"Driving Is an Incredible Responsibility, Especially in New York City"

Statement of Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Ellen McDermott:
Joseph Cutrufo -
(646) 873-6027

"A 3-year-old boy identified as Mordechai Yovits was struck and killed by a 73-year-old driver on Virginia Street in Far Rockaway Monday morning. Since 2013, there have been 20 crashes and 5 injuries on Virginia Street. According to the NYPD, Mordechai broke away from his mother and darted into the street, but this account is yet to be verified. Initial NYPD reports often blame victims for their own deaths, and evidence often proves driver error to be the cause of fatal crashes.

Mordechai is the 64th pedestrian to die on New York City streets this year, and the fourth to be killed in Southern Queens.

While it’s too early to know exactly why Mordechai was killed, we must continue to work to make our streets as safe as they can be, where everyone has a safe right of way and where mistakes don’t have to be tragedies. That’s why we’re counting on the City Council and Mayor de Blasio to pass Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Streets Master Plan bill which would bring fresh thinking to how our space on our streets is allocated. It must be enacted immediately.

Driving is an incredible responsibility anywhere, but especially in a city like New York where flesh and bone humans have little choice but to be in close proximity with multi-ton motorized vehicles. Our streets and our laws ought to better reflect that reality. Until they do, we will continue to bear witness to incredible suffering and heartache wrought by cars and their drivers -- suffering and heartache which is compounded when police blame victims before a thorough investigation is complete. 

The entire Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets community sends its deepest sympathy to Mordechai’s family."