NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former 1010 WINS employee remained in critical condition Friday, a day after she was struck by a cyclist in Central Park.
Jill Tarlov, 59, of Fairfield, Connecticut was in the crosswalk on West Drive at 62nd Street in Central Park shortly before 4:30 p.m. Thursday as Jason Marshall, 31, was approaching on his high-performance racing bike, 1010 WINS’ John Montone reported.
Witnesses told police that Marshall was yelling, “get out of the way,” in the moments before the collision, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
Tarlov, a former 1010 WINS employee whose husband is CBS Television Stations Senior Vice President of Finance Mike Wittman.
According to a New York Times wedding announcement, Tarlov and Wittman got married in April 1986. At the time, Tarlov worked as a media consultant while her bridegroom was the controller for WINS-AM radio. He was hired by CBS Television Stations in 1996, rising through the ranks to the position of senior vice president and controller in 2010.
The couple have two college-age children, son Matthew and daughter Anna.
Tarlov suffered a critical head injury and remained hospitalized Friday at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“We are shocked and saddened by the horrible and senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jill, Mike and their family,” Peter Dunn, President, CBS Television Stations, said in a statement Friday.
Marshall, who remained on the scene of the accident, was hospitalized with minor injuries at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, officials said. According to his website, Marshall is a baritone saxophone player who lives in New York City.
A preliminary investigation indicated that Marshall was riding in the park’s bike lane when he struck Tarlov while swerving to avoid other pedestrians, according to the Associated Press.
Police believe he was traveling at a high rate of speed, however, it is unlikely that Marshall will face any kind of serious charges, Aiello reported.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Aiello reported, the NYPD has stepped up enforcement in Central Park in the wake of the accident that injured Tarlov. One rider was stopped Friday for having headphones in both ears, while others were stopped for running red lights.
The crackdown came amid growing concern about rogue bicycle riding in Central Park.
“These bicyclists spend thousands of dollars on expensive outfits and bicycles and they’re kind of bullies,” said Mary Durkee, of the Upper West Side. “They don’t stop for pedestrians, they act like it’s the pedestrian’s job to look out for them but it’s really their job to look out for pedestrians.”
“I think a lot of cyclists are kind of out of control, but pedestrians are also a major, major problem — especially the tourists who are looking around; they’re not paying any attention,” added Pam Margolin, also of the Upper West Side.
“I walk in the park in the afternoons and on many occasions I see them coming down the hills going much too fast, paying not much attention,” a city traffic court judge out for a jog Friday morning told 1010 WINS’ John Montone.
After 11 a.m., cars are banned and the four-lane West Drive becomes a recreational freeway. Walkers runners, bicyclists and others compete for a piece of the asphalt ribbon. It can quickly get tangled.
The park speed limit is 25 mph. CBS 2’s radar gun found most riders respecting the speed limit on Friday, although three zoomed by going at least 27 mph.
Cyclists are also supposed to slow down at crosswalks and yield to pedestrians, according to the Parks Department website.
Bike rider Amy Arpadi said the thinks regular enforcement is vital.
“As a biker, although it’s a nuisance, I do respect the law and I know it’s safer for pedestrians,” said Arpaid, of the Upper West Side.
But Frank Nan, who was ticketed for wearing headphones, thought the police crackdown was an overreaction.
“I think it’s a waste of tax money,” said Nan, of Hell’s Kitchen.
Neile Weissman, head of the New York Cycle Club, said he is saddened by the accident.
“It’s a tragedy,” Weissman told 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis. “We’re horrified.”
Weissman said his club trains cyclists to give pedestrians the right of way.
“We do everything we can to make sure that we conduct ourselves safely,” Weismann said. “We have protocols – safety for ourselves, safety for pedestrians.”
Weissman said he will be meeting with the NYPD to offer support and to assure them that trained riders put pedestrians first. Marshall is not part of his group, Weissman said.
In 2011, the Department of Parks and Recreation disavowed a bike riding speed limit of 15 mph that was posted on signs by the Central Park Conservancy two decades ago. The department said cyclists must follow the 25 mph speed limit issued for the roads by the Transportation Department.
The NYPD said it regularly tickets bike riders in the park, who by law are considered vehicle operators required to obey all traffic regulations.
The group Transportation Alternatives said reckless behavior by cyclists is not acceptable.
“Because we are serious about reaching Vision Zero, we need to speak out in response to every preventable tragedy and condemn all acts of reckless behavior in traffic. As the most vulnerable users of our streets, pedestrians must be safe from reckless cycling, just as they need to be protected from reckless driving,” stated Paul Steely White, Executive Director of the non-profit organization. “This is particularly true in our parks. As we await the conclusion of the investigation, our thoughts are with Jill Tarlov and her family during this difficult time.”
“Making our streets safer means raising the bar for everyone’s conduct–cyclists included–which is why the NYPD recently conducted Operation Safe Cycle as part of its Vision Zero enforcement efforts. We will continue to combine enforcement, education and better engineering to reduce injuries and fatalities on our streets,” said Wiley Norvell, Deputy Press Secretary for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Operation Safe Cycle, the NYPD’s most recent cycling enforcement campaign, resulted in 4,300 moving violations issued to cyclists during a two-week period last month, for violations like failing to yield to pedestrians and disobeying traffic signals, Norvell added.
In Central Park, about 500 cyclists have been ticketed so far this year, a 210 percent increase from last year.
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