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Transportation

Vehicle Attacks Are Not Inevitable

Cars kill, in acts of terror and everyday collisions. Cities have tools to stop it.
The aftermath of Tuesday's vehicle attack in New York City.
The aftermath of Tuesday's vehicle attack in New York City. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

When you ride a bike in a city, there’s a great sense of safety in numbers. That’s why those Critical-Mass-style rides, where great clots of cyclists fill city streets until no cars can fit, are so intoxicating. In the sea of spokes and pedals, you feel untouchable. Tuesday afternoon was a reminder of how fragile that feeling is.

Around 3 p.m., a driver veered a rented pickup truck into a crowded bike path in lower Manhattan, killing eight cyclists and pedestrians and injuring 11, as he plowed down the corridor for nearly a mile. Near Stuyvesant High School, he struck a school bus filled with students before being apprehended by police. The path was strewn with mangled bodies and bike parts. Some of the children who witnessed the event were reportedly too traumatized to speak.