Pedestrians at risk in NYC.
Photo: Marta Ramírez / El Diario
NYPD is on the trail of two drivers who fled after causing fatal collisions less than a couple of hours apart in Queens and Lower Manhattan, while continuing the rise in deaths from road accidents in the city.
The tragedies happened on Thursday night and early yesterday morning. In the first case, the cyclist Borkot Ullah (24) was attempting to cross East Houston Street near Attorney St on the Lower East Side of Manhattan around 11 p.m. Thursday, when he was struck by a black Subaru Outback pickup.
Responding officers found the victim lying in the street with severe bodily trauma next to an electric bicycle. It was not immediately known whether he was pedaling at the time or walking his bicycle while crossing the street, police said.
The truck driver fled and was last seen heading north on FDR Drive. The NYPD did not immediately know who had the green light to cross, the New York Post noted.
Less than two hours later, around 12:45 a.m. on Friday, a 67-year-old lady was walking down the street on Eliot Avenue near 70th Street in Middle Village (Queens), when a sedan hit her and knocked her to the ground. Then she was also hit by an MTA bus behind her, authorities said.
Officers found the woman lying on the road with severe trauma, and EMS paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. It was unclear if the sedan driver realized he had hit the woman, but the bus driver did not, according to authorities. It is also not known who had the right of way at the time.
According to data from the New York “Vision Zero” road safety plan, More than 60 pedestrians have been fatally struck across the city in 2021. Most of those incidents occurred between 9 pm and midnight.
Also since the pandemic, cases of pedestrians hit by cyclists and skateboards have increased, as the Hollywood and theater actress Lisa Banes, who died after being run over on June 4 on the Upper West Side, on a tourist visit to New York. That same night at least three collisions were reported throughout the city, two of them fatal – including a Hispanic teenager – and with the perpetrators fleeing.
Activists and authorities witness a road chaos that is being experienced in the city after the pandemic, with drivers of cars, motorcycles and bicycles violating the rules. With fewer cars on the asphalt, the streets and sidewalks of NYC have become a terrain of speeding and recklessness, according to statistics from a recent report from the Manhattan Institute.
Also since the pandemic there are more riders – delivery men and walkers – in the streets, and not all of them are legal. The rental and purchase of motorcycles and bicycles has been experiencing a boom in the city for some time, and many of its users disrespect the traffic lights and the direction of the roads and, in addition, have taken the sidewalks, further threatening pedestrians.
A recent poll by the activist group Transportation Alternatives found that nearly three-quarters (70%) of registered voters in NYC were in favor of lowering speed limits on residential streets, down to 20 mph. Another study that looked at 1,600 drivers in April and May found that 94% of Staten Island drivers were speeding, 73% in Queens, 52% in the Bronx, 46% in Brooklyn, and 30% in Manhattan.
In May it was announced that speed limits would be lowered on 10 streets in all five boroughs of NYC in an attempt to prevent pedestrian fatalities that had already risen 58% this year, said Mayor Bill De Blasio, whose The “Vision Zero” road safety plan has been widely questioned for years.
No arrests have been made in any of the Thursday and Friday cases. Who has information should call at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) and in Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Also via the crimestoppers.nypdonline.org page or by text message to 274637 (CRIMES), followed by TIP577. All communications are strictly confidential.