Technology is a wonderful thing... sometimes. Perhaps we should all take a moment today to pause and remember the death of Henry Bliss, the first pedestrian known to be killed by an automobile in North America.
On this day (September 13) in 1899, Mr. Bliss stepped off a streetcar at West 74th Street and Central Park West and into the path of an oncoming electric taxicab.
On the centennial of his death, a plaque was placed at the site by Citystreets, a safety-awareness organization:
Here at West 74th Street and Central Park West, Henry H. Bliss dismounted from a streetcar and was struck and knocked unconscious by an automobile on the evening of September 13, 1899. When Mr. Bliss, a New York real estate man, died the next morning from his injuries, he became the first recorded motor vehicle fatality in the Western Hemisphere. This sign was erected to remember Mr. Bliss on the centennial of his untimely death and to promote safety on our streets and highways.
The driver of the cab, an electric-powered vehicle, was arrested and charged with manslaughter. The charges were dropped after it was determined that Bliss' death was unintentional.