Drive SUV on Sidewalk, Hit 5 Children: 0 Summonses; Drive Bicycle on Sidewalk, Hit Nicole Kidman: 3 Summonses


Photo: Surveillance video via NY Daily News

A 19-year-old cyclist struck actress Nicole Kidman on a sidewalk outside a Manhattan hotel yesterday, knocking her to the ground. Fortunately for Kidman, she was only a little shaken up after the crash, and was able to walk away without any serious injuries (though she’s still pressing charges against the cyclist).

According to Newsday, the cyclist was issued three summonses: one for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk (which is justified), another for riding without a helmet (which is not), and a third for reckless endangerment.

On the same day, the driver of an SUV drove onto a sidewalk in Queens, injuring five children. One child suffered a broken hip and a broken leg. Another had multiple fractures to her vertebrae. The others were all treated for lacerations.


Photo: AAR/FAMEFLYNET via NY Daily News

Seeing how hard the NYPD came down on the cyclist, you’d expect they’d throw the book at the SUV driver. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Why not? Because running down five children on a sidewalk is evidently legal in New York City, and, as Council Member Elizabeth Crowley sees it, this was just an accident.

“He hit the gas instead of the brake” […] “This had everything to do with being an accident.”

In a city where drivers routinely jump the curb and injure and kill pedestrians, and where the biggest threat to schoolchildren is motorists, one would hope elected officials and the NYPD would take these things more seriously.


According to Streetsblog, the driver of the SUV has not been charged or summonsed, but the case is still open, and is in the hands of the Crash Investigation Squad.

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30 comments to Drive SUV on Sidewalk, Hit 5 Children: 0 Summonses; Drive Bicycle on Sidewalk, Hit Nicole Kidman: 3 Summonses

  • Taylor

    Could be worse! If this poor girl was in Fort Lee, she would have been issued a ticket for texting and walking!

  • Geoff

    Perhaps the 19 year old cyclist should counter-sue Ms. Kidman for knocking him to the ground.

  • KruidigMeisje

    class is nonexistent in US, wasn’t it?

  • femme

    So I get why the cyclist was given a summons, he was a photographer looking to get pictures and as such it was clearly his fault. But I’m still not sure why the car driver wasn’t charged. If I was one of those parents I’d be suing that driver.

  • sstrudeau

    The driver will almost certainly be sued (in cases where no summons are issued or no charges are pressed when a car injures or kills someone, there is almost always a civil suit) — however, as long as the driver is insured, there is a very good chance the entire civil settlement will be covered by his or her insurance. So there is a penalty (assuming the injured press their cases) but it is usually pretty limited to “car insurance rates went up a bit” …

  • Andrew J. Besold, LCI 2682

    If the “weapon” had been a gun instead of a car that was “accidently” discharged and shot a child, I’m sure NOBODY would be calling it an “accident.”

  • ray-e

    Ho about installing barriers to keep cars off the sidewalks and pedestrians off the roadway?


    Your not even safe walking on the sidewalk but this Motor vehicle doesn’t get a ticket shaking my head, just because she’s a celebrity he gets a ticket you got it all backwards damn system!

  • cheryls

    Apparently you have never been hit by a bicyle racing down the sidewalkl you can just as easily break a leg or lose you your life to a cyclist illegally riding on the sidewalk. They are subject to the same laws as a 5,000 lb vehicle jumping the curb. Perhaps because the vehicle carries insurance and the biker does not is the reason he received the citations. It could have been your mother, child or another loved one mowed down by that biker. The comments by the councilwoman are ignorant. Bikes are just as dangerous as cars.

  • Pat

    You are fucking idiots. There is no comparison, One incident was by accident, one on purpose. This is why New Yorkers hate you and want you to leave. You can’t even think like logical , reasonable human beings. SideWALK. What don’t you get?

  • Alan

    Bikes can be dangerous when misused. But bikes are not as dangerous as cars, as illustrated by the fact that the last pedestrian killed by a bicyclist in this city of 8 million died in 2010, versus pedestrians are killed by cars every week.

  • Parrish

    Hey Pat, Can you explain a driveway to the rest of us then? Or even parkway? I figured you’d know.

  • NOT cheryls

    “can just as easily break a leg”

    No, not true. Not just as easily. Yes, bikes can hurt people and break their legs. They can even kill people.

    But not “just as easily.” Simply not true.

    Word have meaning. If you don’t understand their meaning, don’t write.

  • marcos

    Here in SF the paranoid pedestrians fear cyclists on the sidewalk as well. But there are no recorded incidents of fatal collisions between cyclist and ped on the sidewalk. There have been two in the past few years, but those were in crosswalks at intersections.

    Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be a rash of injury collisions either. I’d wager that more peds walk into fixed objects or the roadway while texting than are hurt by cyclists.

  • Mick Robinson

    This kind of crap, being treated unequally under the law, has got to stop. I suppose failing to control your own vehicle (read that as car)and injuring five children is normal in NY but heaven forbid you lose control of your bicycle!

  • DannyX

    “Bikes are just as dangerous as cars…”


    Physics fail.

  • grey

    Cars aren’t weapons, so yes, if some a-hole had been walking around with a gun – which is a weapon – and discharged it accidentally, attempted manslaughter would be the correct criminal charge

  • bomber

    Both these cases were anything BUT accidents, they were negligence PERIOD. If you accidentally pull the trigger rather than pushing on the safety on a firearm and kill someone, the fact that it may have been an accident changes NOTHING. You are negligent. Yet motor vehicles kill more people than guns, when will we stop excusing negligent drivers? This is out of hand! As to the cyclist that idiot was wrong too and I’m glad Ms. Kidman is pressing charges, he gives all cyclists a bad name.

  • PBJoe

    To say he was a “Cyclist” is to miss the part where he had a camera and was trying to get close enough for a shot. Paparazzi can stay in LA, we don’t need them in NYC…

  • Ladyzen

    Cyclists ARE NOT supposed to ride on the sidewalk!! My husband has been in a cycling club for over 25 years and there are many law enforcement members in that club. According to them you are not supposed to be on the sidewalk with pedestrians. I can’t count how many times I’ve almost been hit by cyclists all over town when I’ve been minding my own business on the sidewalk. EVEN in front of my own house watering my grass, someone almost mowed me down. If I would get hit and wasn’t hurt, believe me, by the time I got done with the cyclist, they WOULD BE!! Cyclists need to stay in the street!! …..and what about when they come speeding down the wheelchair ramps and zip right in front of your car?!?!?! What’s the deal with that?!?!

  • Tim

    Andrew J, if it had been a gun discharged it would be due to his second amendment right ;-)

    But this is a f**ked up situation. Just go’s to show that in the US justice costs a lot, unless your a celeb then in which case its free as the police will sort that out for you.

  • Scott WA

    So, someone thinks bikes are as or more dangerous as cars… math check! Cars KILL approximately 35K people a year (including about 400 people a year walking on SIDEWALKS IN NYC)… bicycles on average 1… And almost every person killed by a cyclist is some elderly person who fell down after being struck and passed away from complications later on from a broken hip etc. Way way way more pedestrians on sidewalks are killed by tripping over their own feet.

  • Adam Wolf

    The car has an accident the bike was acting illegally by being on the sidewalk if the driver was drunk or driving recklessly they would have been summoned

  • grey

    Cars are intended as transportation. Guns are intended to kill people and animals.

  • grey

    You are just making stuff up, Scott WA: “almost every person killed by a cyclist is some elderly person who fell down after being struck and passed away from complications later on from a broken hip ” Ridiculous! Name your sources.

  • cyclistinthecity

    Bicycles as dangerous as cars? I hope you’re being sarcastic because that is one of the dumbest things I have ever read.

  • […] York City Department of Education — The DOE advised the principal of I.S. 73 in Maspeth, where five teenage students were hit by a curb jumping SUV were headed, to send a letter to parents that warned students not to wear headphones or use […]

  • Rebecca

    Context is very important.
    While I think a driver who ‘accidentally’ hits the gas and drives onto a sidewalk should be cited, I also think you have to remember that the bicyclist here was not ‘just a bicyclist.’ That guy is a paparazzi *stalker* looking for a $50,000 photo, willing to do anything to get it. That IS worth citing – as is the failure to wear a helmet. Helmets for cyclists are important just as seat belts for drivers.

  • […] Drive SUV on Sidewalk, Hit 5 Children: 0 Summonses; Drive Bicycle on Sidewalk, Hit Nicole Kidman: 3 … […]

  • […] The continued evolution of New York City’s streets depends on a combination of smart, multimodal planning and better enforcement of drivers who flout the law. The continued re-engineering of our streets to safely accommodate all users must be supported by a police force that, for example, knows that driving onto a sidewalk and maiming pedestrians should result in a stiffer penalty than riding a bicycle on a sidewalk. […]

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