Why Enforce Traffic Laws When You Can Slap Reflective Tape on the Elderly?


We all know how liberating it feels to drive an automobile in Midtown Manhattan, tearing past some of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States, gridlocked stoplight to gridlocked stoplight. But between clenching your teeth, refreshing Waze, and slamming the gas pedal down at the first opportunity to gain precious ground, it can be hard to determine whether that shape in the crosswalk ahead of you is a lump of asphalt or an elderly human being.

Two months after an 80-year-old man was killed by a driver on West 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, the NYPD’s Midtown North Precinct is making senior citizens safer. Conventional thinkers might assume the best way to do this is by ticketing cars who exceed the speed limit and ignore pedestrian right-of-way. But Midtown North has an innovative, outside-of-the-box solution: make senior citizens shinier and thus more visible to speeding drivers.

Midtown North issues fewer than one summons for speeding or failure to yield to a pedestrian per day [PDF]. It’s not clear if these enforcement numbers are enough to sufficiently make a measurable impact on traffic safety in the area, because the city has not published any crash data since February

To be fair, Midtown North has also educated drivers on safe [car emoji]…from a booth on the sidewalk.