Witnesses Sought in Route 9W Bicyclist Death

Police had difficulty identifying Pomona woman because she was not carrying any ID when she was struck by a car in Upper Grandview

Orangetown police are seeking witnesses to an accident on Sunday along Route 9W in which a 53-year-old Pomona woman was struck by a car and killed.

Accident investigators were out on Route 9W Monday reviewing the scene of the fatality in hopes of better understanding the 1:49 p.m. incident which claimed the life of Janet Martinez. She was riding a bicycle alone on the state highway in the Upper Grandview section of Orangetown.

Police said Martinez was struck while traveling southbound on Route 9W by a Toyota Scion also heading southbound driven by Denise Patawaran, 25, of Sparkill. As of this afternoon, the investigation into the death was continuing and no charges had been filed.

Police said investigators were speaking with Patawaran again today after an initial interview yesterday.

Police said the investigation has been hampered by a lack of witnesses to the incident. Additionally, police said they initially had trouble identifying the victim because she did not have any identification on her.

Martinez had a cell phone and $41 cash on her at the time of the collision. Police said they were able to eventually identify her through her cell phone, however, the phone did not contain basic emergency information that cell phone users frequently imput in the "In Case of Emegnecy" feature.

After being struck, Martinez was assisted by a nurse who lives nearby and an off-duty Yonkers Emergency Service Unit police officer who stopped at the accident scene. She was also assisted by members of Rockland Paramedics.

Martinez and Patawaran were both taken to Nyack Hospital by crews from Nyack Community Ambulance Corps and the Piermont Fire Department ambulance. Martinez died at Nyack Hospital at 2:43 p.m.

Police said Martinez was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Bicyclists who were passing through the area as a group told police they did not believe Martinez was part of any group going through the area by bike on Sunday and that the type of bicycle she was riding was not a type they would expect to see being used on Route 9W.

Police are still uncertain where Martinez was going and where she came from. Investigators ask that anyone with information about the incident or anyone who might have been a witness call at 845-359-3700.

Route 9W was closed for several hours following the incident Sunday.

John Patrick Schutz June 11, 2012 at 04:01 PM
If you notice the topography in that area of 9W you'll see that a widening of the road is not possible - note that even O&R cannot get their utility poles to stand up vertically on that extreme slope on both sides. Houses are located above just feet from the road, and below just the same with little or no clearance. It's an old, old byway that deals as best it can with the limits of the ridge that it runs along. There are clear signs showing River Road to be the bike route, and when I was a kid, there was absolutely no way you would have been allowed to cycle on route 9W - I remember people who lived on it would even walk their bikes a certain distance to access more local streets. I am very saddened for this poor woman and her friends and family, and I'm also saddened for the poor woman who hit her and was hospitalized for the mental trauma. At this point it appears she was not distracted but conditions combined to form a fatal result - that may change as we learn more, but for now this was just an awful tragic accident. However, it must serve as a reminder: just as there are paths and trails and byways where a motorist cannot and should not venture, the same is true of bicycles - US Route 9W is no place for a bicyclist, and should not be. Because of the limited number of routes into southern Rockland, an exception was made near the border where it WAS possible to widen the road, however, the bike route going north leaves 9W at Tallman St Park and that should be obeyed.
Barbara Quinn Thornton June 11, 2012 at 04:18 PM
9w is too narrow without bicycles. Tragic but our roads are not wide enough for cars , bikes.
why anyone would want to ride a bike on 9w where the speed limits are higher is beyond reason..the arrogent attitudes are dangerous...trucks drive down that road....when 2 cars are in the oppisite direction and pass there can be bikers threre too,NOT Safe. on broadway nyack I have been passed way too many times on the right when driving too slow for the arrogant bike riders..on river road they ignore the single file laws all the time..how about roadblocks enforcing the laws ..maybe they will get the message to bike more safely...doubtful...but reality is..sad to say a bike is no match for any 4 wheeled vehicle..how about "ban cars "from river road a few hours on saturdays and sundays..from nyck to piermont.
joie June 11, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Hey $$$$$$, some may consider u arrogant. Back to the point though...I cycle on both Broadway and river rd on occassion w/o issue every time. Cyclists from nyc driving in packs is another issue and I believe addressed in past message threads.
Pat June 12, 2012 at 12:45 AM
So St John's Church should close their doors on Sunday to accommodate bicyclist??
Issy June 12, 2012 at 09:54 AM
Unfortunately it is that kind of arrogant attitude that leads to accidents in the like this.
Victoria Ficco-Panzer June 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM
I work many weekends and usually take River Road to Rockleigh;many times the ride is scary between cyclists and cars parked on both sides in Piermont.I also see the "ride single file"disregarded,although I think it's getting a little better this past year.
just another voice June 12, 2012 at 11:06 AM
This comment is so sadly narrow-minded. Fact of the matter is, some of these roads were made for horses! I think if we could all just start thinking more group-minded then we might be able to solve some problems. I agree that on both sides, dangerous, self-centered behaviors abound. As a cyclist in and around the roads of Nyack, I am sadly disappointed by the behaviors I witness from other cyclists who lawfully should be obeying the rules that motorists obey. Similarly, I witness "pig-headed" bullying behaviors on the side of the motorists who come adorned with a two-ton vehicle! I am not saying this poor woman in the vehicle was acting like a bully...more than likely she was distracted for that tragic mini-second that the car entered the vicinity of the cyclist. I do feel so sad for all involved. And I know well enough to stay off that stretch of 9W. Too many hills anyway.
Maggie24 June 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM
9W should be closed to cyclists between Ash Street and Old Mountain. The road is narrow and curvy; it is impossible to know if a bike will be just around the corner—and if two bikes, or bike packs, are ahead, traveling in opposite directions, the cars involved can do nothing but swerve to the middle to miss the bikers. Do we have to wait until there’s a head on crash up here? This is not about arrogance, or anti-biker feeling or anything other than common sense, courtesy and safety. The river road is flat, straight and has a posted 25 mph speed limit. 9W is curvy, narrow and even with a 40 mph limit, has traffic traveling much faster than that. Why do bikers continue to make this choice??? Several years ago—maybe a dozen—signs went up at 9W and Ash banning bikes from 9W—the good old circle and slash. They were removed almost immediately, because, as I recall, the cycling clubs launched a protest about it not being legal to ban them. Truth? If you’re dumb enough to ride on 9W and take your life in your hands, it’s your business. But if you cause harm to me or any of my loved ones—either killing them, or traumatizing them because they couldn’t avoid you—simply because of your own stubborness--it’s mine. PLEASE STAY OFF 9W. We have enough trouble with cars, trucks, buses, getting out of our driveways and speeding drivers as it is.
Anthony MJ Colistra June 12, 2012 at 01:25 PM
NYS Law: "The operator of a vehicle overtaking from behind a bicycle proceeding on the same side of a roadway shall pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear thereof." Drivers who violate the law will be cited at minimum with a traffic offense. More serious charges could follow if the driver seriously injures or kills a bicyclist while passing at less than a reasonably safe distance
heres a new reality people...all supported sady by the increase in accidents..the population is getting older...try driving in any parking lot..and see how way too many old people DO NOT LOOK both ways..or when they turn into traffic..THEIR SIDE VISION DO TO LESS MOBILITY is A FACT!!.yesterday on the Congers Road.I was driving 35 and 5 cars behind me!!the last one decided to pass everyone more than midway!!a car came dowm the hill from congers and the idiot almost got hit head on because they coudnt get back in line.People this is a 3pm.!!IN this era..aggressive driving seems to be the New Normal.9w is a given for No bikes...how about Legislation "banning any bike on any road with a speed limit over 30??????its called being safe...and protects everyone..if the bikers dont like it stay home or pack your bike and ride to a park upstate!!! so come on Carlucci lets get "ban the over 30" and stay alive!!!
jim kelly June 12, 2012 at 02:34 PM
As a cyclist I like $$$...'s suggestion, as long as we reduce the speed limit to 30 on ALL roads the are not limited access highways.
AH June 12, 2012 at 03:00 PM
In a perfect world both ideas would happen but everyone just has to drive and cycle safely. Bikers just need to realize that some roads aren't safe to bike on due to heavy traffic in this county.
David Banchetto June 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
R.I.P. Janet, we will forever love you. May god guide your family and friends in these tough times. Janet was vibrant, happy, I never saw her with out a smile, her personality was very contagious. She was always glowing. We love you Janet, we will miss you. David and staff Banchetto Feast
Family Martinez June 13, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Regardless of all that has been said regarding the road narrow or not, a person's life has been taken away needlessly. How cruel for people to say oh well the road is not narrow enough. Please be a little compassionate for the family we lost someone very special and if you read the article properly you would see she was at the intersection of treeline terrace. I would never wish this sought of loss on anyone or an enemy because it leaves the huge wound question WHY someone healthy, loving and a full life ahead of her. I would like to pray for the young woman that caused the accident and killed her I forgive you and I hope you have learned your lesson and hope you werent texting or on the phone. Come on people is a phone conversation or texting that important in your life that it cant wait not to say that this happen in this incident because investigation is still pending but still it makes you want to think. God keep us strong in your faith and bless our family because we need you to comfort us during this horrible horrible situation
smallsweet June 13, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Very well said
Teamrapia June 13, 2012 at 08:56 PM
My deepest condolences to the Martinez family! Although I did not know the victim I am saddened by this tragedy. Each of the postings holds its own validity to varying degrees. I agree that the stretch of 9w in question is extremely dangerous but the River Rd route has its own dangers. The bottom line is drivers and cyclists MUST work together to make the roadways safe for everyone. I have been witness to "bike haters" that would do whatever they can to run cyclists off the road. For areas where high volumes of cyclists pass the police should be diligent in enforcing the laws for BOTH groups. I am a cyclist and I am in full support of tougher enforcement. I truly hope the driver of the vehicle was not on her phone or texting. If she was then she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Diane Torres June 13, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Amen ... Opinions are acceptable but such callous and unneccesary "Remarks .. which sound to me like all of you think she deserved it" are unacceptable. Janet had every right to be out there enjoying a nice ride in the country side" There is such a thing as courtesy on the road. cyclists have as much right to ride on the road as you do!! Problem with many drivers today is that they drive wrecklessly and without concern for others on the road. I pray that this horrible and tragic accident that took the life of a woman who was loved by her family and friends is a lesson to everyone who drives without the least concern that they are driving a weapon that could possibly kill another person. In this case ... who knows? Only Janet and she is now gone from us forever. We suffer the effects of this accident. I pray that nothing like this ever happens to a member of your family!!!
ajudente June 16, 2012 at 02:06 AM
okay, so the driver will pay a fine. But how about the biker, he may be dead? WHat is the price for a life? How about the county creating biking parks, trails, and protecting bikers by not allowing them on such a dangerous unpredictable roads as the 9W. It is not a matter of rights, but of safety, especially the safety of the bikers. I as a motorist, I am terrified of that road, anytime I drive it, I am so nervous, it is windy, dips and curves, sudden stops, the deep drop on one side. The is no shoulder, no sidewalk, hardly enough space for two cars to drive in opposite directions. Please use common sense, make wise choices!
T June 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM
With all due respect to the Martinez family, that stretch of 9W is way too narrow, with cars & trucks routinely traveling between 40mph & 50mph. There is hardly a shoulder and with all the rain we have had, there are plenty of debris that make cycling tough. Too many times as a motorist, I have had to veer across the double yellow line just to stay clear of the cyclists. River Road & Tweed Blvd are the alternate routes to avoid 9W. Both represent safer routes due to the type of vehicles that typically travel on those roads at a much lower speed limit. It's quite possible that the young woman was texting or talking on the phone. However as a parent and a responsible adult, one has to take that into account when deciding to bike ride on basically a state highway. Unfortunately someone has to die for issues like these to be addressed. My sympathies to the Martinez family.
Issy June 16, 2012 at 01:08 PM
And with all due to respect the only reason you had to veer is because you were driving faster than you visible stopping distance. What if it had been a child or a broken down car,would you have had to veer then also? Overtaking cyclists should be done with the same trepidation that one would use to overtake a car.
smallsweet June 16, 2012 at 04:43 PM
The bottom line to this is that cars do not obey the traffic mph sign. About 2 years ago a van was making a u turn so fast that he left skip mark on the floor he hit the cyclists,instead of him getting out he back up the van and the back wheels when over the cycists head, I dont know if he die this happen at route 45.. It seem that some drivers gets they license from a cracker jack box..
E S Plonska June 21, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I'm a cyclist who is well aware of the dangers of that stretch of 9W, particularly the SOUTH-BOUND side. The sewer gratings are on that side and present significant dangers to bicycle wheels, forcing the rider into the main lane of traffic. Cyclists should be at least strongly encouraged (via appropriate signage) to take Piermont Rd (or the Esposito trail) instead.
smallsweet June 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM
We are holding a town meeting this Tuesday, 6/26 @ 7:30 in the building next to the Orangetown Police Station to reduce the speed limit on that road where Janet Martinez was killed and to post share the road signs.
Rob July 12, 2012 at 03:46 AM
They should Ban the cars. Not the Cyclist. When was the last time a Cyclist hit a car ? It's the idiots who don't know how to drive and most drive way to fast. When someone tailgates me on the Parkway or some other road, I purposely slow down...It's lots of fun.
John Patrick Schutz July 12, 2012 at 04:33 AM
"Share the Road" signs? While there may be some logic in reducing speed limit (though being it IS a US ROUTE not just a side road, there is only so far you can lower it. Yesterday - a bright clear day without glare - I was travelling 10 miles an hour BELOW the speed limit on that very stretch of 9W, specifically keeping an eye out because of: 1. this tragedy; 2, the large number of cyclists around Nyack and the area yesterday; and 3. because it was 5 O'Clock and there was heavy volume. The Northbound lane was one steady evenly spaced stream of cars headed north. I was travelling south, at 31 mph. Midway to Piermont there's a bend to the east and back due to a retaining wall several stories high jutting out into the road - the tiny shoulder disappears - a blind bend for southbound drivers. As I rounded that bend, a biker I had no way of seeing prior is in midlane having veered into the mid-road avoiding a sewer grate. My choice for a split second: swerve into that unbroken line of northbound commuters in a headon 30+40=70 mph headon; or strike the cyclist at 31 MPH - neither desirable. I very narrowly avoided a headon collision AND I WAS TRAVELLING BELOW THE SPEED LIMIT AND ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR CYCLISTS. In this case, I the motorist would have died. The poor lady who died was on this stretch for the first time. YES, make the turn-offs for the THREE safe alternatives much more obvious, but ENFORCE that this is one place where recreation cannot trump free passage of traffic.
Tim July 12, 2012 at 10:21 AM
Why in this day and age of texting and driving would you want to ride a bike on any road.....4 tons vs a human body and a bike......No thanks
jonathan S. September 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Participation in cycling has grown exponentially in the last few years and nowhere is this growth more apparent than on Route 9W. The increasing frequency of accidents on this roadway reflects the overall population growth, suburban sprawl, and the lack of suburban planning for cycling related green space. Access to safe areas to participate in these sports is a significant quality of life issue that not only has an impact on one’s health, but is also a boon to property value. Although Route 9W might seem like an unusual place to ride a bicycle, it is widely used for its long straightaways with few interrupting intersections. The paucity of intersections on this road actually renders it safer than the narrow local streets that were never intended to accommodate bicycles and cars. Options for a safer cycling route in this area include: the creation of an alternate bicycle route in a different location than Route 9W or introduce safety features to Route 9W. Possible new routes include: the elongation of River Road along the Green Trail to State Line or the creation of a bike trail through the perimeter green space between 9W and the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Construction of a ‘Rails to Trails’ system along the infrequently used New Jersey Transit freight tracks that run from Englewood to the Joeseph B. Clarke Rail Trail in Piermont, NY.
jonathan S. September 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Alterations to Route 9W could include: widening the shoulder of Route 9W from Silvan Avenue in Englewood to E. Clinton Avenue, the construction of a proper bike lane with vibration strips and reflectors; posting signs at Exits 3 and 4 of Route 9W to the Palisades Interstate Parkway warning motorists turning left of oncoming bicycle traffic .


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