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Blind Lawyer Seriously Injured After Being Struck By Bicyclist In Central Park

Richard Bernstein Had Been Training For The New York City Marathon
Richard Bernstein (credit: The Sam Bernstein Law Firm/Handout)

Richard Bernstein (credit: The Sam Bernstein Law Firm/Handout)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A blind lawyer and triathlete is recovering from serious injuries after he was struck by a speeding bicyclist earlier this week in Central Park.

Richard Bernstein, 38, of Detroit, was walking in a pedestrian lane around 10 a.m. Monday when he was hit from behind and knocked to the ground.

“I was just walking and the bicyclist hit me straight on into my back,” said Bernstein, who was in town training for his eighth New York City Marathon. “All of a sudden I was on the ground with my face in the asphalt.”

Bernstein suffered a broken pelvis, a fractured hip and lost a few teeth. He is being treated at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

The cyclist remained at the scene and explained that he didn’t see Bernstein until it was too late.

Bernstein said he couldn’t have been hard to miss; he was wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt, bright blue sneakers and was holding a reflective cane at the time of the accident.

“What if it wasn’t me in that lane? This person wasn’t looking where he was going, he hit me, but it could’ve easily been a stroller, it could’ve easily been a baby,” Bernstein said. “What if it was a mom with a baby and that child is not with us anymore?”

He said he believes the city needs to take action and strictly enforce the speed limit rules in Central Park.

“It’s basically like the Wild West,” Bernstein said. “People just do what they want.”

Police said the cyclist was going 35 mph. The speed limit is 25 mph.

“Some of the times we’ve been here we’ve almost gotten run over,” one pedestrian told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

As for enforcing the rules, Parks Commisioner Adrian Benepe said: “Both NYPD and Parks Enforcement officers remind and [issue] summonses on a regular basis. “

But in this case there was no summons.

Bernstein is a lawyer who represents disabled clients for free. He said he wants to get better so that once again he can help people in need. However, he will have to sit out the upcoming marathon because his recovery is expected to take months, CBS 2’s Slattery reported.

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