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Danger on the streets: Woman critically injured by wrong-way e-bike in E. 30s

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | A 69-year-old woman was critically injured in a hit and run by an e-biker going the wrong direction in a bike lane in Murray Hill on Friday.

According to police, the woman was crossing the avenue at 38th Street and Second Avenue at 7:37 a.m. on Sept. 15 when she was struck by the cyclist, who was heading northbound in the bike lane — the wrong way on the one-way, southbound avenue.

As of Sunday around 4:30 p.m., the victim was still listed in critical condition. A local doorman said the victim was connected with the United Nations in some way — but that could not be confirmed, and police did not supply any further information about the woman.

The sign flashed the message: “HIT AND RUN… ON 9/15/23 AT 7:37 A.M. … ANY INFO CALL… 1 800 577 TIPS. … The camera used — probably its speed was not fast enough — was somehow unable to legibly capture the flashing and changing electronic message. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Police have installed an electric signboard in the bike lane at the location asking for help in tracking down the hit-and-run cyclist. On Sunday afternoon, cyclists were whizzing around the sign — around half of them on higher-speed, electric-powered bikes, the rest on traditional, pedal-powered two-wheelers.

Traffic on the streets is higher than usual in the Murray Hill area with the start of the U.N. General Assembly due to start on Mon., Sept. 18.

Police ask that anyone with information about the Murray Hill hit and run call the N.Y.P.D.’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter at @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential. Tips leading to an arrest and indictment can result in rewards of up to $3,500.

One of the city’s ubiquitous e-bikes parked next to the N.Y.P.D. sign at the site of a hit and run that occurred two days earlier. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Meanwhile, in an earlier incident, police said that on Aug. 17, Fernando Zabala Ochoa, 42, of Queens was arrested for fatally striking an elderly Penn South resident two months earlier on Fri., June 9, with his van just a block from her home.

Police have ID’d the victim as Barbara Josephson, 86, of 321 W. 24th St., a building in the limited-equity Chelsea co-op complex.

Josephson was struck around 1:41 p.m. at Eighth Avenue and W. 25th Street. According to the New York Police Department’s Highway District Collision Investigation Squad, Ochoa was driving a 2012 Ford E250 cargo van northbound on Eighth Avenue in a left-turn lane. As the vehicle approached the intersection and made a left turn onto westbound W. 25th Street, it struck Josephson as she was crossing from the northwest corner to the southwest corner. She was thrown to the ground and suffered head trauma. The driver remained at the scene. Josephson died the next day in the hospital from her injuries.

Ochoa was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian or bicyclist, driving without a license and failure to use due care.

As for who had the light, a police spokesperson said that’s part of the investigation.

Two older Chinatown women were killed earlier this month after also being struck on the streets — one by an apparent e-CitiBike rider who left the scene and another by an Access-A-Ride van. The CitiBike rider can be seen on a news video slowly walking his bike away from the scene — even as a responding police officer is standing nearby.

On Saturday night, an e-bike spontaneously combusted as a man was riding it in the East Village, but he managed to jump to safety and avoid injury.

7 Comments

  1. subway subway September 17, 2023

    Hoping the victim recovers.

    As a lifelong New Yorker and non-driver, IMO the growth of bicycling and bicycling infrastructure has ruined basic daily life in NYC.

    While I feel sorry for the exploited food delivery workers, the current bicycling situation is complete chaos.

    NYC bicyclists — “regular”, CitiBike, racing/spandex, ebikes — flout traffic rules and menace pedestrians.

    IMO, CitiBikers are the most entitled — not only do they menace pedestrians but they also don’t hesitate to curse any pedestrian who objects.

    And while essential MTA bus and subway is hemorrhaging and costs riders more, per the wishes of the the powerful bicycle lobby (which runs the Dept. of Transportation), the City keeps pouring money into expanding the bicycle infrastructure, keeps encouraging bicycling and ignores the bad behavior by bicyclists.

  2. John John September 18, 2023

    Ban e-bikes already. Pedestrians are being killed by these insanely heavy battering rams and residents are dying from building fires these freaking things keep causing. Why do we allow this to persist? Just tell NYC they will have to pedal a bike again. Oh, the horror!

    Also, how about we tell NYPD to get out from behind their desk and car steering wheel and start enforcing some traffic laws? There are dozens of infractions per minute, including hundreds of ghost cars driving without any consequence and an equal number of physically inadequate men compensating for their own shortcomings with modified mufflers that strain everyone’s eardrums. Why do my fellow males suck so much?

  3. John Sullivan John Sullivan September 18, 2023

    I agree with the above comments. Bicyclists, both pedal and e-bike, routinely go the wrong way on the avenues, ignore red lights, ride on the sidewalks, etc. The police don’t seem to be putting any effort into stopping this behavior which is a threat particularly to older pedestrians.

  4. Judy Judy September 19, 2023

    Danger on the streets is not a new story. Cyclists go the fastest route to their destination, often using the sidewalks. Many motorcycles travel in the bike lanes, charging through red lights. With a bike lane directly in front of my apartment, my best guess is at least 50% of the cyclists travel in the wrong direction and could care less. I cross at the corners and look both ways 2-3 times before I venture out into the street. I sold my own bike during COVID: I no longer feel safe riding or walking around the city.

  5. Maria Maria September 19, 2023

    A wrong-way cyclist crashes into a pedestrian, and NYPD’s solution is to block the bike lane with a sign right before the crosswalk?

  6. STEVEN G HILL STEVEN G HILL September 19, 2023

    E-Bike riding whole block on sidewalk last nite on 10th st between 5th & 6th Ave. We and our dog Mango moved out of the way. Rider gave us hostile look as he passed us.

  7. Joyce Snyder Joyce Snyder September 21, 2023

    Bikes should be licensed. The one thing all pedestrians and automobile drivers agree on is that bikers are generally dangerous and lawless. A cop told me de Blasio ordered no cops to arrest any bikers for any offense after George Floyd incident because he didn’t want any George Floyd situations. Pedestrians are just sitting ducks. I am often menaced by bikers while walking.

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