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Santa Monica Mayor Advises 'Situational Awareness' After NYC Bike Path Attack

 
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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

November 1, 2017 -- Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer on Tuesday advised cyclists and the city’s general publicto use "situational awareness” in the wake of a terrorist attack that left eight people dead and 11 more injured on a popular Manhattan bike and pedestrian path.

“My thoughts are with the people of New York as this tragic event in Lower Manhattan unfolds,” Winterer tweeted after being alerted to the rampage, in which a man in a rented pickup truck plowed through a popular bicycle path around 3 p.m.

The speeding truck careened many blocks, striking bicyclists and pedestrians, before colliding with a small school bus, injuring two adults and two children inside, on Chambers Street, according to officials.

Like the rest of the country, Santa Monica shuddered as it tried to absorb the act of terrorism just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center.

But Tuesday’s tragedy also came as the City prepares for a big bike ride on Saturday led by Winterer, to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of “Breeze,” the City’s bike-share program.

The five-mile ride starts at 10 a.m. from the 17th Street Expo Station and ends an hour later at The Albright (258 Santa Monica Pier) and a bruncheon birthday party.

Winterer had general advice for the community, which the City has been urging to turn to alternative transportation -- including bicycling and walking -- to help clear car-clogged streets.

“The best thing for the public to do is to have situational awareness,” Winterer said. “Being alert on a bike while you commute to work and keeping your eyes open for any suspicious activity while strolling your neighborhood helps us all. Remember when you see something, say something and call 9-1-1."

“The City of Santa Monica takes emergency planning very seriously. The Santa Monica Police and Fire Departments have been trained extensively in public safety terrorism tactics and are in constant contact with their state and federal partners.”

Although biking and walking are still used by a relatively small percentage of residents, workers and visitors in Santa Monica –- cars are still king –- the “Breeze” program is prized by the City as a way to get more of the public pedaling.

It provides 500 “smart” bikes for rental at more than 80 stations citywide.

The suspect in Tuesday’s Manhattan attack was shot in the abdomen by a police officer, New York police said, but is out of surgery now.

A pellet gun and a paintball gun were recovered from the scene, according to published reports, which also said the man emerged from the truck shouted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great.”

The suspect has been identified as a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant named Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who entered the United States in 2010.

"This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them."

 


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