Press Conference Held to Address Lisa Banes’ Death, Promote New Legislation

A press conference was held today, Wednesday, June 16 at 2:15pm to mourn the loss of beloved actress Lisa Banes, and to promote new legislation which would treat hit-and-runs by motorized scooters more seriously than the misdemeanors they currently are.

West 64th and Amsterdam Avenue was the site of the affair, just steps away from where Banes was struck in the street by a motorized scooter running a red light while going the wrong way down the road. Right across the street stands Lincoln Center and The Juilliard School, where Banes earned her BFA.

Senate Judiciary Chair Brad Hoylman spoke first, describing the loss of Banes as a terrible tragedy. “I can’t think of anything that’s more gutless, cowardly, unconscionable [and] morally depraved, than causing the death of an individual and leaving the scene of a crash,” Hoylman said. The Senator grieved that the death of Banes was a loss to her family, the creative world and to the community here in New York, before asking everyone to join in a moment of silence for her passing.

Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal portion of the press conference began with a description of her walk from her nearby apartment, calling the streets “mayhem.” Rosenthal told the gallery “there are all manner of vehicles not obeying the traffic rules but we’ve seen that the increase of electric scooters [have caused] many more accidents that are happening, and many more crashes [are] just on the horizon.” Rosenthal shared statistics regarding electric scooter accidents. Most notably, there have been 588 electric scooter crashes reported since 2020, with 538 people injured and at least 3 pedestrians killed.

Greg Schriefer, a dear friend of Lisa Banes, described her as an “elegant and vivacious woman” before calling the June 4 hit-and-run “senseless.” Schriefer demanded legislation to charge hit-and-runs on motorized scooters as felonies.

The President of the West 64th – West 67th Street Block Association, Chris Giordano, said “this is a reminder we need safety on our streets at all levels.” He went on to remember the loss of Madison J. Lyden, who was killed on her bicycle at 67th and Central Park West less than 3 years ago. “Everyone needs a safe lane to travel in and we hope that our leaders will take this step and go further to bring the necessary vision to make our streets safer.”

Newly proposed legislation – bills A8128  and S7212 – looks to change the laws for scooter hit-and-runs. The way it stands now, according to Senator Hoylman, leaving the scene of an accident involving an electric scooter without reporting it is a class B misdemeanor with up to 6 months jail time. The Senator and Assembly Member Rosenthal are looking to raise this charge to a class B felony with up to 4 years jail time.

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