Despite these stated priorities of making NYC a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists, the death of Schenkman shows just how far NYC has to go in actually making the vision a reality. Schenkman was an avid cyclist, and was very familiar with the roads and rules of the road, having previously worked as a driver’s education instructor in Queens and running his own Volvo repair shop. Schenkman regularly rode his bicycle for 20 miles a day around the Queens neighborhoods where he was struck and killed.
Schenkman’s accident occurred on Northern Blvd in Queens, an area that was included as one of the most dangerous intersections for bicycle traffic in the Vision Zero agenda. Schenkman was pedaling east when he was struck by a Chevy Impala. The exact circumstances of the accident have not been widely reported, but, as one observer told the New York Daily News, “Cars go really fast here…They don’t stop. You have to have your eyes open.” Schenkman’s son lamented the general cultural attitude towards bicyclist safety in the United States, saying, “ We have a dream of Vision Zero, but cyclists continue to die on the streets of New York City at an alarming rate…Bicycles and cars don’t seem to work here. Bicycles aren’t looked at as positively as they are in Europe or even Canada. That has to change.”