Friday, November 18, 2011

Woman Hit By Cyclist In Prospect Park Sues City For $3M

Dana Jacks
Dana Jacks and her husband Forrest Cicogni filed a Notice of Claim with the city on August 3rd to recover monetary damages "due to the “negligence, carelessness and recklessness” of the City, the Parks Department and NYPD for injuries, pain and suffering, medical out-of-pocket expenses and consortium of companionship."

Court documents show she is suing the City $ 2 million dollars and her husband is suing for $ 1 million dollars as a result of a bike accident in Prospect Park on June 11, 2011 at approximately 12:15 p.m in which Ms. Jacks was seriously injured.


A beautiful Brooklyn stage actress who was mowed down last summer in a near-fatal collision with a bicyclist is suing the city for $3 million, claiming Prospect Park has become a hazard to pedestrians due to speeding cyclists, The Post has learned.

Dana Jacks, 37, who recently starred in a critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production of “Our Town,” said her crackup with cyclist David Sonenberg left her with brain trauma and face and skull fractures that kept her hospitalized for 25 days.

In her notice of claim, Jacks blames the city’s Parks Department and NYPD for their “negligent, careless and reckless” lack of traffic enforcement inside the bucolic greenspace, court documents show.

“You don’t allow cars to race in the park; you shouldn’t allow bikes to race, either,” Jacks’ husband, Forrest Cicogni, said at a meeting of a new city-task force to improve park-traffic safety.

He later compared navigating bike lanes to a game of “Frogger.”

Dana Jack's husband, Forrest Cicogni, (above) is suing the city for $ 1 million dollars for "consortium of companionship" and "loss of services." (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) click on image to enlarge.

Mr. Cicogni compared navigating the road with speeding bikes and pedestrians to a game of “Frogger.”

“Enforcement is paramount,” he said at a Prospect Park Road Sharing Task Force meeting in Prospect Park on Wednesday night. "Just like we don't let cars race in the park we shouldn't allow bikes to race."

The suit comes as the city is dealing with a rise in both cycling-related accidents in Prospect Park, and complaints that some bikers have turned the park’s popular circular roadway into their private raceway.

“Just because they wear spandex doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing,” Windsor Terrace dad-of-three Henry Astor said of the cyclists..

“I’m a hard-core cyclist, and I’m telling you these guys are out of control, and it’s threatening my children’s safety.”

City officials have recently instituted a pilot program aimed at slowing bike traffic in certain areas, but some residents say it’s done little to slow down speeding cyclists.

Three other pedestrians have been injured in collisions with bikers since Jacks’ accident, including avid power-walker and park volunteer, Linda Cohen, 54, who was struck Nov. 3.

On June 11, Jacks was walking along West Drive — shared by bikers, drivers and pedestrians — when she crossed a bike path at the intersection of Center Drive and West Lake Drive.

Her collision with cyclist Sonenberg, of Park Slope, underscored the “dangerous and hazardous” conditions in the borough’s largest park — where bikers have no speed limits and pedestrians walk at their own risk, the suit claims.

After the accident, Jacks was in Kings County Hospital for more than three weeks — two of them in intensive-care, according to family members.

Jacks, of Windsor Terrace, declined to discuss the case, but said, “My recovery is ongoing but I am receiving excellent rehabilitation.”

The couple last July filed a separate lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court against Sonenberg; he and his wife, Julie, countersued Nov. 7, claiming Jacks was at fault, walking “unlawfully outside the crosswalk” and “knocking him to the ground,” causing him serious injuries.

Sonenberg declined to comment.

City lawyers declined to comment on pending litigation, saying they had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit.

Additional reporting by Amber Sutherland and Cathy Burke

Read More:

New York Post - November 18, 2011 - By Rich Calder

The Brooklyn Paper - November 21, 2011 - By Natalie O’Neill

A Walk In The Park - November 17, 2011 - By Geoffrey croft

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