Weird anti-jay walking propaganda. Source: Wikipedia

Weird anti-jay walking propaganda. Source: Wikipedia

THE COMMUTE: This column focuses primarily on buses and subways, although we also cover issues of interest to motorists. We have discussed air travel several times, as well as transit in other cities. One subject we have not touched upon is the pedestrian. We all are pedestrians at one time or another, unless you use a scooter to get around. We have ignored pedestrians thus far because websites such as Streetsblog vehemently advocate for the rights of pedestrians and cyclists while other than chat groups, there are few if any sites advocating for bus or subway riders.

Pedestrian Safety

During the past several weeks, there has been a surge of pedestrian deaths on the Upper West Side as well as a bicycle fatality in Harlem. In fact, it seems like every day we hear of another vehicle going out of control or a pedestrian death somewhere in the city. So what is going on and what is the city doing in an effort to curb pedestrian deaths? Mayor Bill de Blasio has a plan for Vision Zero, which would reduce pedestrian deaths. The plan includes more cameras, which I have no problem with, as long as safety remains the prime focus and not revenue. When anticipated revenue from cameras becomes part of following year’s budget, then we have a problem.

There have been 17 fatalities thus far this year, as Streetsblog reported in its “The Weekly Carnage” roundup. The article suggests that charges should have been filed in all cases. When you read the attached articles, however, you learn that two of the drivers suffered medical emergencies, which caused the accidents and they were both pronounced dead, so no charges could be filed. In another case, a pedestrian was jaywalking. The taxi driver that struck Cooper Stock appeared to be guilty of reckless driving since the driver did not slow down while making a turn, though all the facts still are not known. A car making an illegal turn was responsible for a death in Maspeth and a tour bus driver claimed he never saw a pedestrian on the Upper West Side.

I have seen too many drivers who, when making a turn, look only for other cars and do not even consider that pedestrians may be crossing as well. There is no information given about the car striking the homeless man in Queens, and the report about the bus killing the cyclist in Harlem leaves many unanswered questions as to who was in the wrong in that incident. All the deaths were not the fault of the motorist and all were not preventable, contrary to what Streetsblog would like you to believe. Some of the witnesses state that better signage and street design, as well as more law enforcement, also could save lives and that the intersections have been problematic in the past.

Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility

It doesn’t matter if you drive, cycle, or walk. Everybody must make safety their highest priority. Drivers must always be aware of the damage a two-ton vehicle can cause and be aware of cyclists when opening and closing car doors. Cyclists must be especially careful when passing parked cars, riding on potholed streets, and passing other vehicles. Any cyclist who believes he doesn’t need a helmet or to wear reflective or light-colored clothing at night is a fool, even if it is not required by law. I can think of numerous instances in which the only way I was able to see a cyclist at night without side or rear reflectors while driving was because of the reflective strips on their sneakers. Pedestrians also do not realize how difficult they are to see when wearing dark colored clothing, especially at dawn and dusk, or if they are walking where a motorist does not expect to see them.

Pedestrians must always be aware when crossing the street. Just because the traffic light says “Walk,” it is not prudent to just start walking without first looking first to see if a car is barreling down on you trying to make the green light he or she already missed. Yet, I see many pedestrians not paying attention to their surroundings when crossing the street. Worse are the ones with headphones blaring in their ears or those who text. Walking across the street requires your full attention, just as driving or cycling does.

An eight-year-old walking with his sister was recently killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Woodside after being struck by a turning truck. Most likely he wasn’t aware that the rear wheels of a tractor trailer take a very different path from the front wheels by as much as seven feet when making a turn. Drivers as well as pedestrians need to be especially careful. I would like to know why an eight-year-old was allowed to cross such a busy street without adult supervision. (My parents didn’t allow me to cross busy streets by myself until I was 12.) Why wasn’t a crossing guard posted there, who could have told the child to move out of the way, before the accident?

Yet, not every accident is avoidable or caused by the driver of a motor vehicle. There are medical emergencies and mechanical failures too. Pedestrians and reckless cyclists also cause accidents. Police Commissioner William Bratton claimed that pedestrians contributed to motor vehicle accidents where pedestrians were involved 73 percent of the time. That was disputed by Streetsblog, which stated that statistic is more like seven or eight percent. We do not know Bratton’s source or if he made an error, but that statistic led police to hand out 10 jaywalking summonses of $250 each on the Upper West Side after three separate fatalities within a single week. First of all, when did the fine rise to a ridiculous $250?

Less than 10 years ago, when jaywalking was last enforced along Queens Boulevard after a rise of pedestrian fatalities there, it was a mere $20. Fines for individuals and small businesses during the Bloomberg years have gone through the roof, while major multi-billion dollar corporations still receive ridiculously low fines, which they can simply write off as the cost of doing business. Whatever happened to fairness and the punishment fitting the crime? Also, why give summonses to pedestrians when sometimes, because of turning vehicles, it is actually safer to jaywalk than to cross at a traffic signal? Something is wrong.

Every Traffic Fatality Needs To Be Fully Investigated

Considering the relatively low number of drivers who are charged, something certainly seems amiss. Many believe if you are sober, have a proper driver’s license, are not speeding or breaking any other law, that you are rarely punished for causing a traffic fatality. That does, indeed, seem to be the case. Sometimes charges are filed at a later date, but if the media does not report it, we are left wondering, believing justice wasn’t served. I didn’t notice proper investigations of all accidents as part of the mayor’s Vision Zero. The police need to better justify the reasons for their decisions.

Right Of Way

Drivers who do not give the right of way to pedestrians at intersections are a big problem in this city. It also does not matter if a traffic signal or a crosswalk exists — pedestrians always have the right of way except at “T” intersections without crosswalks or traffic signals. Many are not sure what giving the right of way even means. The way I see it, if a pedestrian is crossing the street, and you are forcing him to stop so that you can complete a turn, you are violating his right of way. However, if you can complete your turn without forcing the pedestrian to slow down, you are not interfering with him and are doing nothing wrong by turning first.

I know some will disagree, thinking you must stop your car as soon as the pedestrian steps off the curb. However, with the number of pedestrians crossing some streets, if every car did that, you would only be able to make a turn after the light turned red. Or else, you would chance being stuck in the same place indefinitely, since pedestrians will be waiting again to cross at the next green signal.

Common sense must prevail and there must be better education for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists who should be required to wear reflective clothing at night. They certainly should not ride without an operating headlight at night, which I see all too often.

Here are Gridlock Sam’s 10 common sense suggestions to reach Vision Zero, such as better lighting at intersections. These all seem to be very reasonable.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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  • vintagejames

    The $250 fine is absurd, but there are more. Someone must be in charge of figuring out what people do and then coming up with a way to charge a fine for doing it.
    For instance, we always take out our garbage on Sundays and Wednesdays, we have no choice. It is set up that way and there is no other way we can do it. None.
    On Sunday, January 18, our garbage was properly placed. So we got a $300 ticket for doing that. The next day was MLK Day, not something we wanted to disrespect, but we had to get the garbage out.
    Maybe sanitation workers got the day off, but we had to go about our usual chores, holiday or not.

    • Allan Rosen

      These fines seem to be going up astronomically. DeBlasio really has to reverse them. Punishing someone for not knowing that Sanitation workers get MLK day off by fining them $300 is insane.

      Everyone needs to complain to their elected officials or they will go up to $1,000 soon. That is how Bloomberg balanced his budget. And I have heard Sanitation Court is worse than PVB. Sometimes the judge doesn’t show up and you have to record your testimony and wait a very long time to hear back from them like up to three years.

      Sanitation isn’t fined when they do not come by the following day as promised to make pick ups. Will you get fined if you do not bring back your cans and just wait or it to be picked up on the wrong day?

      Also, you can get a fine for putting out your garbage before 5 PM the day before pickup.

      • Kriston Lewis

        I saw piles upon piles of garbage out last night on the curb, perhaps they should do a better effort of publicizing whether or not garbage collection is suspended the same way alternate side parking is announced over the media.

        • vintagejames

          Doesn’t matter. We have other things to do than put out the garbage rather than on our usual schedules. Like go to work, mundane things like that.
          Maybe the garbage collection guys should work on real work days, like the rest of us do.

          • RIPTA42

            Maybe the bankers should, too, but they don’t. I happen to be one of “the rest of us” and get it as a floater I can take any time.

        • RIPTA42

          And alternate side parking is suspended on those days because….?

          It’s not like the holiday schedule is a big secret. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dsny/html/collection/schedule.shtml

          • Allan Rosen

            Still a $300 penalty is ridiculous for forgetting since you are not hurting anyone. If you don’t have a car you won’t be paying attention to alternate side parking. And if you are working, it is easy to forget since it is just another work day for you. That was his point.

          • Kriston Lewis

            ??

            I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Of course collection schedules are on line, who said it was a secret?

            What I’m saying is that it could be Backwards Day, and every media outlet will shout from the heavens at least five minutes in the newscast that ASP is suspended. If they stated that garbage collection is suspended as well, it could alleviate the problems explained upthread.

          • RIPTA42

            They should also say garbage collection is suspended, but the reason ASP is suspended is because Sanitation is off. Just another way that society caters to drivers ;).

  • Kriston Lewis

    There are actually a few transit advocacy groups focused on subway and bus riders, a quick Google search spits out some, although they may not have much publicity or clout.

    But yes, something other than roughing up elderly people should be done. Part of that “something” should try to account for human stupidity and selfishness.

    • Allan Rosen

      Streetsblog is national. We have some local advocacy groups for mass transit. I am not aware of any national effort. What happened with te 84 year old man was due to poor police training.

      You do not attempt to write a summons to someone who doesn’t speak English and you can’t communicate with him. You do not know what is going through his mind.

      • Kriston Lewis

        Oh, I didn’t know if you meant local or national level advocacy.

        Streetsblog seems to be more cyclist/pedestrian oriented, at least from my observation.

  • bruce b

    i’m in favor of large fines for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists who put the public in danger. How else will their behavior change? The pocketbook is the only thing these nitwits understand.
    Want to hear a sad joke? I’ve detailed here how cars barrel along Shore Parkway (going east) past Sheepshead Bay road as much as 3 seconds after the light changes to red. So, what’s the city solution? I noticed the city moved the stop lines on SheepsheadBay Road back a few feet! In other words, the city feels the solution to the reckless cars is to ALLOW THEM TO BE RECKLESS AND CLEAR ROOM FOR THEM. That’s sort of like the solution to crime being that we should all stay off the streets. Just great. What a solution. Let’s clear the way for aggressive morons.
    The idiot pedestrians that begin to cross as the light turns green (and walk slowly, with their head down, maybe on purpose) deserve to pay a sizeable fine. Bikes that go thru the light from between stopped cars DESERVE a large fine. Reckless automobiles yelling at me because they can’t make a right turn in front of me DESERVE a large fine.
    Let’s stop making f**king excuses for dangerous, bordering-on-criminal behavior already. That’s just making the problem worse. Don’t speak English? What the f**k excuse is that? You’re walking/driving/cycling around breaking the law and your excuse is you don’t speak English? Screw that, Allen, give them a large fine and they’ll learn the rules, very quickly.
    How many other excuses are we going to come up with for allowing horrid, dangerous behavior?
    I get mad enough to run for office on this issue alone. That’s it, next election I’m squaring off against Ned Berke for public office.

    • Kriston Lewis

      If you win, can you do something about the crazy cat lady on my block?

      • bruce b

        You mean mom?

        • Kriston Lewis

          No, she’s the crazy dog lady.

    • Allan Rosen

      How is someone who doesn’t realize or forgets that MLK is not a sanitation collection day endangering anyone by putting his trash out? And how does he deserve a $300 fine for that? That is what I was responding to. You also cannot give someone a summons for crossing the street too slowly or with his head down. People have physical limitations. Some have to walk slow. Others may not be able to pick up their heads at all times, not only when crossing the street. You should be glad you are not in their position. Yet you want to give them large summonses. I certainly won’t vote for you.

      Yes, there are times that large fines are justified, but as I stated, the punishment should fit the crime.

      • vintagejames

        What crime? Just taking out the garbage? Many working people don’t have the luxury of these “days off.” They don’t exist for a lot of us. Just a few city workers do, and we are punished for it, big time.

        • Allan Rosen

          I agree. What you did was no crime. It was just a small insignificant mistake that hurt no one. However, the City, at least under Bloomberg and Guiliani, (unless DeBlasio rolls back these fines), is more interested in robbing its citizens than justice because this is plain robbery.

          I recall the 85 year old lady who was fined $100 for not raking leaves in her backyard which was not visible to anyone not walking into her yard. I believe health inspectors entered her backyard. I fail to see any health hazard caused by a pile of leaves.

          I also remember in Marine Park city officials deciding that fences in place for sixty years were in the wrong place and tens of hundred dollar tickets were issued. And what about all the fines for hairline cracks on sidewalks, when the sidewalk around Borough Hall has been crumbling for over ten years and attempts

          • Allan Rosen

            are not made to repair it. Whenever the City is questioned about it, the response is that it is in the capital budget. When someone trips, and sues for millions, it will cost them more.

      • bruce b

        you can’t give a fine for someone crossing against the light with their head down? You’ve got to be kidding me. Wow, there’s an excuse for everything. “The dog ate my homework” probably works these days, I was born in the wrong time.

        • Allan Rosen

          What law is he breaking that you want to give him a fine?

  • Allan Rosen

    A friend just told me that her landlord was fined $400 because a passerby dropped something in the wrong garbage can. This harassment just has to stop. Why are all our elected officials silent on the matter of fines? How high do these nonsense fines go?

    I remember about $10 years ago when the City raised fines for overstaying parking meters from $40 to $60. The City Council got the fines rolled back to $40 and every council member took credit for that. But when a year later, the fines went back to $60, you didn’t hear a peep from a single one of them.

  • http://www.chickenunderwear.com Chicken Underwear

    Drivers in the 78 are learning to give right of way to pedestrians.

    http://parkslopestoop.com/blog/crime/16-summonses-issued-to-drivers-for-
    failure-to-yield-since-thursday

    • Allan Rosen

      The article doesn’t state if the fine is reasonable or something that is insane like hundreds of dollars. I would also like to know how police are determining “failure to give the right of way.”. I hope they are making intelligent decisions and not penalizing drivers who turn first without interfering with the pedestrians movement.

      • Andrew

        A fine of hundreds of dollars for threatening to kill a pedestrian because you don’t want to wait for him to cross the street is insanely low. Over a quarter of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve driver failure to yield.

  • Pingback: Jaywalking Fines in NYC $250 | JEWISH IMAGE MAGAZINE

  • Andrew

    One of your better articles, if I may say so. I agree with much of what you say. However, I take serious issue with some points:

    There have been 17 fatalities thus far this year, as Streetsblog reported in its “The Weekly Carnage” roundup. The article suggests that charges should have been filed in all cases.

    No it doesn’t. The Weekly Carnage explicitly does not focus on fault. It simply tallies up the damage done by motor vehicles over the previous week, to raise awareness of the issue.

    In another case, a pedestrian was jaywalking.

    The law doesn’t grant motorists free license to kill jaywalkers. On the contrary, it requires motorists to exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, even when those pedestrians are themselves in the wrong. It also requires much else of motorists, such as driving within the speed limit. Were those drivers driving within the speed limit and exercising due care? If not, would they have been able to avoid killing a pedestrian by slowing down and exercising due care? I doubt we will ever find out.

    Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility

    Of course it is. But the lion’s share of the legal responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the motorist, because it is only the motorist who is so easily capable of taking lives.

    To put it another way: if I take a dangerous risk as a pedestrian, I am taking a risk primarily with my own life, but if I take a dangerous risk as a motorist, I am taking a risk primarily with somebody else’s life.

    But laws are meaningless without enforcement.

    An eight-year-old walking with his sister was recently killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Woodside after being struck by a turning truck. Most likely he wasn’t aware that the rear wheels of a tractor trailer take a very different path from the front wheels by as much as seven feet when making a turn.

    Or, alternatively, perhaps he was expecting the truck driver to yield to him, as the law requires. (But isn’t it so much easier to assign blame to a dead eight-year-old?)

    I would like to know why an eight-year-old was allowed to cross such a busy street without adult supervision.

    I’m more interested in knowing why Mauricio Osorio-Palaminos was allowed to plow across the crosswalk without yielding to Noshat Nahian and his sister. I suspect this isn’t the first time he’s failed to yield to a pedestrian. I suspect that, up until this instance, he’s threatened many other pedestrians in the same way – effectively “jump back and let me go first or else I will kill you” – and they’ve always complied.

    (My parents didn’t allow me to cross busy streets by myself until I was 12.)

    Good for you.

    Why wasn’t a crossing guard posted there, who could have told the child to move out of the way, before the accident?

    Why don’t the police enforce the law requiring motorists to yield to pedestrians when turning? The two precincts with jurisdiction over this intersection each issued less than one ticket per day for failure to yield in 2013. Until motorists know that there are consequences to threatening pedestrians’ lives in order to save a few seconds (or even minutes), they will continue to do so.

    Yet, not every accident is avoidable or caused by the driver of a motor vehicle.

    NB: The word “accident” presumes innocence. Even the NYPD has shifted to the neutral term “collision.”

    There are medical emergencies and mechanical failures too.

    Medical emergencies and mechanical failures should not result in deaths of innocent bystanders.

    Pedestrians and reckless cyclists also cause accidents.

    I find it difficult to fathom how a pedestrian can cause death or serious injury to somebody else. While cyclists can, they rarely do (the most recent fatality due to a cyclist in NYC was nearly five years ago), simply because they are much lighter and they move slower. Motorists, on the other hand, kill other people typically every day or two and injure other people far more frequently.

    I know some will disagree, thinking you must stop your car as soon as the pedestrian steps off the curb. However, with the number of pedestrians crossing some streets, if every car did that, you would only be able to make a turn after the light turned red. Or else, you would chance being stuck in the same place indefinitely, since pedestrians will be waiting again to cross at the next green signal.

    If you can proceed through the crosswalk without forcing a single pedestrian to stop or slow down or alter course, then you haven’t done anything wrong. But if you make a pedestrian wait or step aside to let you go first, you haven’t yielded. The law doesn’t care how much traffic is behind you, nor should it – the pedestrian did not cause the traffic jam, after all, and you’d be far worse off if all of the pedestrians crossing decided instead to drive.

    • Allan Rosen

      The pedestrian who I cited as jaywalking stepped out from between cars. It is very difficult to stop with little warning. Of course jaywalking does not give the motorist the right to strike you.

      You don’t know for sure if the child was expecting the truck driver to yield to him. He could have arrived at te intersection after the truck started to make hs turn. Anyway, the city is now starting to crackdown on drivers who do not give the right of way.

      Medical emergencies and mechanical failures should not result in deaths of innocent bystanders, but unfortunately, they do.

      A pedestrian can cause a death through an action that causes a motorist to stop short or swerve to avoid him. He may miss the pedestrian by swerving, but strike something else instead.

      I am glad you agree with my last paragraph. Didn’t think you would see it the same way as I do, but I don’t know if te City also sees it that way.

      • Andrew

        The pedestrian who I cited as jaywalking stepped out from between cars. It is very difficult to stop with little warning.

        And a driver who is speeding and isn’t watching for pedestrians will find it especially difficult. As I asked on February 3, “Were those drivers driving within the speed limit and exercising due care? If not, would they have been able to avoid killing a pedestrian by slowing down and exercising due care? I doubt we will ever find out.”

        You don’t know for sure if the child was expecting the truck driver to yield to him. He could have arrived at te intersection after the truck started to make hs turn.

        I’m not sure what you mean. Are you suggesting that Noshat Nahian expected the truck driver, Mauricio Osorio-Palaminos, to plow through the crosswalk without yielding, yet he stepped into the path of the truck anyway? That’s pretty absurd, don’t you think?

        Anyway, the city is now starting to crackdown on drivers who do not give the right of way.

        I certainly hope so. What I’ve seen so far has been pretty disappointing.

        Medical emergencies and mechanical failures should not result in deaths of innocent bystanders, but unfortunately, they do.

        Mechanical failures often happen to vehicles that aren’t properly maintained. In my opinion, the driver should be held responsible for the outcomes of poor maintenance to the vehicle.

        “Medical emergencies” is such a broad category that I don’t know where to begin. Was the driver aware of a medical condition that caused occasional incapacitation or loss of consciousness? Then he shouldn’t have been driving. Was the driver taking a medication that causes drowsiness? Then he shouldn’t have been driving. Was the driver not feeling well before he started to drive? Then, again, he shouldn’t have been driving. If the medical condition came about unexpectedly, did the driver have enough time to pull over and stop the vehicle before losing control, and how fast was he driving in the first place?

        You imply that crashes caused by medical emergencies and mechanical failures are unavoidable accidents. Certainly, they sometimes are – but they are often avoidable, with a bit of foresight. We don’t find it acceptable when people are killed in supposedly unavoidable train crashes and airplane crashes, so why is it acceptable that people are killed in supposedly unavoidable car crashes?

        A pedestrian can cause a death through an action that causes a motorist to stop short or swerve to avoid him. He may miss the pedestrian by swerving, but strike something else instead.

        It’s the motorist’s responsibility to maintain an awareness of his surroundings so that he always knows when and how it is safe to swerve.

        It is also the motorist’s responsibility to maintain sufficient stopping distance in case the vehicle ahead has to make a short stop.

        I am glad you agree with my last paragraph. Didn’t think you would see it the same way as I do, but I don’t know if te City also sees it that way.

        I didn’t agree. Read what I wrote carefully.

        • Allan Rosen

          “And a driver who is speeding and isn’t watching for pedestrians will find it especially difficult.”

          And did I say anything to the contrary”

          We were talking about someone who stepped out between cars and was killed. I stated that it is difficult for a motorist to stop in time under those circumstances, and there was no evidence that the driver was speeding, so quit changing the subject and talking tangentially just to forward your own agenda. Your comment was irrelevant.

          “I’m not sure what you mean. Are you suggesting that Noshat Nahian
          expected the truck driver, Mauricio Osorio-Palaminos, to plow through
          the crosswalk without yielding, yet he stepped into the path of the
          truck anyway?”

          Of course not and quit changing the facts again. How many times do I have to tell you that? There was no evidence that the driver “plowed through the crosswalk without yielding.” The evidence stated that he was just making a normal turn, If you turn up anything to the contrary, please do tell.

          I am saying, although I don’t know for sure, that the kid probably stepped off the curb and didn’t realize as most people wouldn’t, that the trucks rear wheels swing out seven feet while making a turn. The other possibility was that the wheels mounted the curb, as they frequently do which would have been wrong. Yes, perhaps the driver could have been more careful by watching his rear tires in the mirror and was negligent but since I never drove a truck, I can’t say for sure. However, the only reason he was arrested was for a suspended license, not for speeding.

          Do watch that entire video and you will see how the media often uses speeding as a scapegoat, when that is not the cause of an accident.

          “Mechanical failures often happen to vehicles that aren’t properly
          maintained. In my opinion, the driver should be held responsible for the
          outcomes of poor maintenance to the vehicle.”

          That’s the purpose of required annual inspections. Perhaps they need to be done more often for cars over three years of age. However, my experience over 40 years of driving is that often those inspections are a sham and are never performed. The only thing most stations care about are the emissions which they must do because the results have to be forwarded to Albany.

          I usually leave my car and pick it up later. One time the guy did the inspection in front of me. I watched him click yes or no to about 50 questions without even checking the car. I was surprised at the number of items he was required to check which probably would have taken at least a half hour. I think most stations just check for broken lights, tire pressure and perform a cursory visual inspection while the car is on the lift.

          My muffler once fell out a month after my car was inspected. If the mechanic would have looked at it, he would have seen something was wrong. And yes, I bring it in at other times to if I feel safety is involved.

          Maybe the State needs to crackdown on stations performing the inspections. I always point out a suspected problem when I bring my car in for inspection. I am sure many drivers do not.

          As far as medical emergencies, I agree with you that some are preventable, but I think most people have sense enough not to drive if they are not feeling up to it. I said most, not all.

          “It’s the motorist’s responsibility to maintain an awareness of his
          surroundings so that he always knows when and how it is safe to swerve.”

          Come on now. Those types of emergency evasive actions are made by instinct. There is no time to check a mirror or your blind spot. A motorist can only remember how the road was the last time he checked it. perhaps five or ten seconds ago. He cannot know the exact condition of everything around him at every single moment. Admit it or not, but a dumb action by a pedestrian can cause a vehicle to have an accident. The pedestrian isn’t always right as you always imply. You are correct about making a short stop.

          “I didn’t agree. Read what I wrote carefully.”

          I did read it again and don’t see how you disagree. Care to elaborate?

          • Andrew

            And did I say anything to the contrary

            We were talking about someone who stepped out between cars and was killed. I stated that it is difficult for a motorist to stop in time under those circumstances, and there was no evidence that the driver was speeding, so quit changing the subject and talking tangentially just to forward your own agenda. Your comment was irrelevant.

            Drivers should be continually scanning the sidewalks, not just looking straight ahead, to try to anticipate problems before they occur. The faster one is driving, the harder it is to do that. I am not changing the subject in the slightest.

            Should we assume that anybody who is killed while jaywalking is 100% at fault, or do we acknowledge that perhaps the fault is shared with the driver? Should the case be closed immediately once it’s determined that there was a jaywalker involved, or should the investigation also focus on what the driver was doing?

            Of course not and quit changing the facts again. How many times do I have to tell you that? There was no evidence that the driver “plowed through the crosswalk without yielding.” The evidence stated that he was just making a normal turn, If you turn up anything to the contrary, please do tell.

            Normal turns don’t result in pedestrian deaths. Osorio-Palaminos failed to yield to Nahian, and as a result killed him. (Are any of these facts even in dispute? I have no idea what you’re arguing.)

            I am saying, although I don’t know for sure, that the kid probably stepped off the curb and didn’t realize as most people wouldn’t, that the trucks rear wheels swing out seven feet while making a turn. The other possibility was that the wheels mounted the curb, as they frequently do which would have been wrong. Yes, perhaps the driver could have been more careful by watching his rear tires in the mirror and was negligent but since I never drove a truck, I can’t say for sure. However, the only reason he was arrested was for a suspended license, not for speeding.

            It was Osorio-Palaminos’ legal obligation to yield to Nahiat. You are blaming the victim.

            I never claimed that he was speeding. I said that he failed to yield to a pedestrian.

            Do watch that entire video and you will see how the media often uses speeding as a scapegoat, when that is not the cause of an accident.

            The video about speeding on highways? Northern Boulevard is a city street. What does the question of speeding on highways have to do with pedestrian safety on city streets?

            That’s the purpose of required annual inspections. Perhaps they need to be done more often for cars over three years of age. However, my experience over 40 years of driving is that often those inspections are a sham and are never performed. The only thing most stations care about are the emissions which they must do because the results have to be forwarded to Albany.

            Annual inspections, by definition, take place once a year. They’re not going to repair a faulty brake or wobbly wheel right away. If a driver claims that a crash wasn’t his fault because his vehicle had a mechanical failure, the investigation needs to determine whether the vehicle was being properly maintained in the first place. If not, it’s hard to let the driver totally off the hook, don’t you think?

            As far as medical emergencies, I agree with you that some are preventable, but I think most people have sense enough not to drive if they are not feeling up to it. I said most, not all.

            I think that’s incredibly optimistic. I also doubt that people who suffer from occasional, unpredictable seizures refrain from driving. And do you really think that most people who take medications that make them drowsy stop driving?

            “It’s the motorist’s responsibility to maintain an awareness of his surroundings so that he always knows when and how it is safe to swerve.”

            Come on now. Those types of emergency evasive actions are made by instinct. There is no time to check a mirror or your blind spot. A motorist can only remember how the road was the last time he checked it. perhaps five or ten seconds ago. He cannot know the exact condition of everything around him at every single moment. Admit it or not, but a dumb action by a pedestrian can cause a vehicle to have an accident. The pedestrian isn’t always right as you always imply. You are correct about making a short stop.

            That you are (seemingly) seriously suggesting that drivers should take any sort of action without being aware of their surroundings is downright scary. If you swerve without being aware of what is in the space that you are swerving into, then you are a dangerous driver, plain and simple.

            I did read it again and don’t see how you disagree. Care to elaborate?

            Do you agree that “if you make a pedestrian wait or step aside to let you go first, you haven’t yielded” and that “The law doesn’t care how much traffic is behind you, nor should it – the pedestrian did not cause the traffic jam, after all, and you’d be far worse off if all of the pedestrians crossing decided instead to drive”?

  • B~

    I invite you to watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BKdbxX1pDw

    • Andrew

      I watched the first minute and a half, and I saw a lot about highway driving but nothing about driving on city streets with pedestrians, which is the topic of discussion here.

      I invite you to read this.

      • Allan Rosen

        Watch the other 13 and 1/2 minutes. It is well worth your time. I would be interested in hearing your opinion of it. It is the best evidence I have seen why highway speed limits are set too low.

        Yes it is not specifically about city streets and pedestrians, but some of the conclusions are applicable to major roads like Ocean Parkway like everyone is safer if they are all traveling at the same speed and are all speeding than if some obeyed the limit and others speeded slightly which is far too dangerous.

        I found that video much more compelling and convincing than the abstract you posted about speed cameras which doesn’t even make a distinction between local and highway driving and concludes all speeding is bad, which is not the case.

        • Andrew

          How did we get onto the topic of highway speed limits?

          Ocean Parkway is a city street, with pedestrians. I have never heard of a pedestrian who could walk at anywhere close to 30 mph, let alone the higher speeds you advocate, so your stated desire to have everyone travel at the same speed is unattainable. Between 2010 and 2012, five pedestrians were killed along Ocean Parkway – in Brooklyn, only Flatbush Avenue had more fatalities in that time period. In January 2014, five pedestrians and one cyclist were injured in collisions along its length.

          I am not at all surprised that you found an obvious propaganda piece more compelling and convincing than an abstract of an academic article.

          • Allan Rosen

            Ocean Parkway is a major arterial which does the job of a highway, since there are none in the area. You can’t treat it the same as a side street where pedestrians jaywalk all the time.

            Who said anything about pedestrians walking at 30 mph? What are you smoking? What I was saying was that it is safer for everyone on Ocean Parkway to travel at 35 mph although the speed limit is 30, than for everyone doing 35, and one car doing 30. That was the same message in the video about highway driving and applies on Ocean Parkway too.

            Yes, dismiss an obviously scientific piece with tons of data you just don’t like as a propaganda piece. Name one statistic the video cites that you believe is incorrect.

          • Andrew

            I realize that you may not care in the slightest about pedestrians, but Ocean Parkway is, in fact, a city street, and it is used by pedestrians and cyclists as well as by motorists. (Note the curb directly abutting the right lane, without a shoulder or even a guardrail – and the sidewalk or bike path a few feet away. The street in question is not designed for high-speed driving.)

            You have now said twice that everyone should travel at the same speed. Are pedestrians included in “everyone” or are you simply ignoring their existence? Your safety prescription applies nicely to highways that see only motor vehicles, if the primary objective is to prevent motor vehicles from hitting other motor vehicles. It does not apply in the slightest to city streets, if the primary objective is to prevent motor vehicles from hitting (and killing or seriously injuring) pedestrians and cyclists.

            Your video is a propaganda puff piece that discusses highway driving, where the lives of pedestrians are not at stake. In case you hadn’t noticed, the topic here is pedestrian safety.

          • Alan Rosen

            On most streets the sidewalk is right next to the roadway. On Ocean Parkway, that is not the case. There is a large buffer with trees between the sidewalk and the roadway and between the bike path and the roadway. Yes, the roadway is adjacent to the curb. So what? Who walks on the curb?

            Ocean Parkway is an arterial roadway, and not a local street and should not be treated as such. I certainly would not object to installing guard rails o improve safety because I care just as much about pedestriansaas you do.

            Are you really sugesting that cars should travel no faster than pedestrians, at 3 mph? I woud expect such an insane statement from you.

            You cannot refute the data and statistics from the video I posted because it is contrary to everything you say, so you merely ismss

          • Allan Rosen

            so you merely dismiss it as propaganda.

          • Andrew

            High speed roadways don’t have curbs immediately abutting the right lane. Curbs are unsafe at high speeds. Ocean Parkway was not designed for high speeds.

            I never suggested that cars should travel at 3 mph. I suggested that a safety principle that applies on highways, where the overriding concern is limiting collisions between motor vehicles and other motor vehicles, cannot possibly apply on a city street, where the goal is to limit collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians. In insisting that everyone travel at the same speed, you’ve managed to simply ignore the existence of pedestrians – yet you expect anybody to take your advice on how to reduce pedestrian fatalities?!

            (By the way, what happens to your goal of uniform speeds when a car in the right lane of Ocean Parkway slows down to make a turn, perhaps even stopping in order to yield to a crossing pedestrian or cyclist, as the law requires?)

            Your propaganda video has nothing to do with city streets. It is 100% irrelevant to the question of how to reduce pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries. That you keep bringing it up shows either that you don’t have a basic grasp of the issues or that you simply don’t care. (If you insist on speeding, please do so on highways, where you won’t be risking pedestrians’ lives.)