2005-06-16 Deadly Traffic

June 16, 2005

NYC Cyclists Demand Protection from Deadly Traffic Ride from crash scene in Brooklyn to City Hall

NEW YORK, New York — At 8:00 am on Thursday, June 16th,
cyclists representing an alliance of New York City bicycle groups will
embark on a Vigil Ride from 5th Avenue and Warren Street in Brooklyn
to the steps of City Hall
to memorialize Elizabeth Padilla, Brandie
Bailey, Jerome Allen and the 195 other NYC bicyclists killed since

“There is absolutely no room for error on these streets. Safe
cycling requires more greenways and protected, on-street bike lanes,”
says Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation
Alternatives. “Bike routes must be at least 5-feet wide with a 2-foot
buffer between the bike lane and motorized traffic,” says White.

At City Hall at 9 am the alliance will lay down flowers in memory
of the 198 fallen cyclists and ask Mayor Bloomberg to convene
a multi-agency task force to develop — in cooperation with the NYC
cycling community — an action plan to prevent further deaths and

According to data recently release by the NYPD, a total of
9 cyclists have perished in crashes this year, representing a 50%
increase in fatalities over the same period in 2004
. In the past
six weeks, bicyclists Jerome Allen, Brandie Bailey and Elizabeth
Padilla were fatally struck by motorists: Jerome, 59, banking
administrator, was hit from behind by an SUV on Hylan Boulevard in
Staten Island on April 26; Brandie, 21, waitress, was struck by a
private sanitation truck on Ave. A in Manhattan on May 10; Elizabeth,
28, attorney, was crushed by a large delivery truck on 5th Ave. and
Warren St. in Park Slope on June 9.

All three crashes occurred on streets that carry increasing numbers
of cyclists. Two of the three streets — Hylan Boulevard and north
5th Avenue — are “recommended” bike routes according to the 2005 NYC
Cycling Map published by the City of New York. Yet all three streets,
bereft of bicycle lanes, force bicyclists to compete for space with
cars and trucks.

“It’s time for the NYPD to stop coddling drivers who infringe
on cyclists’ lawful right to the road,” says Charles Komanoff,
co-ordinator of the traffic-safety group Right Of Way. “State and city
traffic law are full of provisions intended to protect safe cycling,
yet virtually none of them are ever enforced,” Komanoff says.

An alliance of
Transportation Alternatives, TIME’S UP!,
Right Of Way, the

New York Bike Messenger Association, the
Staten Island Bicycle Association and
FreeWheels ask Mayor Bloomberg to convene a task force of the
Departments of Transportation, Health, Police, City Planning and Parks
to develop an action plan to prevent further deaths and injuries to
bicyclists. At the rally, on the steps of City Hall, the alliance
will unveil their recommendations for the action plan, which include:
rigorous analysis of all cyclist fatalities over the past decade;
expansion of the city’s personnel capacity to plan and build bicycle
facilities; stronger design standards for safe streets; introduction
of 15 mph streets; changes to the city traffic rules to prevent
“dooring” incidents; public education of motorists as to cyclists’
rights and drivers’ responsibilities; a requirement to retrofit large
trucks with side guards; prioritization of bike routes for inspection,
pothole filling and hazard elimination.