Incoming Council Member Seriously Injured by Moped Driver
An incoming member of the City Council from the Bronx was badly injured by the rider of a moped on Tuesday, sending her to the hospital for a day with a concussion.
Bronx Democrat Pierina Sanchez, a street safety advocate who won a June 22 primary that is tantamount to election in the overwhelmingly Democratic 14th District, said on Twitter that she was “hit by a moped on Jerome Avenue” sometime on Tuesday, and spent the next day at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Belmont section.
Personal Update: yesterday I was hit by a moped on Jerome Ave. As of now, I’m grateful to report it looks like I have a concussion and nothing else. I want to thank the family, friends, and neighbors who have been reaching out with love and support. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/9RrtJ15SAk
— Pierina Sanchez NYC (@PiSanchezNYC) August 25, 2021
Streetsblog tried to visit Sanchez in the hospital on Wednesday minutes after she posted her tweet, but she had already been discharged. She did not immediately respond to an email message.
Sanchez, who was endorsed by StreetsPAC, had only just appeared in a Streetsblog article about her top priorities for transportation in her district, which covers the neighborhoods of Morris Heights, University Heights, Fordham and Kingsbridge.
Her comments for that story now appear prescient: “We need streets for people!” she said. “By designing our streets for our neighbors — prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists and accessible transit, especially prioritized, faster and more reliable bus service via dedicated bus lanes, busways, transit signal priority, external fare collection, and other interventions that improve the quality of the experience — our streets can be safer and more pleasant. … We need more expanded sidewalks, improved lighting, optimized signals and more traffic calming devices like bump outs and well-placed islands.”
In endorsing Sanchez, StreetsPAC had cited her prior work as New York director of the Regional Plan Association, where she played a “key role in drafting the 2017 Transportation and Equity Agenda.”
The circumstances of the crash or not known, but it came as many cyclists and pedestrians are raising concerns about mopeds, which are required to have license plates and be driven by people with state-issued driver’s licenses. Even if properly plated, such vehicles can not legally be ridden in bike lanes or on bike paths on bridges. Earlier this year, actor Lisa Banes was killed by a hit-and-run driver of a Fly 9 moped — which is really more of a motorcycle, given its top speed of 45 miles per hour. (Cops had initially said that Banes was struck by a “scooter,” but later told Streetsblog that it was a Fly 9.)
The issue of illegal mopeds has been blowing up on social media:
— Amy Bettys (@amybettys) August 18, 2021
> @limebike why do i keep seeing your mopeds on the East River Bridges' #bikenyc lanes? Not only do they drive w/ high beams, they drive dangerously. also, why is there no plate on this bike?!@NYC_DOT how do i file a complaint about this? pic.twitter.com/kYvswsYOJ4
— noel hidalgo • ????? (@noneck) August 20, 2021
As are Revel mopeds which are in bike lanes, bridges, etc. (illegal use), all the time. As someone who rides (bicycle) and drives, it's Mad Max Fury Road out there where, it seems to me, no one, riders and drivers, are obeying the law.
— Edmund Dunn (@flexmund) August 10, 2021
But street safety advocates point out that the problem is not the mode, but the road, especially given that moped and e-bike riders cause very few injuries to pedestrians:
Excessive enforcement against moped (and other fast, heavy, micro-mobility) riders to compensate for our failure to make our streets and bridges safer is wrong. It's also illogical to declare mopeds dangerous when our streets are saturated with SUVs and gigantic trucks. 4/
— Laura Shepard (@LAShepard221) August 17, 2021
A community board on the Upper West Side recently proposed banning e-bikes in bike lanes, but it is not clear if the panel meant mopeds, which are already illegal in those lanes, or electric bikes, such as Citi Bike pedal assist bikes, which are currently legal everywhere that a regular bike is legal (except on the Hudson River Greenway and on some Parks Department properties). Mayor de Blasio said he did not want to ban e-bikes because e-bikes “certainly shouldn’t be out in the flow of traffic” because the danger from cars is far greater.
— with Fiifi Frimpong