Brooklyn Heights

Accident in Brooklyn Heights brings NYC’s 25-mph speed limit into focus

October 28, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A man was struck by a car in Brooklyn Heights. Photo by Mary Frost
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“That’s why they want to lower the speed limit to 25,” an observer said as FDNY EMTs hoisted a man into an ambulance around 9 p.m. Friday night.

The man had been struck by a car on the boundary between Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn, just days before Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a new law that would lower the default citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour.

The elderly man had been crossing Cadman Plaza West at Clark Street, headed west, when he was mowed down by a Lexus turning left off Clark Street. His leg appeared to be broken, his companions were told by EMTs, though the extent of further injuries could not be confirmed on the street.

The driver of the Lexus insisted that the pedestrian was crossing against the light – something the victim’s companions insisted he would never do. They told police the Lexus had sped around the corner without slowing.

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A woman who had been a passenger in the vehicle stood on the sidewalk with a grim expression as the driver paced, repeating his assertion that the man had crossed against the light.

FDNY transported the victim to Lutheran Hospital. An NYPD spokesperson had no further information, saying the press office only receives updates if the accident is fatal or the victim is in critical condition.

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the new law lowering the speed limit would kick into effect starting November 7.

“It’s a key component of our Vision Zero plan to end traffic-related death and injuries,” he said, adding that there were 291 traffic fatalities in New York City last year.

“That’s almost as many people lost to traffic fatalities as were lost to murder last year in New York City. Approximately 4,000 people were injured last year in traffic incidents. Being struck by a vehicle is the second leading cause of injury-related death for seniors and is the leading cause for children under 14. So it’s unconscionable to let this status quo continue.”

De Blasio said that pedestrians struck by cars traveling 25 miles per hour are half as likely to die as those struck at 30 miles per hour. “So it’s very important that we understand – this change in just 5 miles per hour makes a fundamental difference in people’s lives.”

Thomas Chan, the chief of the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau, said the department wouldn’t be targeting drivers going 26 or 27 m.p.h.

“But again, the officers, the NYPD will be prepared to enforce the new speed limit.”

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