75-YEAR-OLD JOGGER DIES AFTER BEING HIT BY BICYCLIST IN CENTRAL PARK

police tape

Irving Schachter, a 75-year-old man, was hit by a bicyclist in Central Park earlier this month and died.

Schachter was running on the East park loop around 72nd street at about 4:50 p.m. on August 3 when he was hit by a 17-year-old on a bicycle, according to Streetsblog. The bicyclist had swerved into Schachter while attempting to avoid a pedicab driver, according to the New York Post. Schachter died two days later of a head injury. The bicyclist has not been charged.

Schachter was training to run a marathon and he was also an avid bicyclist. Irving’s wife Hindy wrote on the New York Cycle Club message board that the bicyclist who killed him had swerved into the pedestrian lane (the city installed separate pedestrian and bicycle lanes on the loop road last year). She tried to remind people that bicyclists need to be more mindful of pedestrians:

“Many of us see cyclists as potential victims of cars. And we are. The city still needs to do much more to secure our safety on Manhattan’s streets.  To that end we should support the many Transportation Alternative campaigns.

But we are also potential predators. One careless move on a bike and we can take down a runner, a walker, a child skipping along.  As we want car drivers to be alert to our rights, so too we must act to protect the rights of other people.

Almost a week after Irving’s accident I walked through Central Park and saw many cyclists in the runner’s lane. To one I called, “You’re in the runner’s lane.” He replied “yes, I know,” and rode away. Would he like a car driver to give that answer while he veered his car into the bike lane? We need our rights. We also we need to accept our responsibilities.”

The last time a pedestrian was killed by a bicyclist in New York City was in 2009.

To read Hindy’s full message, click here.

File photo of police tape.

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    1. Erica says:

      There needs to be FT traffic laws in the park. It’s treacherous trying to get across even in the pedestrian walks on the weekends bc the bikers don’t adhere to the lights. I’ve had several near misses.

    2. Erica says:

      She sounds like a very gracious lady. I’m very sorry for her loss.

    3. ws says:

      It’s a shame but this is a very rare event. I am in the park with my dog an hour a day since 1987 and never had a problem.

    4. ScooterStan says:

      Re: Mr. Schachter’s widow’s comment above,

      “Almost a week after Irving’s accident I walked through Central Park and saw many cyclists in the runner’s lane. To one I called, “You’re in the runner’s lane.” He replied “yes, I know,” and rode away.”

      So much to all those who argue that the poor widdle cycwists are just being picked upon by we ugly, mean-spirited non-cyclists who resent them because they are somehow ‘special’ and we mere pedestrians are not.

      Ms. Schachter is not only NOT a cyclist-hater, SHE HERSELF IS (obviously) A CYCLIST. And yet she writes,

      “we (cyclists) are also potential predators. One careless move on a bike and we can take down a runner, a walker, a child skipping along. As we want car drivers to be alert to our rights, so too we must act to protect the rights of other people.”

      Once again, Q.E.D.

    5. ScooterStan says:

      Let’s hope this lasts more than two weeks!

      From Crain’s New York Business:

      ” Police ticketing cyclists in safety push.
      Under a two-week program that launched Wednesday, cyclists in the city now face tickets from the police over violations such as running red lights, riding the wrong way against traffic and failing to yield to pedestrians. The initiative, called Operation Safe Cycle, is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to end traffic deaths.

      • jules says:

        And as usual they won’t be ticketing for more than a couple of weeks. Then the police disappear again. Who’s policing the police?? ! Bill De B.. Nice try Sir, but the police live in their own little world. They’re not here to check out the mundane! They signed up for ACTION!!!! Yes siree!

    6. SR says:

      This is a shame and an accident at best. It is unfortunate and as a runner who is in the park almost daily I can attest to cyclists speeding along or being in the wrong lane.

      BUT let us not miss a crucial point in this story. The PEDICAB was the initial cause here. They are often over looked and rarely mentioned as being a nuisance. I also have to include the tourists and simply plain dumb asses who cross without looking.

      In the end, if the cars were banned from the park entirely, the lanes could be widened for cyclists and runners alike with potentially the addition of some low barriers or strips to designate who belongs in the lanes.

      • WKM says:

        I agree, SR. Motor vehicles should be banned from the park. Hard to believe there hasn’t been a bigger push to eliminate them entirely. As a full-time cyclist and part-time runner, the park is congested enough without having to deal with cars. The pedicabs and horses are fine in the park….since they are slow and nearly non-life threatening.

      • uj says:

        Cars are a menace in NY… Get them out of here!!!

    7. Rose says:

      We need better restrictions on cyclists in the park and on the streets. Many do not obey the laws and/or laws not enforced. Some go through lights, are on the sidewalks or incorrect lane,go the wrong way on one way streets, etc. It can be difficult if not impossible to get out of the way.

    8. Cathy says:

      I walk in the park every day and the bicyclists are getting much bolder. I have to give them the right of way even when I have the green light. It is beginning to feel like a game of chicken between the cyclists and the pedestrians. This is a very dangerous situation.

    9. ko says:

      Very sad but not at all surprising when you realize that the population in NY has increased by over a million people in the last decade.
      Also people have become really aggressive and impolite. Not sure why? Too much violence on TV?

    10. from California says:

      Having recently moved here from California, I am surprised by NY cyclists lack of regard for traffic laws and pedestrians, including riding against traffic on one way streets (where pedestrians are not expecting them), disregarding red lights, and riding on sidewalks. scary.

    11. Soxtory says:

      Cyclists are the worst enemy of the pedestrian right now because they disregard the rules. Worse than turning cabs and other vehicles because there the person on foot is their own worst enemy.

      The bicycle is a stealth attack bomber coming at you from outside the rules!

    12. Pogo says:

      The cyclist should be arrested for manslaughter. Treat these crimes as serious acts and the bikers will wise up.

    13. Eddie says:

      The problem is not just in the parks. I have several times almost been hit (or had my child’s stroller get hit) by all of the cyclists ignoring the lights while zooming down Riverside Drive in the 80s.

    14. Pats says:

      I was knocked out by a biker when crossing a one way street last winter. I had a coat and hood on, I crossed on the walk signal and double checked to see if any cars were going to run the light, and seeing it was safe, stepped off the curb. A bicyclist riding against traffic knocked me to the ground and even in my thick coat, cut my elbow. When I came to, he asked me if I was alright and I said yes and he sped off. It didn’t occur to me I could have had a serious injury and I did not call the police. It is tough living in NYC. Sincere condolences to the Schachter Family.

    15. Bette Dewing says:

      Had the victim been a young person,far mor medai coverage would be given. Had the several victims of motor vehicle on the upper west side not been young persons, there woul not be any Vision Zero. Vision Zerois very light on bicycling violations.
      I am very sorry that little will be done to correct the genral lawlessness which caused the wrongul death of Mr.Schacter mostly because he was 75 yers old and nobdoy is gong to get out there and protest.

    16. Steve Lee says:

      1. The sheer number of people trying to use the park roads is a problem, but what to do about it? One small suggestion would be to repurpose the equestrian paths as bike-free walking/running paths.

      2. Get rid of pedicabs in the park–they’re at best a nuisance and at worst make the park less safe because of how they clog the roads, ignore rules, etc.

      2. I think a big part of the problem isn’t the cyclists taking a leisurely circuit of the park; it’s the ‘serious’ road bikers speeding around the park doing training laps (I’m an avid cyclist myself, but I do my hard riding elsewhwere, as should everyone else). How ’bout an enforced speed limit for bikes and rollerbladers?

      3. Large packs of runners also make things difficult–shunt them to those repurposed equestrian trails.

      There will always be accidents in the park but perhaps these suggestions might prevent a few.

      • G Gomez says:

        I find some of the less “serious” bikers more frightening. The “serious” bikers tend to at least stay in the bike lane and move in the correct direction. Even if they do blow through the lights, at least they’re only a problem when I’m trying to cross the street. The bikers who scare me most are the ones who careen randomly in the pedestrian lane, often going in the wrong direction. They’re a menace the whole time I’m running.

        Sounds like Mr. Schachter was a victim of one of the bikers who didn’t respect the pedestrian path. I’d also like to know what the pedicab was doing — some of those drivers are pretty oblivious to everything else on the road. Did he abruptly cut the cyclist off and force him to swerve at the last minute to avoid a crash? Or was the teenage cyclist just too impatient to merge properly with traffic?

        I totally agree stopping at the lights needs to be enforced. But I also think jaywalking randomly across the loop needs to be enforced. I’ve seen pedestrians cross in unbelievably dangerous spots…sometimes when there’s a light and a crosswalk a few yards away. The southeast corner of the park (where there are always cars) and the curves of Harlem Hill are prime spots for that. You can walk at will in the vast majority of the park, on all the lovely pedestrian-only paths. The loop requires everyone to pay attention and follow the rules.

      • Walter says:

        Good ideas, Steve. But they’ll only work if they’re enforced, which means more cops on patrol in the park, and if offenders are given a stiff fine, at the least.

    17. Lisa says:

      Very sad.

      Regarding the mention that the last time a pedestrian was killed by a cyclist was in 2009….surprising to hear that.
      May be more about how data is classified?

      We know of an elderly person who was hit by a bicycle. She broke her hip and never recovered. It could be said that her death was caused by the cyclist.

      In any event, know of several people who’ve been hit and injured by cyclists over past few years. The cyclists were not delivery people.

      • DMH says:

        It’s startling to many people, how rare it is for cyclists to cause a fatality. It is awful when it happens.

        This is my soapbox issue, so apologies for the parade of stats here. This link: http://www.wnyc.org/story/killed-cars-who-dying-traffic-crashes-and-why/ has a WNYC graphic showing the close to 150 people killed in NYC crashes so far in 2014. (It’s a week or so behind, and right now doesn’t include Irving Schachter or a cyclist killed by an ambulance this week in Queens). 71 pedestrians have been struck and killed by cars and trucks, so far this year.

        Seniors are heartbreakingly affected: there are 24 pedestrians age 60 or older who have been killed so far this year by cars and trucks in the city.

        These are all fatalities, but NYPD does publish monthly stats on both crash fatalities and injuries. May is the latest month available. They track 882 pedestrians injured – awful – but don’t break out whether a car or a bike was the cause. However, they track 18,172 traffic crashes for the month, involving 35,731 drivers, 383 cyclists, and 891 pedestrians. There are about 100 crashes a day causing injury or death in NYC. (That number startles me so much, I triple-checked my math!).

        • Lisa says:

          Certainly there are many more vehicle-related deaths. And generally, deaths occur at the time of impact or within days in a hospital setting. And the law enforcement data system is structured to capture this information as it should.

          But cycling is different on many levels.
          One question is – does the data capture significant injuries (caused by cyclist impact)that do not lead to instantaneous fatality, but essentially lead to a later death? And especially with respect to elderly people?

          (Another example is kids on scooters. Heard of an older person who was hit by a young kid on a scooter. The older person fell and broke her hip. She did not die but will never recovery from that hip injury. But unlikely that the data reflects that there was a scooter crash?)

          • DMH says:

            Lisa – it’s a great question. Because of how NYPD reports the data, I don’t know of a good source to track cyclist-on-pedestrian injuries in the city. I wish I did.

            Under a law that the City Council passed in February (Intro 1055, over a Bloomberg veto), NYPD is required to investigate and report on hit-and-run crashes that cause critical injury. Unfortunately though, I think it doesn’t take effect until July 2015.

            I think Brad Hoylman introduced a bill in the NY senate to put more punitive measures on cyclists when they’re involved in crashes, especially when pedestrians are injured.

            In the meantime, this is one disgruntled victim’s experience of a failed non-investigation into a sidewalk hit-and-run (by a car, leaving “light” injuries) at 48th and 11th Ave last summer. http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/08/unacceptable-one-hit-and-run-victims-disturbing-experience-nypd/6660/

    18. Ted says:

      Cyclists in NYC are running amok. By and large they are scofflaws who believe their judgement replaces the rules of the road. For every one cyclist I see obey a stoplight light there are ten who blow through the red lights sometimes going the wrong way on a one way street. Heaven help the sap who says something who will at best be greeted with a glare and at usually a torrent of four letter words.

      The muderer in this homicide should be tried as an adult for manslaughter.

    19. Wendy says:

      This is such sad news. But the truth of the matter is, the police are not policing! Doesn’t matter if it’s cars running red lights (which happens at nearly every intersection I drive , walk or ride past), pedestrians walking in bike lanes, trucks parked in bike lanes, bikers riding the wrong way in bike lanes, or Pedestrians jaywalking, or the chaos in the park. It’s interesting how the city spends hundreds of thousands to finance brownies to ticket parked cars, and yet I pass infraction upon infraction, and see patrol cars parked outside a deli, or coffee shop, and not one car, bike, or pedestrian is being stopped and ticketed. If the police made this a priority and started arresting people, or ticketing them with heavy fines, some order might be restored.

    20. DMH says:

      I’m very sorry for Hindy Schachter’s loss. This is a terrible tragedy.

      Vision Zero is the relentless goal of reducing traffic death and injury on city streets to zero… including this death. RIP Mr Schachter

    21. DMH says:

      Thank you for covering this, West Side Rag. Any chance you know, is there any info available from the Central Park precinct? It’s not very clear what happened, but pedicabs, bikes, skateboarders often head the wrong way down East Drive in the park, down the hill from the boathouse to the 72nd Street transverse. When it’s a pedicab and when a lane is open to cars and taxicabs, it can be really scary.

      I belong to both New York Cycle Club and New York Road Runners. Wish NYRR would play more of a role in – well first off, mentioning that a long-time member was tragically killed in CP while training for the NYC marathon. This is a real issue for runners. Weird to get a chirpy corporate email from them just yesterday.

    22. Was shocked and saddened to learn of Irving’s death. Although we never met, I am a year younger than Irving and was in his New York Road Runners Club age group until Irving turned 75. (I object to references to Irving as “elderly.”) He certainly didn’t run in an elderly way. I have been sidelined this year; previously I would check our age group in the NYRRC races I jogged and hoped, eventually, to come a bit closer to his times.

      Sincerest condolences to his wife and family. May his memory be an inspiration to roadrunners of all ages.

      David R. Zukerman