Man killed at Brooklyn crosswalk, NYPD increases jaywalking tickets

A 47-year-old motorcyclist was killed on Sunday in a crash in Brooklyn at a busy intersection in Greenpoint.

Police say Jorge Rios, of Queens, was riding a 2001 Suzuki motorcycle on Manhattan Avenue when he struck the side of a Lexus sedan being driven by a 71-year-old man. Rios was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The sedan driver was not hurt.

In seeming response to the amount of motorist accidents and deaths, particularly in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn and backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Zero Tolerance” policy geared at curbing traffic deaths, New York police officers have stepped up and are handing out traffic tickets at an increased rate.

According to a recent New York Times article, police inspectors in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been concentrating on jaywalkers as a means to curtail traffic accidents. This method was attempted in the 1990s under then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, when then-Police Commissioner William Bratton stated that “pedestrian error” contributed to “73 percent of collisions.”

Bratton, now NYPD commissioner in the de Blasio administration, clarified that the numbers were based on “pedestrian fatalities investigated by our collision investigation squad” and were “not a full representation of the DOT [Department of Transportation] data” on crashes.

Nearby residents have noticed the increase in ticketing. A local blog, Greenpointers, cited reports of uniformed police officers issuing jaywalking warning, and in some instances tickets, to pedestrians along McGuinness Boulevard and Nassau Avenue.

“I’m frustrated that city’s reaction is to blame residents and not consider that it is the intersection itself is dangerous,” resident Sonia Deepak wrote on the blog. “Their intentions might be good, but if they’re trying to save lives, they’re going about it the wrong way.”

Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander (D-Park Slope/Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill) views the ticketing scheme as a beneficial deterrent and preventive measure. However, Lander’s appreciation is for a tactic that targets drivers who do not yield to pedestrians.  

“It’s a two-person operation — you have a plainclothes officer as a pedestrian who walks back and forth, and a uniformed officer who issues summonses,” Lander told The New York Times. He praised this tactic, which has resulted in 17 such summons being issued by the 78th Precinct in Park Slope in January alone.

Officers are also taking a proactive approach to curbing traffic deaths, handing out information cards that read: “Why wait? Because collisions don’t!”