DETROIT (WWJ) - Attorney and disabled rights activist Richard Bernstein is suing New York City after being hit by a bicyclist while walking in Central Park.
The well-known metro Detroit attorney, who is blind, was in the park training to participate in his 18th NYC marathon when he was hit by a bicycle in a pedestrian lane.
“I was walking down a hill and a cyclist was going, what the police officer said, about 35 miles an hour, and he lost control of his bike,” Bernstein told WWJ. “And then he hit me square on from behind and it was a very hard hit.”
Bernstein, 38, suffered extensive injuries in the crash, including a broken hip and pelvis, as well as severe dental issues, and has been recovering at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York since Aug. 13.
Bernstein, who earlier said he had no plans to sue the cyclist that hit him, said he is filing suit to “make Central Park a safe place for everybody,” not to make money.
“I’m fighting just to make the park safer; safer for children, safer for seniors, safer for disabled people. I’m just trying to make this a better, safer park,” Bernstein told WDIV.
The lawsuit claims the park in inaccessible to the handicapped because the city doesn’t enforce rules for bicyclists — including a 25 mile per hour speed limit. It also claims the park doesn’t have adequate pedestrian signals.
“If you know that people are not adhering to the rules and you don’t do anything about it, the park is not accessible,” Bernstein told the New York Daily News.
Bernstein is expected to file the lawsuit on Thursday.
“I want (the city) to present an action plan on how they are going to make the park safer, with a timeline,” he told the New York Daily News.
Richard Bernstein is the son of attorney Sam Bernstein. The family law firm is well-known across Michigan for their work with victims of personal injury accidents and for TV commercials featuring the slogan, “1-800-Call-Sam.”