After Rabbi is Killed by Car at Night, Defense Lawyer Says Walkers Should Wear Lights


yidden-jewsRabbi Hyman Steinberg, 82, was rushing to his shul one night in bad weather when Simon Martins, 24, hit him on the road.

“Steinberg, who was wearing traditional black orthodox Jewish garb, suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital,” Britain’s Daily Star reported.

Martins admitted causing death by driving without due care and attention and got an eight-month suspended jail sentence, but his defense lawyer, Nick Freeman, known as ‘Mr Loophole,’ couldn’t let it go.

After the case at Manchester Crown Court, the lawyer tried to shift the blame to the deceased rabbi: “Had Mr. Steinberg been wearing something reflective, this tragic collision might well have been averted.”

“Sadly, because he was invisible, Mr. Steinberg has lost his life,” the lawyer claimed. “His family are left distraught, the community has been robbed of a much loved and respected rabbi and a young man must now live with the guilt for the rest his life.”

Then he called for the British government to create a law to compel pedestrians to wear lights.

“The time has now come for the Government to require pedestrians to effectively light up at night,” the lawyer said.

“We are now living in hardpressed economic times, when councils are saving money by switching off street lights at night,” he said. “I’m not suggesting everyone must wear a hi-vis jacket – but something reflective that would give them a visible presence, such as a vest, arm bands or belt. Pedestrians, motorists and cyclists all share road space and in my view must assume responsibility for their visibility.”

The lawyer’s pronouncement oddly coincided with the start of Shavuos. To celebrate, many Jews begin study sessions in the dark of night – some at midnight – going until sunrise, when at least, according to Mr. Loophole, it would be safe for Jews to walk to shul.

The Algemeiner

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  1. Not lights, but everyone should wear reflective belts or vests at night. It is sakonos nefashos, and there is no issur whatsoever to wear them on Shabbos, even if there is no eruv.

  2. I have a better idea. If pedestrians were prohibited from using regular roads, even more tragic accidents could be avoided. Someone should tell attorney Freeman.

  3. I drive at night and black hat black jacket and black pants are difficult to see especially when these idiots insist on walking in gutter under trees
    Interestingly in Lakewood the town gives out at no cost reflective belts on occasion Tuesday evening I saw many pedestrians wearing them

  4. We have been doing just this for 12 years – selling top quality USA made ANSI compliant reflective belts approved for Shabbos use for pedestrians. We started after several pedestrian fatalities in our town of Lakewood, and unfortunately, since then, we hear all too often of other precious neshamos snuffed out simply because the driver did not see them…It is so tragic, and so preventable! If there is any way Matzav can help us promote our awareness campaign in this crucial area, you will be helping us save lives. The reflective belt is a miniscule investment of under $5! Your life is worth far more than that! Many people would wear one if they knew it is available and just how crucial it is.

  5. A very good idea. Every driver will admit to instances where they had mazal and noticed the person in the street in the last second. This is especially true of our heimishe dressed in black from head to toe.
    Hatzolla should be advocating this. Its overdue

  6. People should wear reflective bands on their arms & legs & even reflective vests on shabbos if they are walking in dark areas

  7. Reflector belts and other gear are sold in some places for Jewish pedestrians. They should be more widely available.
    Cities should have better lit roads and sidewalks on all roads.

  8. In the Manchester Evening News ( there are more indictments against the driver:

    “The outspoken solicitor, nicknamed ‘Mr Loophole’, said Mr Steinberg, 82, was ‘invisible’ to Martins, who had sent a text message from behind the wheel minutes before the collision.

    Martins, 24, pleaded guilty to causing prominent Rabbi Mr Steinberg’s death by careless driving – and a court heard he was driving at up to 42mph on a 30mph road.”

    and some touching words about the niftar:

    “The family of tragic Rabbi Hyman Steinberg paid a moving tribute to a ‘quintessential family man’.

    Born in Gateshead, he moved to Manchester in 1995 after he married his wife, Ruth Feingold. He had already completed his rabbinical ordination.

    In a series of heartfelt statements read to the court, his daughter Roselyne revealed he ran a curtain manufacturing company in Manchester for 50 years and volunteered for a local Jewish funeral service, where he ‘gave freely of his time often at the drop of a hat to perform this ultimate final kindness for the deceased’.

    After retiring in 2005, Mr Steinberg and his wife raised funds for poor brides and grooms and also invested heavily in education for the young. He helped raise thousands of pounds for the Gateshead Talmudical College and the Shaarei Torah Manchester Talmudical College.

    His daughter added: “It was not in any way at the expense of his family. He has seven children, 54 grandchildren and close to 50 great grandchildren. He was the quintessential family man.

    “He was a doting husband, father and grandfather and the patriarch of the extended family, including cousins who looked up to him as the prototype of a gentleman worthy of emulation. It is a loss that will be forever felt.””

  9. When people are dressed in all back clothing, it is extremely hard do see them when I’m driving at night. One must wear reflectors at night. If not they are Poshea!!!

  10. Sadly, the defense attorney is right. At night if you are wearing all black you are not visible. As far as I know reflectors are mutar. And if they are not, someone can make some money selling jacket with built in reflectors.

  11. As a driver and pedestrian here in Brooklyn NY I have to agree 100% with the lawyer. Every time I hear the mayor talk about his vision zero plan I am surprised there is no mention of reflective belts.

  12. I bought a reflector vest like work crews and chaverim wear. several times approaching cars slowed down when they saw the reflector vest. many folks tell me it is a great idea – but they still don’t wear the vest or even a reflector belt. I think people are more self conscious on image (what will others say – will I or my children have difficulty with shidduchim) than on safety.

    with that all said – May HaShem protect all of us – those with reflector gear and those without!


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