Tot's Death On Sidewalk Not An Accident

Pedestrian Safety Advocates Join With Grim Reaper To Call For City and Drivers To Take Responsibility For The More Than 15 Pedestrians Killed By Cars On The Sidewalk Each Year
8:30 am, Wednesday January 24, 1996 at 97th and Broadway

The death of Constance Dupuy and maiming of Krystyna Maliszewski in front of West Side Health Food were the direct result of Government policy that spends almost nothing on pedestrian safety and a maniacal New York City driving ethic that says, "Drive as fast and as crazy as you want, and if you hit a pedestrian, well that's just an 'accident'."

"If New York City aggressively used traffic calming to protect its pedestrians, little Constance Dupuy would be safe in her parents' arms today. If New York City motorists stopped driving like they are playing a video game, then Constance Dupuy's parents would be looking forward to her second birthday, not her funeral," said Paul Harrison, Transportation Alternatives Campaign Coordinator.

Despite the fact that far more New Yorkers walk than drive, and even though the majority of NYC traffic deaths are pedestrians, the City and State spend far more on protecting motorists from themselves than on protecting pedestrians from motorists. Between 1994 and 1999, the City and State plan to spend $1.2 million dollars for each motorist death on highway safety, but only $80,000 per pedestrian death on pedestrian safety. Yet, only 44% of 1994 traffic fatalities were motorists. Using a larger percentage of traffic safety money for pedestrian safety would have allowed the City to traffic calm this street. For example, concrete posts, or "bollards" would have stopped Larry Reddick and his car before they mounted the sidewalk. Cities like Philadelphia and many European Cities use these extensively to protect pedestrians.

Pedestrians need to be protected. Although Larry Reddick didn't mean to kill the baby and her sitter, one eyewitness testified that "the car was coming fast" as it approached the parking space. Perhaps if Mr. Reddick had been driving with more care, instead of getting caught up in the maniacal mood that afflicts so many New York drivers, he would not have made the error of pressing the gas instead of the brake. In 1992, when Stella Machick made the same mistake and killed 8 people as her car tore through Washington Square park, Transportation Alternatives called on the City to begin using traffic calming, enforcing traffic rules and educate its motorists that driving carelessly leads to pedestrian deaths. Four years later, little has been done and little Constance Dupuy paid the price.