The cyclist who fatally collided with a woman in Central Park last week issued an apology a day after his victim died in a Manhattan hospital. Jason Marshall, 31, says he is "deeply saddened" about the death of Jill Tarlov, a 58-year-old mother of two and wife of a CBS executive who succumbed to her head injuries on Sunday. In a statement sent through his lawyer, Marshall says:
I am deeply, deeply saddened about the accidental collision that I had with Ms. Jill Tarlov last week and her subsequent passing. I am utterly devastated. Please know that this was an unavoidable accident. I extend my deepest sympathies to Mr. Wittman and his entire family. Since the day of the accident, I and my family have been in constant prayer for her and her family. This is the deepest of pain. It is the deepest of tragedies.
Marshall denies speeding before running into Tarlov. An NYPD spokesman told us Marshall was biking in the bike lane on West Drive moments before the collision, but had swerved out of the bike lane in an attempt to avoid some other pedestrians.
Marshall has not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, one Upper East Side retiree tells the Post that Marshall is a maniac who almost ran him over back in June. "I’m telling you, this guy was booking like you couldn’t believe,” Jim Kelly tells the Post. “He kept yelling really loud ‘Get out of the way!’ It was like, ‘Get out of the way or you’re going to get killed.' I had to jump backwards. He missed me by like two inches. You could see the arrogance on this guy. He must have been doing 35 miles per hour, on an incline! I’ve never seen someone go that fast in my life."
Last week's fatal crash, which occurred a month after another pedestrian was killed by a cyclist in Central Park, has some New Yorkers wondering what can be done about reckless cyclists in the park—particularly aggro cyclists on racing bikes who blaze around the loop like they're in the Tour de France. The NYPD has tried ticketing speeding cyclists in the past, and officers are currently in the midst of another ticket blitz. But one noted bike blogger says the solution to a safer Central Park is quite simple: ban cars. From Bike Snob:
Ban cars. Not bikes. Cars. That's the answer. Does this excuse reckless riding in the park? Not a whit. However, it's a trickle-down thing. At the busiest times of day, the park is open to drivers who are barreling through the park on a big wide thoroughfare. (Same thing goes for Prospect Park in Brooklyn, by the way.) So when the park's closed to traffic, invariably the next creature on the vehicular food chain takes their place on that big wide inviting thoroughfare, and that's cyclists. And when it's open to cars, cyclists are merely forced into a smaller space, which has been recently "improved" with the addition of a bunch of confusing and meaningless painted lines.
Furthermore, if you've ever been in either Central Park or Prospect Park and witnessed the transition when it becomes open to cars, you know how absurd it it. It's like opening and closing a tap. There are no cars in the park, and then suddenly, RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC IS BLASTING THROUGH THE PARK! One moment you're enjoying a nice ride or walk in the park, and the next it's BEEP GET THE FUCK OUTTA THE WAY!
So of course when the park's being pressure-washed by cars mornings and afternoons the default mode for anything with wheels is going to be speed. Drivers are setting the pace! However, if cars were banished all the time, the default speed would naturally slow as all the actual park users assumed complete control. Then, once the cars are out, you make changes to the design of the roadway to further optimize it for non-motorized use.
I mean really. You want a mellower park? Maybe start by removing the fastest, noisiest, dirtiest machines in the goddamn park! The drivers aren't even using it! For them, the park is just a shortcut. If a fancy restaurant won't let you walk in off the street, take a piss, and leave, why does the city let drivers cut through a magical green oasis so they can get home a little faster?
Activists have been pushing for a Central Park car ban for years, with no success.