RIGHT OF WAY ACTIVISTS STENCILED MEMORIALS FOR 7 ELDER NEW YORKERS WHO WERE KILLED BY AUTOMOBILE IN THE PAST SIX MONTHS
NEW YORK, NY: ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 19TH, STREET JUSTICE ACTIVISTS WITH RIGHT OF WAY TRAVELED 30+ MILES BY BICYCLE ACROSS 3 BOROUGHS TO STENCIL BODY OUTLINES OF DEAD PEDESTRIANS AT 7 SITES WHERE NEW YORKERS OVER 70 YEARS OLD HAVE RECENTLY BEEN KILLED BY DRIVERS. IN 6 OF THESE CASES, THE NYPD HAS NOT FILED ANY CHARGES. IN A SEVENTH, THE DRIVER WAS CHARGED ONLY WITH LEAVING THE SCENE, NOT FOR THE ILLEGAL LEFT TURN THAT LED TO THE PEDESTRIAN’S DEATH.
This action occurred during a particularly bloody weekend in New York. “While we were gathering supplies for this ride, 5 people were killed in traffic”, said Michael Mintz, an organizer with Right of Way. Two pedestrians died in Queens, another pedestrian died on the Upper West Side, a cyclist was killed by a bus in Harlem, and a Manhattan driver died in Midtown. As of Janurary 19th, Right of Way’sVision Zero Clock reads 16.
“As far back as the 1990s, we documented that more than two times as many seniors (age 65 and older) were run over and killed by drivers in New York City as were murdered,” said Charles Komanoff, a founder of Right of Way and chief author of its booklet Killed by Automobile. “The pattern is apparently no different today,” the 66-year-old economist said.
“From Corona to Mott Haven to Manhattan’s East Side, it’s unsafe to be an older person on the streets of New York City,” said Keegan Stephan, an organizer with Right Of Way. “Mayor de Blasio sounded the right note last week when he stood with families who lost children to criminal driving behavior. Now we need him, the NYPD, and the courts to follow through with prevention, enforcement and prosecution,” Stephan said.
“Dangerous road designs are especially lethal to elder pedestrians and children,” added Liz Patek, who works with Right Of Way. “Lower speeds and streets designed for safety are crucial to protecting vulnerable road users,” Patek said.