Teen Cyclist Kills Elderly Jogger In Central Park

Rebecca Fishbein
on Aug 14, 2014 10:19 am

Source: Gothamist

Courtesy Chris Goldberg's flickr

Courtesy Chris Goldberg’s flickr

A 75-year-old jogger was killed earlier this month after he was struck by a teenaged cyclist in Central Park.

According to authorities, Irving Schachter, 75, was jogging in the park on August 3rd, heading northbound in the pedestrian path on the east park loop near East 72nd Street. At around 4:52 p.m., cops say he was struck by a 17-year-old riding northbound on a bicycle. He suffered head trauma and was transported to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he died two days later.

The cyclist, who was reportedly trying to avoid a pedi-cab right before the collision and may have momentarily swerved into the pedestrian path, has not yet been issued a summons or charged with a crime.

Schachter, who lived on East 64th Street, was an avid runner, and was training for this fall’s NY Marathon when he was struck. Schachter was also a cyclist, and his wife, Hildy, left this statement on the New York Cyclist Club’s message board:

But this short message also should remind folks of the cyclist’s dual nature. Many of us see cyclists as potential victims of cars. And we are. The city still needs to do much more to secure our safety on Manhattan’s streets. To that end we should support the many Transportation Alternative campaigns.But we are also potential predators. One careless move on a bike and we can take down a runner, a walker, a child skipping along. As we want car drivers to be alert to our rights, so too we must act to protect the rights of other people.

Almost a week after Irving’s accident I walked through Central Park and saw many cyclists in the runner’s lane. To one I called, “You’re in the runner’s lane.” He replied “yes, I know,” and rode away. Would he like a car driver to give that answer while he veered his car into the bike lane? We need our rights. We also we need to accept our responsibilities.

Though the number of pedestrians and cyclists who have been fatally struck by cars has climbed significantly over the years, it’s rare for a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian to result in a fatality. Stuart Gruskin, a 50-year-old New Jersey man who was fatally struck by a delivery man biking the wrong way in Midtown in 2009, was the last person killed by a cyclist in the city. Not that pedestrians haven’t been struck by cyclists recently—just last month, a cyclist biking on the sidewalk struck and injured a pedestrian near Washington Square Park.

Meanwhile, in 2012, the Department of Transportation expanded Central Park’s bike and pedestrian lanes in hopes of cutting down on car traffic and making the park safer for joggers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Yesterday, the NYPD announced they’re embarking on a two-week cyclist crackdown targeting “hazardous violations that create a danger for pedestrians and bicyclists.” It is unclear whether this crackdown was spurred by Schachter’s death.