USPS victim was “big man” on the verge of retirement when killed on her way, wife says – Streetsblog New York City
The wife of 71-year-old Upper West Side cyclist Jeffrey Williamson, who was killed Tuesday night by a Postal Service truck driver, knew something was wrong when her husband was 15 minutes late For dinner.
Christopher Brimer told Streetsblog on Wednesday that she called her husband’s phone, and when he didn’t answer, she felt uncomfortable. And then she got the call from the police and rushed out of the Riverside Drive apartment that he and her husband had shared for decades and backed off along her husband’s usual route home. of his advertising work downtown. When Brimer arrived on site, Williamson was already taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he would later die from a bodily injury he suffered when the unidentified US Postal Service truck driver had him. crashed into Central Park West around 5:40 p.m.
“He was a great man,” Brimer said. “He was adventurous, in good physical shape. He expected to retire in August.
Brimer worried about Wilkinson’s retirement – “He always said, ‘What will I do when I retire’ because he could never sit still ‘- but now she’s planning her funeral, mourning the father of her two. children, but also knowing that she will never get justice for him.
“We don’t expect anyone to be punished for what happened. The laws favor motorists too much, ”she said.
The NYPD declined to provide more information on Tuesday’s crash beyond what was released that day. The agency declined to answer additional questions such as whether the postman was speeding or distracted by his phone or music. Police said the driver still had not been charged.
Williamson’s family were eager to speak about the victim on Wednesday, a likely consequence of the fact that he and his wife started their journalism careers – writing obituaries for the Bridgeport Post Telegram in Kansas, where they met.
Eventually, Williamson became a State House reporter before writing a novel and becoming a copywriter when the novel didn’t sell. (Williamson’s website has a funny story about the rejection of that first novel, “Between Wars.”)
“I work hard for advertising,” Williamson wrote on his website. “I hold on to it. Sometimes when I’m not wondering if I took a wrong turn in my career in my mid-20s, or if I ranted against TMZ and the decline of American popular culture, I adores advertising. Hopefully some of that love will seep in and maybe bring a tender haze to your eyes, if you just spend a little bit of time clicking through the site.
The couple moved to Clifton, New Jersey in the late 1970s, before moving to the Upper West Side in 1980. Williamson was also a rider, but his bike was “his pride and joy,” said Brimer about her husband’s Bottecchia.
“It was the only bike he used – it’s a Tour de France style bike,” she said. “It gained attention as an old sports car in the cycling community. He loved her. “
She then added: “It’s ridiculous that he was killed while on the bike path.”
It’s horrible, but it’s not that ridiculous. Cyclists have long complained that even protected bike lanes like the one in Central Park West leave them completely exposed to vehicle turns, especially at high traffic intersections like 86th Street Transverse, where Williamson was killed.
At this intersection, northbound drivers who wish to turn right on the transverse – such as the USPS driver – can turn on the flashing amber light, but must yield to northbound cyclists.
Southbound drivers who wish to turn left on the transverse must simultaneously watch for oncoming traffic as well as cyclists like Williamson, who continue northbound in the cycle lane.
Delivery trucks and double-parked taxis also create hazards on the bike path, which was installed in response to the death of cyclist Madison Lyden in 2018 just south on Central Park West.
“I find this intersection quite dangerous when I drive north,” said Ken Coughlin, Community Board member 7 and regular rider. “Vehicles turning right encroach on the cycle path, which is not at all protected there, and they frequently despise cyclists in their impatience to enter the transverse. DOT must immediately figure out how to eliminate deadly conflict there, and a good start would be a phase-split signal separating cyclists and turning drivers.
Williamson is the seventh cyclist to be killed on the streets of New York this year, which is a grim number, but too normal until June 29 of any normal year.
But the city is having an exceptionally bloody year for other road users: the number of pedestrians killed has increased by 20% compared to an average year during the tenure of Blasio’s administration. Overall, road fatalities are up 24% from the “normal” year.
Transportation Alternatives chief executive Danny Harris called on the mayor and city council to do better as they begin budget negotiations.
“If the city’s next budget doesn’t increase and speed up the redesign of dangerous hallways, cars will kill more New Yorkers,” Harris said. “We expect, at a minimum, that key programs such as the Hazardous Vehicle Reduction Program and the Street Master Plan will be fully funded. The carnage plaguing our streets demands an increased investment in the Vision Zero programs that work.
“A budget is a statement of values,” added Harris. “We hope that in the final budget of his administration, the mayor of Blasio will prioritize the saving of human lives over the convenience of the driver. “
The Department of Transportation did not respond to requests for comment on its investigation. The Postal Service issued a statement that did not answer specific questions about the driver’s record, previous disciplinary action taken against him or why Postal Service trucks did not have side guards.
“Security remains a priority for La Poste,” said spokesperson Xavier Hernandez. “Before driving a vehicle, drivers receive approximately 35 hours of training. Once licensed to drive a vehicle, drivers also receive daily safety talks, regular driver observations by driver safety instructors, as well as other safety training and accident prevention measures.
“This matter is currently under investigation and we have no further information on the details of the incident at this time,” Hernandez added. “So we can’t answer your questions about the vehicle. That said, as an indication, La Poste is governed by federal laws concerning its equipment and vehicles.
Hernandez added that the driver had worked for the postal service for 15 years, but claimed that “federal law prevents us from sharing personal files in response to general inquiries.”
The agency also declined to answer questions about the as yet unidentified driver who killed Charles McLean in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn in 2019. The agency will not say whether the driver was sanctioned for killing McLean, who was in a crosswalk at a stop. sign when the USPS driver knocked him over.
The agency has a horrendous accident toll, which is difficult to track because Postal Service trucks do not carry license plates. After McLean’s murder, a Streetsblog investigation found USPS drivers are so reckless the agency paid more than $ 23 million in claims for New Yorkers injured or killed in company-caused crashes postal.
From 2013 to 2019, the USPS quietly settled 661 traffic accident lawsuits by New Yorkers, about 100 per year, with an average value of $ 35,000. During the same period, the Postal Service paid about $ 353 million to settle 15,580 claims nationwide, or more than 2,300 accidents per year, according to data obtained by Streetsblog in an access request to information. Details of the cases themselves were not provided.