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Blind Lawyer Struck By Cyclist In Central Park Files Federal Lawsuit Against NYC

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

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

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A blind lawyer and triathlete who was run down by a cyclist in Central Park last month has filed a federal lawsuit against the city.

Richard Bernstein, 38, of Detroit, said he is seeking safety changes, not money.

“This lawsuit is filed solely to make Central Park a safer place,” Bernstein told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “It doesn’t ask for a dime, it doesn’t ask for a nickel, I’m not even asking for legal fees or legal costs.”

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

Bernstein was walking in a pedestrian lane on Aug. 13 when he was hit from behind and knocked to the ground by a cyclist going 35 miles per hour, 10 miles over the limit, police said.

Bernstein remains hospitalized after suffering a broken pelvis and a fractured hip.

Bernstein claims New York is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying the blind, visually impaired and other disabled individuals equal access to Central Park, according to court papers.

EXTRA: Read The Full Complaint (pdf)

“You have cyclists who are speeding at high speeds all throughout the loop,” Bernstein said. “It is impossible for a blind person to cross the street.”

He claims the city has failed to enforce the speed limit and rules mandating that cyclists stop at red lights and stop signs. Additionally, Bernstein said the city permits bicyclists to pass through pedestrian crosswalks without stopping.

“There’s only one question that the judge is going to be asking in this case: Can a blind person access Central Park in a safe manner?” Bernstein said.

The New York City Law Department will be evaluating the case carefully, a spokeswoman said.

Bernstein is not taking legal action against the biker who hit him.