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.
After the fact with these two preventable accidents, the police have cracked down on violators in Central Park who apparently routinely exceed the 25 mph speed limit on Central Park’s roadways and regularly fail to obey traffic control devices. At this moment, neither Mr. Marshall nor the cyclist who struck and killed Mr. Schacter have been charged with a crime in the deaths of Ms. Tarlov and Mr. Schacter, despite the fact that both accidents are being investigated by the NYPD’s “Collision Investigation Squad.” There does appear to be a double standard by which someone operating a motor vehicle that struck and killed a pedestrian would be much more likely to be charged with vehicular assault or manslaughter than a cyclist. Yet with the significant improvements in racing bicycle design over the last several years, there is no question that these experienced cyclists can easily reach speeds well in excess of 25 mph, causing a significant hazard to pedestrians if the cyclists veer into pedestrian traffic as occurred in both of these tragedies.
If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle accident, car crash, construction accident, trip and fall or suffer injuries due to a defective product or a medication, contact the the Westchester County Personal Injury Attorneys at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail.