The details of the story are still in flux, including it appears the age of the victim, who is described variously as exactly 58 and “in her late 50s or early 60s.” What is known for certain about the horrific vehicular death that occurred in Manhattan on Friday is that the scene was exceedingly gruesome and that the victim — a bicyclist — was not wearing a helmet, though how much good that would have done remains to be seen.
Eyewitnesses to the accident, which occurred around 12:30 p.m. describe the victim (as yet unidentified) as blond and female. The New York Post reports that the woman was on her bike and had just pedaled away from the curb when she was struck by a sanitation truck edging out into traffic in the same direction. In its version of events (which are picked up largely from the Post story), The New York Times states that the cyclist was “walking her bicycle along the curb” on 23rd Street when the contact was made.
One of the bystanders who witnessed the horrific death was 43-year-old Greg Lamans, a street vendor. He told reporters:
[The truck driver] clipped her, and she just rolled and fell underneath the wheel. Her legs ended up where her arms would be. Her legs were above her head.
Another witness, Agim Qosaj, 18, said, “People started screaming, ‘Stop! Stop!’ to the driver.” He did, but it was too late. The woman was reported dead at the scene.
The Post notes that police questioned the driver but did not cite him.
The one factor hinted at but not covered in any of the reports is the potential danger for those who choose to travel by bicycle in New York. While the avenues and some of the major side streets now have (for better or worse) dedicated bike lanes, many cyclists remain heedless of traffic laws, ride the wrong way on one-way streets, weave in and out of traffic rather than using the lane provided, and ride at night without reflectors.
The death yesterday was a tragedy. What is surprising, in the last analysis, is that there aren’t more such fatalities.
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