Thirteen-year-old Andrew Alati began biking southbound across Hempstead Turnpike on the afternoon of June 30, 2019. A thunderstorm had just rolled through, but the sun was back out and all eight lanes gleamed in the light like bright teeth.
Andrew was headed to Target. It was just on the other side. His friends Aiden and Ethan were already there. For years, the boys’ parents had driven them across the eight-lane thoroughfare that lay like a dividing line down the middle of the residential neighborhoods where the families lived. The street was a dark presence, a real monster. Everyone knew it. Drivers had hit a lot of people on Hempstead Turnpike in the last decade, an average of three a month.
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But Andrew and his friends were now officially teenagers and the parents had decided amongst themselves that it was time to let them cross on their own. The kids had lobbied for it because they went everywhere on their bikes in the summer and waiting on their parents to take them across was an affront to their liberty. Plus, it was embarrassing. Andrew’s mom, Diana, was the last to cave. She worried. She would always drive him across and drop him at the Speedway gas station on the far side so he could save face and ride the rest of the way to his friends waiting for him behind the high school. But how long could she keep that up?
So across Andrew went. He crossed, probably, in the crosswalk because he’d been taught he’d be protected there. But there wasn’t much protection. Only a narrow concrete median about the height of a curb down the middle of the turnpike, and a white-striped crosswalk. No dillydallying in a road like that. On that stretch of Hempstead Turnpike between Berger and Wantagh avenues in Levittown, a hamlet of around 50,000 residents on Long Island, the road is flanked by busy retail centers—a Target, a Mattress Firm, E Smoke & Beer Island, a Chase branch, a Dollar Tree. Cars buzz into and out of those parking lots all day.
Once he was across Hempstead Turnpike, Andrew pedaled up the Target parking lot with its capacity for some 620 cars. Finally he reached Aiden and Ethan. Andrew! Inside they played video games. They staged pool-noodle fights. They tried on clothes they had no intention of buying. It was summer. They were kids.
Back home Diana was making dinner.
Hempstead Turnpike is a congested section of state Highway 24 that starts at the edge of New York City, the eastern border of Queens, near a ballfield encircled by an on-ramp. It runs 16 miles east into Long Island, through Elmont, Franklin Square, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Uniondale, Salisbury, East Meadow, Levittown, Plainedge, and Farmingdale. These villages and hamlets, many of which comprise the town of Hempstead, are a mix of dense suburban development and commercial sprawl. Schools, libraries, and quaint homes with manicured lawns and immaculate fences steps away from bustling strip malls. The population density where it begins, in Queens County, is more than 21,000 people per square mile (much higher than the 429-per-square-mile average population density in the rest of the state). So many people with so many things to buy that they amass a crush of cars that squeeze through Hempstead Turnpike into a county, Nassau, with a quarter of that density. When a red light turns green, all the drivers accelerating collectively whoosh like one big beast exhaling.
The street is a conflict zone, where people driving cars and trucks clash with residents on foot, on bikes, in wheelchairs, on skateboards, on scooters. In many sections it is wider than an interstate. There are sidewalks but no bike lanes. Medians, where they exist, are generally low to the ground or just yellow paint on pavement. The speed limit on most sections is between 30 and 40 miles per hour, but drivers tend to ignore that, as they do on many arterials, when they’re not stuck in traffic. Off-peak, the average speed has been clocked at 50 to 55 mph. Some drivers do 65. Some drag-race at night.
Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that the communities the turnpike runs through consistently have the highest annual death rate for cyclists and pedestrians in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In recent years, Hempstead Turnpike has been dubbed the most dangerous street in all of downstate New York and Connecticut and New Jersey by the Tri State Transportation Campaign, a regional advocacy group that studies traffic safety. According to data from the Nassau County and Hempstead Village police departments, drivers on Hempstead Turnpike hit more than 320 cyclists and pedestrians between 2011 and 2021, 13 of whom have died. (Six were killed during the year that I’ve been reporting this story.) And the collision toll is likely higher; cops generally know about an incident only if someone calls 911.
The street is a conflict zone, where people driving cars and trucks clash with residents on foot, on bikes, in wheelchairs, on skateboards, on scooters.
There’s a numbness in the numbers, though. They don’t tell you how, on the night of November 28, 2012, 6-year-old David Granados was sleeping in his bed when a bus jumped the curb on Hempstead Turnpike and crashed into his room and crushed him. Or how a high school kid was walking across Hempstead Turnpike on the morning of August 20, 2015, when the green light at the cross street turned red and a driver hit him. They don’t tell you how a 5-year-old boy was walking along the sidewalk of Hempstead Turnpike on April 19, 2016, when a driver pulled out of the Wells Fargo parking lot and struck him. They don’t tell you how a man police could not identify was biking across Hempstead Turnpike late at night on July 16, 2017, when a driver ran into him and then hit a telephone pole, and the man, bleeding out, died right there in the street. Nor do they tell you how, on June 4, 2021, 51-year-old John Franz was pushing his bike across Hempstead Turnpike when a driver hit him. Franz was a friend of Andrew’s family. He did not survive.
There are, of course, many monsters in America. In 2019, in Tampa, drivers killed 20 pedestrians and six cyclists, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data. In Detroit, they killed 28 pedestrians and two cyclists. In Tucson: 41 pedestrians and six cyclists. Dallas: 59 pedestrians and three cyclists. Houston: 81 pedestrians and 16 cyclists. New York City: 118 pedestrians and 24 cyclists. When we asked our streets to accommodate higher speeds and more cars, what we traded was safety.
Staring down the scope of the violence can feel like looking into the sun, but let’s do it anyway. Can you guess how many soldiers we lost in battle in the 18 years following the attacks of September 11? Seven-thousand-and-fourteen. Now consider how many people not in cars were killed by people driving cars in the same timeframe: 112,519. U.S. drivers killed 16 times more Americans than were killed in combat after 9/11, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Seychelles, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, and Cuba.
And on that day two decades and one year ago, do you remember how many people died in the attacks on 9/11?
Attilio and Diana Alati outside their home, October 2, 2021.
Two-thousand-nine-hundred-and-ninety-six. About every five months, on average, that many people who are not in cars are killed by people driving cars. Picture that: Every five months, American Airlines Flight 11 flying into the North Tower and then United Airlines Flight 175 flying into the South Tower and then American Airlines Flight 77 flying into the Pentagon. Every five months, a national tragedy on a loop.
Andrew, Aiden, and Ethan got bored after an hour in Target that afternoon on June 30, 2019, so they returned to their bikes outside. Biking gave Andrew the independence few other things could give a kid. In the summer he’d go everywhere on his bike with his friends. They’d bike to the high school and play football, basketball, baseball, or lacrosse for eight hours, breaking only for Taco Bell or for Slurpees at the Speedway convenience store, where Andrew would mix all the flavors until they turned brown. Gross.
Sometimes they’d roll 19 or 20 strong, a herd of kids moving through their territory on paths only they knew. They were a community unto themselves. Centuries before them—before the crosswalks and sidewalks and the Walgreens and Wendy’s and the stinking exhaust and the blaring horns—the indigenous Rockaway people likely beat their own path into existence, walking west to east and east to west over sandy fields and muddy flats and fern gullies so dense in bramble they blinked out the sun. That path probably became Hempstead Turnpike.
Around the 1650s, English colonizers started widening the footpath for wagons. They filled pits with fallen trees and broken branches and packed them in dirt to hold them in place, but they routed around obstacles whenever they could. They only leveled the earth where they had to. They marked their path, as was the custom, with ax chops in trees. At first, the path saw few travelers, except in May when the purebred horses shook the ground in the great Hempstead Plains. Those races brought the masses. Hempstead Turnpike, from all the horse hooves and wagon wheels, would lay pocked and rutted for weeks afterward.
And it grew. In the span of some 200 years, it expanded to the width of a small airstrip. It matured from loose duff to packed dirt. By the 1880s it had grown into a layer of gravel that collected a fine dust and was flanked by flowering trees and summer homes.
Cyclists loved Hempstead Turnpike, and at the end of the 19th century people loved cycling. The pastime was booming. “Since I first learned to ride,” a woman told a reporter in 1897, “I have traveled all over Long Island, besides taking little trips up New York State and in New Jersey.” On one breezy Sunday a year later, Hempstead Turnpike saw some 70,000 cyclists pedaling to the military encampment in the plains. Seventy thousand! The farmers were so shocked they dropped their chores and sat on their stoops and hung on their gates and gaped, according to one reporter, at all “them bicycle fellers.”
Hempstead Turnpike was not born a monster. For two-thirds of its life, it was a narrow path through deep woods, a pleasing road over wind-bent plains.
Then came the cars.
The intersection where Andrew was killed, photographed in October 2021.
AUTOMOBILES! newspaper ads from the time yelled. $100 to $5,000. Gasoline, Steam, Electric. Call, write, or phone first. FORD! One of the first. CADILLAC! The Standard of the World. READ CAREFULLY: Is your auto maker solid? You need to know because the day of reckoning in the automobile industry is here.
And it was. At the turn of the 20th century, cost of living was dropping while the spending power of the working class was climbing—and cars were cheap, cheap, cheap! PLYMOUTH! America’s Lowest-Priced Full-Size Car—$695.
More people could buy cars, and on Long Island, where the population doubled between 1920 and 1930, there were many more people to buy them. Most of the Long Islanders who bought cars saw them like most of the people who bought bicycles saw their bicycles—as vehicles for recreation—and they wanted places to recreate. By 1929, the state began planning scenic driving routes around the island, and Hempstead Turnpike was changing. “Many excellent motor roads converge at HEMPSTEAD,” a 1929 Long Island driver’s handbook read, “giving it the cognomen, ‘The Hub of Long Island.’”
Drivers had complained about its conditions. Hempstead Turnpike was bumpy. It was dusty. It was muddy. It was slow. But as car ownership grew, its ruts were flattened. Its surface was paved. Its streetlights were electrified. Many of the homes that lined the road were given garages. And when Hempstead Turnpike finally met their demands, drivers got possessive, and there were many more drivers. Cars and cars for blocks and blocks. Moving. Stopping. Moving. Stopping. Traffic like you wouldn’t believe.
It was as if everyone who’d once had a right to that road was now in the way.
Carriage drivers? Antiquated rubes creeping at the pace of the previous century. Bicyclists? They’d run you down and snatch your pearls and your purse. Public transportation, like Hempstead’s elevated subway? An “eyesore,” wrote a local reporter in 1929, “not adapted for use in congested sections.” Sidewalks? Misguided parking spaces. Pedestrians? A menace to the law-abiding, God-fearing driver. A police commissioner announced war against them in 1930, and five years later cops were ticketing pedestrians 14 times more than drivers.
All this ire for everyone else on the roads was conspicuous even at the time. People joked in the papers about how hated the pedestrian had become. One Brooklyn newspaper ran this headline: “Guns for Drivers to Shoot a Clear Path Really Needed.” “Indeed,” the author wrote, “the tribe of pedestrians would be completely wiped out and we could all drive…at 60 miles an hour, with nothing to collide with except other people’s cars.” Another paper, rather aptly, advertised for pedestrians “a goodly supply of Fourteenth Century armor.” “Bumpers,” it said, “can be welded on by a new process at almost any good service station.”
Drivers, you see, weren’t the problem. Everyone else was. But how did such a notion pop into their heads all at once?
A memorial for a cyclist killed on Hempstead Turnpike.
The auto industry likes to sell itself as the product of consumer choice and free markets, but in reality, it is also a product of propaganda. Today most Americans who own a car don’t dwell on the people that car culture has killed. But they did in the early years. Those deaths were news, and they were bad news for the auto industry. So in 1924, the industry trade group, the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce, launched a PR campaign. It told papers around the country that if they would provide the NACC with statistics about crashes in their cities, the NACC would write them stories about the traffic in their cities free of charge. The aim of this campaign was to shift the blame for the violence from their customers (the drivers of their cars) to the victims (the pedestrians and cyclists struck by those drivers).
And it worked, rapidly, says Peter Norton, author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. “They shifted the dialogue,” he says. The same year the NACC launched its wire service, the pejorative term “jaywalker” entered the dictionary. It was a nasty word back then. Its crude roots are in “jay,” slang at the time for a country bumpkin, a peasant so ignorant, the auto industry told the public, they couldn’t even determine how to cross the street.
This early support for the automobile redefined our streets from public spaces for everyone into private spaces for drivers, Norton says. “This required changing laws, social norms, engineering standards, and perceptions of safety. By the 1930s,” he says, “motordom had mostly succeeded in this effort.”
From the beginning, drivers have killed, and there was a brief period where we, as a society, found that shocking. But then we just began to blame the victims.
Why did 50-year-old John Lyons have to be working on the railroad tracks that crossed Hempstead Turnpike so early that morning on December 12, 1909, at the exact time that a driver was speeding down the road? Sure, the driver hit him and flung him 15 feet and, yes, killed him, but the sun wasn’t even up. And we can admit the sleek car a Manhattan resident was driving on Hempstead Turnpike on August 23, 1910, did make contact with a 17-year-old on his bike, but isn’t it possible he was really the one who hit the car? And 75-year-old Charles Fleming, a retired actor who was walking across Hempstead Turnpike on the night of August 7, 1915, should think first about the trauma he surely caused the driver who knocked him down when he put himself in the way.
The three boys were biking now to Ethan’s house, which is on the same side of Hempstead Turnpike as Target, the south side. Andrew wouldn’t yet be crossing to get home on the north side. The boys’ parents always talked about what was the best age to let the kids cross on their own. Is 10 too young? Fourteen too old? “You never knew the right age,” Laura Byrne told me. She lives next door to the Alatis, grew up near Hempstead Turnpike, raised her kids near it, and watched other kids cross when they seemed too young. Byrne began letting her kids cross at 13 or so. Whenever they did, she made them call her so she could talk to them while they were crossing.
“There’s a lot of problems. It’s no secret,” says Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, a regional planning group. Hempstead Turnpike is dangerous for the same reasons many American streets are. The turnpike cleaves suburban communities in half so kids like Andrew must cross it to see their friends. The turnpike defies common zoning sense by pitting people like Andrew with all the drivers drawn by commercial sprawl. The turnpike’s lanes are wide—more than enough room for a single car—so those drivers can drive faster more confidently. And, at times, those drivers ignore the speed limit. When traffic is light, “folks are driving at crazy speeds from stop light to stop light,” Alexander says. At its widest, Hempstead Turnpike is more than 90 feet across—the length of a basketball court—so pedestrians or cyclists must cross a great distance to reach the curb. When they get there, sometimes they have to step back into the street to get around a telephone pole. “It’s designed as a highway, essentially, and it’s going through these communities,” Alexander said. “There’s a tragic cost to that.”
Why are our streets so violent? We know why. The thing is we don’t want to slow down.
But it’s progress, he says without irony, that today the New York DOT even acknowledges the problem. “Safety is always a top priority of the New York State Department of Transportation,” a spokesperson told me in a statement.
The agency used to blame the violence on “pedestrian error,” Alexander says. It was “joyfully hostile” to their needs. In 1996, for instance, when he and his group began advocating for safer streets, officials told Alexander that they are not designing roads for walking and biking on Long Island because Long Islanders don’t do those things—Long Islanders drive. “They said, ‘You change the land use, we’ll change the road.’”
In the last 25 years, the land use has changed, according to Vision Long Island polling. More people are walking and biking now. Only about a third of Long Islanders near the beginning of this century said they wanted to live in a downtown area, where you can get around without a car. A decade later, by 2012, nearly half of respondents said they wanted to live downtown. That trend has continued, Alexander said, and recently the pandemic has amplified it.
But the DOT, an enormous bureaucracy, hasn’t kept up, he says, and Hempstead Turnpike is still all about the automobile. “I don’t want to completely dump on them,” Alexander says. They are making changes, he adds, “but it’s been a rough, long road.”
In its statement, the DOT spokesperson said, “In recent years, NYSDOT has implemented hundreds of safety enhancements along Hempstead Turnpike (State Route 24) in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. These measures, intended to support road users of all abilities, include but are not limited to construction of new and wider crosswalks, installation of new high-visibility signage and pavement markings, raised pedestrian medians and refuge islands, and adjusted signal timing to calm traffic in key areas. The results of these enhancements have been overwhelmingly positive as crashes along this highway involving pedestrians and bicyclists have declined by more than 50 percent.”
These efforts are commendable, but when I crunched the numbers provided by the NYSDOT, I found that the figure is closer to 30 percent. So, yes, the DOT is making changes, just not as fast as it would like you to think.
By the time the three boys reached Ethan’s house that afternoon, they were hungry, so they hung around in the garage eating ice pops. But Andrew had worked up an appetite. He went to the freezer and started gnawing on Ethan’s peanut-butter-and-jelly Uncrustables. Didn’t even wait for them to defrost. What a crazy kid. Two years later his friends would laugh at that memory. Andrew made a lot of funny ones.
Like that time months earlier when Andrew helped his friend Liam trick his parents. Liam wanted to play baseball, but he was pretty bad. Every time he hit the ball that day it went nowhere. But Andrew was good at baseball. Really he was good at just about all the sports. A true athlete. So Andrew put on Liam’s hoodie, and they shot a video of Andrew looking like Liam smashing balls into the outfield. When Liam’s parents saw it, they thought, Wow. Maybe we should put him in baseball.
Andrew was a natural athlete and excelled at any sport he tried. He especially loved baseball.
Andrew took to athletics. He learned to ride at age 4, when the family was visiting relatives in Italy. There was a bicycle at the home where they were staying. He picked it up and began pedaling circles in the gravel driveway. Just like that. That was Andrew, a real athlete. “Don’t get hurt!” his mom had said. And that was Diana. She worried.
In the summer, as soon as he and his older brother Angelo were big enough, their dad, Attilio, began taking them for three-hour rides around Long Island. They particularly liked the bike path that ran along Ocean Parkway. Most weekends they’d ride some 10 miles out to a food truck at Jones Beach and get hot dogs. Then they’d ride back in the ocean wind and Attilio would be pleased he had this to share with them.
Andrew’s bike was a blue and gray Trek that he covered with stickers: Fly High, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. He stuck the rims with LED-light strips so that they flashed like roulette wheels, and he spent hours in Aiden’s kitchen with the bike upside down, snapping blue and orange straws over each spoke. Blue and orange for the New York Islanders, his favorite hockey team.
The three boys had biked to a park when Aiden’s phone suddenly rang. It was his mom. Time for him to head home. He left on his bike, and Ethan and Andrew pedaled back to Target and went into the store.
Now Andrew’s phone rang. His mom. He stuffed it back into
It rang again: his dad. Andrew picked up.
“I said, ‘Get your ass home. It’s dinnertime.’ And that,” Attilio says, releasing a long breath, “is the last time I spoke to him.”
On June 30, 2019, Andrew entered the left lane on the far side of the road as a 19-year-old was driving down it in a red Toyota Camry. In a statement included in the police report, the driver said he was headed to Starbucks and estimated he was going 55 mph. The speed limit was 40. At 55 mph, it takes the distance of a football field to stop a car. Suddenly there was a boy on a bike in the road before him and now that boy and his bike were rolling up the hood and into the windshield that abruptly shattered and now they were airborne and now they were not and the driver was pulling off to the side of the road and running over to the boy lying in the road by his twisted bike but the boy wasn’t moving. It all happened so quickly. The driver called 911.
An hour and a half later, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Andrew was pronounced dead.
The Alatis sued the driver, as well as the Town of Hempstead and the County of Nassau, for allegedly causing Andrew’s death. The driver filed an answer in court, denying the family’s allegations and denying he is responsible. That lawsuit is still pending. The Alati family also sued the state, but the suit was dismissed, although they can refile if they are able to find evidence of a design flaw along the section of Hempstead Turnpike where Andrew was killed. Their attorney thinks it’s unlikely they will. The street appears designed precisely to engineering standards; it’s just that those standards prize the combustion engine over the beating heart.
(When reached by phone, the driver who hit Andrew declined to comment, citing pending litigation. His name has been withheld because he was not arrested or charged, and the civil lawsuit is ongoing.)
Ten days later, the local Levittown Tribune ran a letter titled “Boys and Bikes” that reported on Andrew’s death along with gangs of “harassing kids” weaving bikes in and out of traffic “for fun.” The author, a local pastor, was clear that the gangs he mentioned did not include Andrew and his friends, and he lamented Andrew’s death. But his tone was chiding and accusatory. “And as for those boys on bikes who started the summer by seeking thrills by creating havoc in traffic,” Father Ralph Sommer wrote, “I hope the real danger of mixing cars and bikes will become clear and they’ll find something constructive to do with their summer days.”
Drivers, you see, aren’t the problem. Everyone else is.
Incidents like these are rarely definitive. Records of such fleeting scenes often live only in the minds of the people involved, where they can play them and replay them like movie frames on celluloid that degrade with each rewinding, rewatching, retelling.
The driver told the police he thought he was driving faster than the speed limit. Andrew, according to the police report, did not have the cross signal. The police couldn’t tell whether Andrew was crossing on the crosswalk or in the street. But the police weren’t even there when it happened. The family’s lawsuit against New York State alleged that there was no crosswalk, or the crosswalk was improperly painted. Meanwhile, from a witness: “I saw a kid on a bike riding in the crosswalk. I then saw a small car hit the kid.”
But does any of this information, jumbled and conflicting, negate the value of Andrew’s life or the tragedy of his death?
Andrew was doing what most people do when the street looks clear, and the driver was doing what many drivers do when the street allows it. We do it daily. The thing is that the consequences for such actions can be absolute. You chance your life when you step off a curb, and you chance another’s if you speed in a car. On the day Andrew was killed, at least 12 other people not in cars were killed by people driving cars in America.
The day after Andrew was killed, drivers would continue killing, and by the end of the year they would kill some 3,907 more people not in cars.
The year Andrew was killed, the automobile industry sold or leased more than 62 million cars. It was an all-time high.
The value of those sales was $1.5 billion, a mighty windfall for the American economy. So were the jobs the industry maintained: 4.3 million the year Andrew was killed.
There is a garden behind Andrew’s middle school. A boomerang of dark mulch with a squat tree in the center and a bush on each edge. Pink and white and orange and red flowers shiver in the wind on a stormy day in July 2021, two years and 21 days after Andrew was killed. Students built the garden in his memory. There are dozens of little stones with messages: “Miss you my G.” “Love you bro.” “Fly high Andrew.”
“It’s going to pour,” Attilio says. Thunder cracks.
Every day, Diana and Attilio relive the day their son died. Diana can still see the tracking app on her phone showing Andrew’s thumbnail motionless in the middle of Hempstead Turnpike. Attilio, first to the scene, hears the cop refusing to answer his question:
Is he alive?
Just answer my question. Is he alive?
They’re still working on him.
At the hospital they see the vertical arms of the worker pumping up and down on their son’s chest and for a moment feel a shard of hope, and then later they see his body under the white sheet. First there was shock. Then deep, dark sadness. “I was like, holy shit,” Attilio says. “My son is no longer here.”
Andrew’s number 4 hangs in tribute at the ballfield behind his middle school.
Every night, Diana enters his room. She doesn’t touch anything. Everything is exactly as he’d had it. The white Titleist visor over the bedpost. Captain America’s stuffed head behind an orange and blue pillow. Above the bed a canvas painted with an orange ball falling into a net. Diana still can’t comprehend the injustice of her boy’s death. No one was held accountable. Not the driver, who never apologized. Not the DOT, which exaggerates its progress. Not the cops, who couldn’t even get right the address where he was killed. She asked the Nassau County Police Department to correct the error but the department would not. That little respect, she says, for her son.
“People don’t feel bad for the deceased,” she says. Talking about the driver, she says, “They go, ‘Hey, he’s young. He has to live with this.’ Well, I have to live with this. I have to live with the fact that Andrew isn’t here, every day, every minute.” She spent Mother’s Day in 2022 at his grave.
“For God’s sake, let’s look at Andrew here, the person who is not here. The life that he could have had, the value of what he could have been in his years to come,” she says. “But he never had a chance.”
The summer Andrew was killed, his friends stopped riding their bikes. They’d still hang out, but their bikes reminded them of Andrew and it was too painful. Andrew’s brother, Angelo, now 18, stopped riding his bike, too, even though he saved up the money to buy it himself. And Lucia, Andrew’s little sister, now 6, has finally started talking to a counselor about her brother’s death. She doesn’t cry. She just gets mad and doesn’t know why. She was 4 when he was killed.
We leave the garden and walk to Attilio’s red Toyota Forerunner. There’s one other thing Diana wants me to see before it pours, something she hasn’t been able to bring herself to see since she lost her son: the spot where he was killed. Attilio drives by the intersection every morning when he leaves for work and every night when he returns. He can’t figure it out. How did it happen? Maybe the sun blinded the driver; he was headed west, and it was afternoon. But, no, police said the driver was not blinded. Maybe, then, a tractor-trailer was in the turn lane and Andrew couldn’t see the traffic on the far side. “But I’ve done that thousands of times,” he says, “and I can see.”
We reach the Target parking lot and Diana stays in the Forerunner with her seat belt buckled, and Attilio and I get out and walk to the intersection. The road is eight lanes wide. Cars are blasting west and east and east and west at such a volume and speed they howl. Attilio watches the cars. They move like one big animal. Every day in our country, this animal kills people. You won’t often hear about it on the news because it’s old news. We decided that long ago when the combustion engine became king and everything in its path was made subservient, when we asked our streets to accommodate higher speeds and more volume, and we allowed ourselves, with some coaxing from the automobile industry and positive feedback from our economy, to forget what we traded. What we traded were lives. More than 306,000 people not in cars have been killed by people in cars just since 1975, when the federal government began counting. But who, really, is counting? Counting the dead forces a question in our heads: Why are our streets so violent? We know why. The thing is we don’t want to slow down. Instead, we impugn the dead and the wounded and tell ourselves they should have been more careful. Jaywalkers. Kids on bikes. Watch out.
Attilio doesn’t think he’ll ever learn exactly what happened the day his boy was killed, but he won’t stop searching for the answer. Inertia is too painful. “I was the last one to speak to him and the first one to find out what happened,” he says. “Not a good feeling.” The sky behind Attilio is black. Lightning flashes and thunder cracks. It is going to pour, so we turn our backs on the monster that killed his boy and walk to the big red SUV where Diana is waiting, seat belt buckled.
Dan Schwartz is an independent journalist based in the American West who often writes about the environment and outdoors for national magazines. He can be reached at danjschwartz.com.
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|Country||Road traffic deaths due to alcohol|
|10 deadliest highways in the U.S.|
|Highway||2019 Fatalities||Fatalities per 100 miles|
|1. I-95 2. I-20 3. I-5 4. I-75 5. I-35 6. I-15 7. I-40 8. I-70 9. I-80 10. US-41||284 208 186 237 197 158 253 158 209 141||14.88 13.52 13.47 13.27 12.56 11.02 9.89 7.35 7.21 7.02|
Why is 81 so dangerous? ›
Today, 1 in every 4 vehicles on the interstate is a big rig. On some sections of the road, that number increases to nearly 2 in every 4 vehicles. This increased flow of traffic led to nearly 266 fatal crashes between 1998 and 2008, many of which were directly influenced by tractor trailers on the road.How can cycling accidents be prevented? ›
- Make Sure You're Riding the Right Size Bike. ...
- Double Check Your Brakes. ...
- Always Use Headlights. ...
- Always Wear a Helmet. ...
- Don't Ride While Wearing Headphones. ...
- Keep Both Hands on the Handlebars. ...
- Don't Ride Too Fast.
In addition to increased helmet use, there is also a need for protected bikeways and physical improvements to increase safety (Wegman et al., 2012) . These improvements can also reduce pedestrian cyclist collisions as well (Gkekas et al., 2020). ...How can cycling injuries be prevented? ›
- Observe how you are gripping the handlebars. The grip should be firm yet relaxed.
- Change hand positions frequently.
- Remember to keep your wrist straight.
- Try padded gloves or handlebar tape to reduce the vibration.
Pennsylvania Route 487
At one point, the highway gains altitude at a 12.5-percent grade, and at its steepest, road-trippers will find themselves struggling up a 14.5-percent grade.
winding Add to list Share.What is the most famous road in America? ›
Route 66 is America's most iconic drive covering over 2,000 miles of America's countryside and rural towns.What are the 10 most dangerous roads in the world? ›
- Zojila Pass, India. ...
- Atlantic Road, Norway. ...
- Guoliang Tunnel Road, China. ...
- Skippers Canyon, New Zealand. ...
- Rodovia da Morte, Brazil. ...
- Fairy Meadows Road, Pakistan. ...
- Kolyma Highway, Russia. ...
- Bayburt D915, Turkey.
2) Why is the road from the city to the village dangerous? Ans: The road from the city to his village is dangerous because it is dark and full of snakes and scorpions.Where is the most complex road in the world? ›
Col de Turini is a is a high mountain pass in the Alps in the department of Alpes-Maritimes in France. The road is basically a long series of hairpin turns that winds up the side of the mountains. There are very few turnoff from the road and also very few houses or other buildings. Its kind of lonely yet scenic drive.
How Safe Is Death Road? ›
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT DEATH ROAD
This road stretches about 61 km, and covers La Paz to Coroico. It was officially named the world's most dangerous road in 1995, with an estimated 200 to 300 people killed on this road every year.
The road with crosses on its way
The road was built in the 1930s during the Chaco War by Paraguayan prisoners, and it was modernized during 20 years, ending in 2006. At the end of 2006, after 20 years of construction, a new road (a by-pass) from La Paz to Coroico was opened to public.
Based on Research, Findings and the reported number of Fatality rate over all the World amongst all the means of Transportation, we can conclusively state that Transportation by Road is the most dangerous means of Transportation.Why is transportation safety important? ›
The strategic goal concerning safety and security is to promote the public health and safety by working toward the elimination of transit-related deaths, injuries, property damage and the improvement of personal security and property protection.Are cruise ships safer than planes? ›
According to research compiled by the Daspit Law Firm, cruise ships have the lowest rate of deaths per billion passenger miles with 0.08. Compare that to 11.9 for rail travel, 3.3 for cars and trucks and 0.8 for commercial air, and traveling on the seas is a relatively safe venture.Which country is safest for girls? ›
- Switzerland. #1 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Germany. #2 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Canada. ...
- United States. ...
- Sweden. ...
- Japan. ...
- Australia. ...
- United Kingdom.
1. Iceland. According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland is the safest country in the world for the 14th year in a row. Iceland is a Nordic nation with a relatively small population of 340,000.Is it dangerous to drive in the USA? ›
There are more than 34,000 traffic deaths every year in this country, roughly the same as the amount of Americans killed annually by gun violence. Drunk driving is a factor in around a third of those car accidents, so it goes without saying, don't drink and drive.
What is the hardest city to drive in us? ›
The worst cities for driving are New York City, Chicago, Miami, Austin, and Los Angeles. Chicago drivers lost an average of 104 hours to traffic congestion during peak rush hour in 2021. Chicago, New York, and San Antonio had the most distracted driving fatalities in 2020.What is the best country to drive in? ›
Denmark. Denmark is the best country for car owners, according to our data. While it doesn't necessarily have the best motoring expenses-to-income ratio, the country's congestion and road quality are above average. Denmark also has one of the lower road mortality rates of all 25 nations we examined.What state has the most accidents? ›
1. South Carolina. With a 12% at-fault accident rate, South Carolina drivers cause the most accidents in the country in 2022. Unlike Massachusetts, however, the Palmetto State also has the highest traffic fatality rate in the nation.What highway has the most deaths? ›
The most dangerous highway in the U.S. is Interstate 4 (I-4) which was found to have 1.134 deaths per mile of highway. This 132 mile stretch of interstate runs between two Florida cities, Tampa and Daytona Beach, and had a total of 150 traffic fatalities between 2016 and 2019.Is US 81 a good road? ›
I-81 is a particularly scary road because of its heavy truck traffic. It is one of the top truck routes in the country even though it has only two lanes in each direction for much of its length. With many severe curves and steep hills, the highway accounts for a large number of truck-involved crashes.Is Interstate 81 a safe road? ›
Over 2,000 vehicle accidents occur on I-81 each year. About one-quarter of vehicle accidents involve large, heavy trucks. I-81 has the highest percentage of truck accidents than any other road in Virginia.Why are there so many trucks on I-81? ›
Because not all distribution centers are located near railroads, tractor trailers and other large trucks carry much of the freight short distances from the Virginia Inland Port.Are bicycles safer than cars? ›
Even though bicycle trips contribute to 1 percent of trips in the United States, bicyclists are still at a high risk of getting involved in fatal accidents with motor vehicles. Unfortunately, you are twice as likely to get killed while riding a bike than driving a car.What state has the most bicycle accidents? ›
By this definition, Delaware is the most dangerous state, followed by South Carolina and Florida, which has the most fatalities per capita.Where do most bicycle accidents occur? ›
Nearly three quarters of all bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas. Failing to yield the right of way is the highest factor in fatal bike crashes, followed by bicyclists not being visible.
What is the most important safety rule in cycling? ›
To maximize your safety, always wear a helmet AND follow the rules of the road. Bicycles in many States are considered vehicles, and cyclists have the same rights and the same responsibilities to follow the rules of the road as motorists.How many accidents are caused by bicycles? ›
Nearly 1,000 bicyclists die and over 130,000 are injured in crashes that occur on roads in the United States every year. The costs of bicycle injuries and deaths from crashes typically exceed $23 billion in the United States each year.What is the best choice for riding a bicycle safely? ›
Wear a helmet
Wearing a helmet is one of the most important things you can do to stay safe while riding a bike. In some states, you are required by law to wear a helmet when riding your bike. The NHTSA found that wearing a helmet reduced the chance of serious head injuries from bike riding by 60%.
A common reason for encountering cycling leg pain is because of a build-up of lactic acid. Whilst you are cycling the body utilises oxygen to break down glucose for energy. If the exercise intensity is too much you might run out of oxygen for this process.What injuries can cycling cause? ›
- Knee Pain. The knee is the most common site for overuse injuries in cycling. ...
- Head Injuries. ...
- Neck/Back Pain. ...
- Wrist/Forearm Pain or Numbness. ...
- Urogenital Problems. ...
- Foot Numbness and Tingling.
Hip pain in cyclists can be due to a number of pathologies including bursitis, snapping hip syndrome, impingement syndrome, labral tears or piriformis syndrome.Where is the scariest road in the world? ›
North Yungas Road, Or “The Road of Death” (Bolivia) Bolivia's “Death Road,” considered the world's most dangerous road, and it doesn't get its name for nothing! This single lane, dirt road, connecting La Paz to Coroico, clings precariously to the side of the Cordillera Oriental Mountains.What country has the deadliest roads? ›
|Country||Estimated road traffic death rate|
With a 2022 score of 3.554 (actually slightly safer than 2021's 3.631), Afghanistan remains the most dangerous country in the world for the fifth year in a row.What is the most dangerous way to travel? ›
Passenger vehicles are by far the most dangerous of the transportation options compared. Over the last 10 years, passenger vehicle death rate per 100,000,000 passenger miles was over 10 times higher than for buses, 17 times higher than for passenger trains, and 1,623 times higher than for scheduled airlines.
What is the scariest drive in America? ›
- Highway 666 (Now U.S. Route 491)
- Clinton Road- West Milford, New Jersey. ...
- Route 2A- Haynesville, Maine. ...
- The Devil's Promenade near Hornet, Missouri. ...
- Prospector's Road- Georgetown, California. ...
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, just 60 miles west of Denver, is the highest paved road in North America.Is there a road around the world? ›
There are about 64 million km (40 million mi) of all kind of roads around the globe. But not a single highway network can take you from New York directly to Cape Town. The hypothetical freeway we're about to build would easily take you from Colombia all the way to Indonesia.What is the hardest city to drive in us? ›
The worst cities for driving are New York City, Chicago, Miami, Austin, and Los Angeles. Chicago drivers lost an average of 104 hours to traffic congestion during peak rush hour in 2021. Chicago, New York, and San Antonio had the most distracted driving fatalities in 2020.What is the safest country to drive in? ›
- San Marino - 0 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
- Micronesia - 1.8.
- Maldives - 1.9.
- Norway - 2.9.
- Sweden - 3.
- Denmark - 3.
- Palestinian territories - 3.2.
- Israel - 3.3.
Denmark. Denmark is the best country for car owners, according to our data. While it doesn't necessarily have the best motoring expenses-to-income ratio, the country's congestion and road quality are above average. Denmark also has one of the lower road mortality rates of all 25 nations we examined.Which country is No 1 in world? ›
- Switzerland. #1 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Germany. #2 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Canada. ...
- United States. ...
- Sweden. ...
- Japan. ...
- Australia. ...
- United Kingdom.
- Sweden. #1 in Quality of Life. #5 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Denmark. #2 in Quality of Life. #10 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Canada. #3 in Quality of Life. ...
- Switzerland. #4 in Quality of Life. ...
- Norway. #5 in Quality of Life. ...
- Finland. #6 in Quality of Life. ...
- Germany. #7 in Quality of Life. ...
- Netherlands. #8 in Quality of Life.
Based on Research, Findings and the reported number of Fatality rate over all the World amongst all the means of Transportation, we can conclusively state that Transportation by Road is the most dangerous means of Transportation.Why is transportation safety important? ›
The strategic goal concerning safety and security is to promote the public health and safety by working toward the elimination of transit-related deaths, injuries, property damage and the improvement of personal security and property protection.
Are cruise ships safer than planes? ›
According to research compiled by the Daspit Law Firm, cruise ships have the lowest rate of deaths per billion passenger miles with 0.08. Compare that to 11.9 for rail travel, 3.3 for cars and trucks and 0.8 for commercial air, and traveling on the seas is a relatively safe venture.