On my walk home from daycare pickup yesterday evening, two members of the Auxiliary Police were handing out these fliers on the corner of 5th Avenue and 5th Street. (I’ll upload an image later.)
Attention Parks [sic] Slope Community
Please be advised that we had a pedestrian accident on
Jan 5th at 5 Ave & 5th St at 3:20 PM.
Please exercise caution at this intersection. Remember to Cross
with signal and not in between cars.
I asked one of the officers what happened and he said that a pedestrian had been struck by a car. He didn’t know much more than that, or even if it involved a student from Middle School 51 across the avenue. My fear is that because it happened at 3:20 PM, it did. If you received one of these fliers or have more information, please let me know.
I refrained from saying anything other than thanks to the officers, since it’s not their call on who to flier or what message to send out, but this flier is pretty indicative of the blame-the-victim approach to traffic safety that many of us have experienced from the NYPD. It’s telling that one of the only times I’ve seen cops on foot this winter was on an occasion when they were telling pedestrians to be more careful around cars.
On the one hand, you can’t exactly blame a driver if a kid appears out of nowhere from between two parked cars. Even if you’re doing nothing wrong, bad things happen.
On the other hand, kids are more or less stupid when it comes to traffic safety, so I’d hope the 78th Precinct would recognize this and do more to keep them safe. An environment where hundreds of pre-teens and teenagers pour onto the sidewalks and into streets where cars speed by is a recipe for disaster. Instead of passing out fliers, the 78th could hand out tickets to all the illegally double-parked drivers. It would take the same amount of effort, actually do something to make the street safer, and generate revenue in the process.
There’s so much more the 78th Precinct could have done. It could have parked one or two cruisers on the street or posted signs telling drivers to slow down and “exercise caution at this intersection.” They could have handed out fliers to drivers stopped red lights. They could ticket car service drivers for making illegal u-turns. In general, they could devote more resources to ticketing reckless drivers and less to the tiny threat posed by bikes. Instead, the 78th Precinct focused solely on pedestrian behavior, using a herding cats strategy of getting hormonal middle high schoolers to be more rational about their safety.
Good luck with that.