Elderly Woman Hit By E-Bike During Open Streets: REPORT

open streets lady hit by e bike

The festive atmosphere at Open Streets on Columbus Avenue turned frightening and chaotic Sunday afternoon when an elderly woman was hit by an e-bike that sped away after stopping only briefly, according to a witness. The rider was reportedly a delivery person carrying a pizza on his bike.

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The hit and run happened at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of West 75th Street, according to the witness.

The witness told ILTUWS that the woman was crossing Columbus Avenue at 75th Street and was about to step up onto the sidewalk when the bike, which was heading south, collided into her. She fell backwards and her hand hit the pavement. As bystanders rushed over to help, the witness said blood could be seen coming from a wound on the back of her head.

The rider got off his bike and appeared to briefly take stock of the situation. As a crowd began to gather, he jumped back on his bike and sped off, the witness said.

“He looked like he was assessing the situation,” the witness said. “Then he freaked out and fled.”

A second individual who was there wrote on a Reddit thread that they “only saw the immediate aftermath. I really hope she is okay and that maybe a camera got a good look at the a**hole who took off. Sad.”

As he sped away, several people began to chase him while screaming for people further down the street to try to stop him. Some took out their phones to take photos and videos of him.

“We were all screaming and people were trying to catch him but he got away,” the witness said, adding that there was a red insulated pizza delivery pouch on the back of his bike.

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At least one bystander called 911. Others yelled to anyone within earshot to ask if there were any doctors in the area. One person who appeared to be a doctor rushed over and began helping the woman, who was lying on her back in the bike lane and was conscious and talking, according to the witness. The medical professional talked with the victim and started applying pressure to her wound. He stayed with her until the ambulance arrived.

“He was speaking with her and trying to keep her calm and conscious,” the witness said.

The unidentified woman was taken to a hospital by ambulance. She appeared to be in her 70s or 80s and was alone at the time, the witness said.

The witness, who lives on the UWS, was enjoying Open Streets with her husband when they happened to see the accident. (Open Streets is when Columbus Avenue is closed to traffic on select Sundays.) She said both the bike rider and the victim seemed to be watching the goings-on and neither saw the other. She said the bike rider was not going that fast. The traffic light was presumably red because the witness said her husband recalled that the walk sign indicated pedestrians could cross. (All bikes must stop at red lights just like cars.) He also heard another witness call out “She had the right of way.”

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“My husband believes he saw the walk sign,” the witness said. “That’s the first thing he checked.”

She described the rider as short in stature and possibly Hispanic.

“It was terrible,” the witness said. “We’ve been thinking about her all day and hope she’s okay.”

E-bikes are causing increasing concern throughout the city as incidents like this one continue to happen with alarming frequency. Calls are growing louder for tougher regulations and stepped up enforcement in an effort to improve safety. Among other suggested changes, the New York E-Vehicle Safety Alliance is asking the City Council to require all e-bikes, mopeds and scooters to have license plates, liability insurance and be required to get safety inspections, according to a CBS News story. They also want e-vehicles to be classified as motor vehicles. The Alliance includes more than 70 victims of e-vehicle collisions and those who’ve lost loved ones to them.

“I was shell shocked,” said the shaken witness. She and her husband stayed on the scene until the ambulance left with the victim. She said she wanted to be available to police as a witness if they had been there.

It appears that police did not respond to the accident and did not have a report on it Sunday night. An NYPD spokesperson said, however, that it could still be reported to police, which could lead to an investigation.

ILTUWS is waiting to hear back from a representative from Columbus Avenue BID.


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