Whereas drivers in New York City almost never face charges for striking pedestrians or cyclists, the biking death of Marilyn Dershowitz last year in Manhattan is notable in that the driver was at least put on trial. Today, a jury cleared 64-year-old Ian Clement of a single charge for leaving the scene of a fatal accident: “Clement testified that he did not see Mrs. Dershowitz,” the Times reports, “and that although he felt a bump, it did not feel like anything extraordinary in a truck that regularly rocks and bumps on city streets.”
Clement was told later that there was an accident along his route, but waited two hours before alerting a supervisor that he may have been involved. The driver was happy with the verdict, “[but] my sympathies lie with the Dershowitz family,” Clement told the Times.
In an unfortunate bit of timing, the generally unsympathetic New York Post continued its ongoing campaign against all city cyclists with a breathless, misleading editorial that begins, “Mayor Bloomberg talks endlessly of getting guns off city streets, but what about crazed bicyclists?” The article goes on to refer to a bike as a “two-wheeled cruise missile” and concludes, “Unless officials are serious about cracking down, an evening stroll may soon become more risky than ever — and guns will have nothing to do with it.”
The comparison doesn’t quite work: While the Post provides no figures on bikes doing damage in 2012, shooting victims through August total 1,166. And according to the new Mayor’s Management Report, 176 bicyclists and pedestrians have died in the last year.