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Posts from the "“Accidents”" Category

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Last Weekend of Summer Marked by Child’s Death

The city's public schools are back in session today, and students, parents and staff at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park should have a safer intersection to contend with at 38th St. and Fourth Ave., near a BQE off-ramp, following a simple signal timing adjustment.

christian.JPGThe Daily News reports:

After months of community pressure, city Department of Transportation officials promised Brooklyn News the traffic-light timing would be adjusted over the weekend ... with an increased interval allowing pedestrians more time to cross the street.

"A little call from a reporter never hurt anything," said Principal Christina Fuentes who was notified by Brooklyn News late last week - not the DOT - that the light would be adjusted.

A third-grader was hit by a car and injured near the school last spring, prompting parents and others in the neighborhood to seek safety improvements -- along with Transportation Alternatives, which has consistently cited signal timing as an easy and effective means of reducing pedestrian injuries and deaths.

Transportation Alternatives has requested safety measures for other schools along dangerous Third and Fourth Aves., said TA official Brooke DuBose.

More than 30 pedestrians have been killed along the avenues since 1995 - including six children since 2004, according to TA figures.

Meanwhile, in Bushwick, a 7-year-old who was looking forward to starting first grade today was run down by two vehicles on Sunday as he crossed Bleecker Street with his mother and 8-year-old brother. Christian Acteopan died after being hit by a Mitsubishi Eclipse, which fled the scene, and a second vehicle traveling behind. The driver of the Eclipse was found and charged with leaving the scene of an accident; the second driver stayed at the scene and was not charged.

Acteopan's death comes less than a week after the unveiling of the heart-rending monument to three children killed by motorists on Third Avenue. The event included an announcement that DOT will be making long-awaited pedestrian safety improvements to intersections throughout Downtown Brooklyn.

Photo: New York Post

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Cyclists Throwing Selves Under Cars in Brooklyn

The Daily News reports that more cyclists are getting hit by cars in Williamsburg and Greenpoint -- an increase of 38 percent and 188 percent, respectively, over last year.

While Transportation Alternatives cites dangerous conditions created by the lack of bike lanes, the News draws a different conclusion:

[T]he numbers don't lie. Stats show that in most incidents, bicycles are to blame.

Out of 29 bicycle accidents in the 94th Precinct during May, June and July this year, the cyclist was found at fault in 17.

Numbers don't lie? Traffic policing can be awfully subjective, particularly in a precinct that has made its bias perfectly clear as of late.

Discuss.

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Feds Withhold Fatal-Accident Info from Public

An article in the LA Times (reg required) details how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has systematically withheld information on fatal accidents from the public, even going so far as to deny Freedom of Information Act requests from researchers.

R.A. Whitworth, whose Maryland-based company conducts highway safety research for attorneys, insurance companies and even government agencies, discovered a few years ago that federal regulators were collecting the global coordinates of fatal accidents and linking them to its database, known as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, or FARS. The database is one of the most important kept by the federal government.

Almost by happenstance, Whitworth discovered on the agency's website in 2004 the geographic coordinates of fatal accidents. He immediately saw the value: He could create maps of accidents, providing insights into where they were occurring on any given day and under what conditions.

He downloaded the data to his computer, but a few days later it was gone from the website. He called the agency and explained that the data had disappeared and he would like the agency to repost it. Officials called the posting a mistake and said he should erase it from his own computer, he recalled.

Whitworth waited until the following year, to see if the agency would again mistakenly post the data. This time, it did not. So he filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency in September 2005. The request was denied.
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