UPDATE, Nov. 16, 9:34 p.m.: According to Nancy Moccaldi, a close friend, Linda Cohen was fully conscious for the first time today and is breathing on her own. Cohen, who was in a medically induced coma since Nov. 3, still is unable to speak, has a fractured skull and a fracured coccyx.
A 55-year-old woman was struck by a bicyclist while she was walking in Prospect Park, leaving her in critical condition.
Linda Cohen, a Park Slope resident, was hit by the bike on Nov. 3, and taken to King’s County Hospital where she is currently in a medically induced coma, officials said.
According to the NYPD, at around 2:50 p.m. Cohen had left the bridle path and stepped onto West Drive, near the Vanderbilt Street playground, when a speeding bicyclist, a 61-year-old male, hit her.
“Prospect Park is deeply concerned about the serious accident. Linda Cohen is a dedicated, long-time volunteer at the park,” said Paul Nelson, a spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance (PPA). “Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family for a speedy and full recovery.”
The blog, A Walk in the Park, first reported the accident.
Earlier this year, Prospect Park created the Prospect Park Road Sharing Taskforce to examine how park users (runners, walkers, competitive cyclists, recreational bikers) can safely share the park drives.
This past summer, after a pedestrian was seriously injured by a bicyclist, a Kensington resident created an online petition to request measures to make the relationship between two-leggers and two-wheelers safer.
The Taskforce will hold a meeting on November 16 at 6 p.m. at the park’s Picnic House to discuss ways to ensure the safe enjoyment of the park’s drives for bikers and pedestrians.
When asked how bike riders can share the road safely, Caroline Samponaro, the director of bicycle advocacy for Transportation Alternatives (TA), which is a New York City bicycle, pedestrian and public transportation advocacy organization, said riders must always yield to pedestrians.
The organization has a “Biking Rules” campaign, which published a handbook outlining the rules of the road, what to do incase of an accident and biking street codes.
“The whole idea of biking rules is as your potential to cause harm increases, so does your responsibility to others on the street,” Samponaro said. “We see this as a hierarchy with pedestrians ruling, needing the most care from others, bike riders come next and then drivers need to be the most cautious and look out for pedestrians and bike riders.”
TA will be working closely with PPA to help educate bike riders in how to share the road. In response to Thursday’s incident, TA will station bike ambassadors in Prospect Park at the major “pinch points,” where the most congestion and most accidents occur, and set up slow-down check points for bikers and hand out the “Biking Rules” handbook.
Samponaro, a biker herself, said riders have a responsibility to make the road safer for all.
“In an ideal city we want people to be able to walk safely and not be scared. Cyclists have a role to play in making that the case,” Samponaro said. “At the end of the day we are all pedestrians at one point or another. It is important in a walking city that bikers are contributing to it being a positive and safe walking environment.”