join with Adams administration officials to formally open the Memorial Grove for Victims of Traffic Violence—what might be the first monument to the victims of road violence in the United States, where more than 40,000 people die every year in crashes. The grove is located in Lincoln Terrace/Arthur S. Somers Park where Crown Heights meets Brownsville in Brooklyn. (StreetsBlog)
Man Chang: say her name
From Washington Square News, Dec. 5:
Again, no arrest. #LicenseToKill
NYPD officers face trial in automotive terror
Two NYPD officers accused of driving into a crowd during the 2020 protests following the murder of George Floyd will stand trial before an administrative judge this week. It's one of the last cases still unresolved out of hundreds of complaints filed against officers who responded to the mass demonstrations.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board has charged officers Daniel Alvarez and Andrey Samusev with violating the New York Police Department’s use of force policy when they plowed their patrol cruisers into a throng of protesters blocking Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. A video of the incident went viral. (Gothamist)
WHY WE FIGHT
From NBC News, Dec. 23:
And from Ars Technica, Dec. 22:
More automotive terror in Manhattan
From NBC New York, Jan. 3:
Trial begins in NYC 'car intifada' case
Opening arguments have kicked off in the federal trial of Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek immigrant who in 2017 plowed a rented pickup truck on a New York City bike path, killing eight people. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, marking the first federal death penalty trial under President Joe Biden's administration. Saipov was charged with 28 counts including eight counts of murder, attempted murder, and one count of providing and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State terrorist group. (NBC)
We love it. Because this guy was apparently inspired by ISIS and killed eight people "intentionally," he is charged with "terrorism." But the hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists killed in New York each year due to motorists' depraved indifference to human life is accepted as normal.
Guilty verdict in NYC 'car intifada' case
Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek national who drove a rented truck down a Manhattan bike path along the Hudson River in an ISIS-inspired terror attack that killed eight people, was convicted Jan. 26 by a federal court jury of murder, attempted murder and providing material support to ISIS, making him eligible for the death penalty. Jurors will next decide whether Saipov should face the death penalty next month. (WABC)
Sarah Schick: say her name
From Gothamist, Jan. 13:
Streetsblog reports that cyclists held a "die-in" at the site of the killing on Jan. 20.
Lucas Jimenez Aburto: say his name
Lucas Jimenez Aburto, 53, an employee from Ray’s Pizza in the East Village, was struck by a hit-and-run driver at St. Mark’s Place and Third Avenue on Nov. 27. He died at Bellevue Hospital. (McKeoneLaw, EVGrieve)
Brooklyn: one dead, eight injured by U-Haul in 'violent rampage'
From NY1, Feb. 13:
Automotive terror in Quebec
Two people were killed and nine others injured March 13 when pedestrians were hit by a pick-up truck in the town of Amqui, in northern Quebec. The driver of the vehicle, a 38-year-old local man, was arrested after turning himself in to police. Investigators are trying to determine if the incident was a deliberate attack. It comes just a month after two children were killed when a bus driver drove into a Montreal daycare center. (BBC News)
More automotive terror in Manhattan
Six were injured, including two children, when a stolen car ploughed into pedestrians on the sidewalk in Washington Heights March 15. The driver, an apparently homeless woman, was criminally charged. (WABC)
Mohammed Pasha: say his name
From The Village Sun, March 17:
OK, under the law, Pasha should not have been in the roadway. But of course the greater crime (by far!) was killing him in a hit-and-run.
More automotive terror in New Jersey
From WABC, March 21:
Note: This appears to be Union Township, not Union City (which are confusingly in different counties).