Friends keep vigil for park crash victim

Park lover in a coma after being run down by cyclist
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A beloved Prospect Park volunteer was badly injured — and is now in a coma — after a collision with a cyclist on her own turf last Thursday.

Linda Cohen, a 54-year-old power-walker, was crossing West Lake Drive near the Vanderbilt Playground at 2:50 pm, when she was struck by a 61-year-old racing cyclist headed southbound, according to cops.

Cohen was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where doctors induced a coma, according to the blog, A Walk in the Park, which first reported the Nov. 3 accident.

Cohen’s friends and a nephew have been keeping vigil at the hospital, as Cohen has no children. A brother is also in from Texas.

“It’s terrible to see her this way,” said her friend, Nancy Moccaldi. “She’s such a vibrant and active person.”

Another friend, Florence Weintraub of Windsor Terrace, said that Cohen walked five miles a day in the park.

“She’s intimately familiar with the park, which is why it’s so surprising that she was hit,” Weintraub said. “She was at my house the day before she was hit, and we were actually discussing the danger of the bikes and how there need to be more regulations.”

The crash comes after at least three cycling-related accidents plagued the park this past summer — and after park-goers complained to the city about hazy bike-and-walking path rules on the very same loop.

In this case, the cyclist stayed at the scene and was not issued a summons or charged with a crime.

“We all just have to be careful and pay attention,” said Paul Nelson, spokesman for Prospect Park Alliance. “Our thoughts and prayers are with [Cohen] and her family for a speedy and full recovery.”

A task force will meet next week to examine how to better — and more safely — share the street.

Prospect Park Road Sharing Task Force [meet at the Prospect Park picnic house, south of the Third Street entrance, (646) 393-9031], Nov. 16, 6 pm.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.