On September 18th, Jill Tarlov, 59, a married mother of two and former employee of WINS News, was crossing West Drive near West 63rd Street when she was struck by a bicyclist, 31 year old Jason Marshall. Apparently, Marshall was travelling in excess of the 25 mph speed limit in Central Park, and swerved to avoid a group of pedestrians when he collided with Ms. Tarlov. Marshall allegedly screamed “Get out of the way!” a couple of times before the tragic collision. It is unclear who had the traffic light, but according to the New York Times, Marshall admitted during questioning that he was in the car lane, not the bike lane, when he struck Ms. Tarlov. She struck her head on the roadway and suffered severe head injuries.
Ms. Tarlov was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and shortly thereafter, declared brain dead. This past Monday, September 22, Ms. Tarlov died of her injuries. The issue here is whether Central Park is safe for pedestrians in light of the large volume of pedestrians, runners, horse drawn carriages, cars, in-line skaters, and leisurely bikers who share the roadway with racing cyclists, who frequently violate the rules of the road with regard to speeding and disregarding traffic control devices. According to the Times, the police have issued 468 moving violations (speeding tickets, unsafe lane change, failing to yield to pedestrians, disregarding a stop sign or red light) to bicyclists so far in 2014. Last year, by this date, there were only 151 summonses handed out by police for these infractions.
The fatal crash this month is only 45 days after another similar tragedy on August 3rd of this year. On that date, 75 year old Irving Schacter, who was training for the 2014 New York City Marathon and was an avid cyclist himself, was struck by a 17 year old cyclist while he was jogging on the east park loop near East 72nd Street. Mr. Schacter was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital with head trauma and died two days later.