De Blasio: Everyone in This City Has to Yield to Pedestrians

At the press event today announcing the de Blasio administration update to NYC’s citywide sustainability plan (now called “OneNYC” — more on that soon!), the mayor fielded a question about bus design and whether bus drivers can be expected to spot and avoid striking pedestrians in crosswalks. The unspoken subtext was the Transport Workers Union campaign to carve out an exemption for MTA bus drivers in the city’s Right of Way Law, which makes it a misdemeanor for drivers to injure people walking or biking with the right of way.

Here’s the meat of de Blasio’s response — you can see it at about the 1:26 mark in this video:

As you know, we’re training a lot of people who work for the city of New York in how to be safer and better drivers. MTA we do not control. But I think there’s an opportunity to work with the MTA to figure out what will help these drivers to do their work more safely. I think that the whole picture should be looked at — the routes that they cover, the schedules they’re on, the kind of training they need. If the equipment creates a problem, obviously — what’s more important than safety? What’s more important than saving people’s lives and avoiding horribly injured people? This is what we come here first to do in government.

So if it turns out that the design of the buses creates a safety problem — can we fix that with different mirrors or other adjustments? That’s a valid question. But in the here and now, our message to everyone in this city, whether they work for the city, or they work for the MTA, or a private individual, is you have to drive safely. You have to yield to pedestrians. You have to respect that there’s new laws now that clearly penalize those who do not yield to pedestrians. We’re here to save lives and everybody has to be a part of that.

  • AlexWithAK

    One thing I liked about Bloomberg is that he would be VERY pointed about things he thought were BS. I miss that about him and think it could be useful here. That said, this is pretty plain and I’m happy to see de Blasio standing up for the law.

  • BridgeTroll

    Bravo. THAT is what I call leadership. Keep it up.

  • mr. sassy

    Everyone should be emailing and tweeting this. It is leadership. Its common sense. Bravo Mayor de Blasio!

  • Eric McClure

    Thanks, Mr. Mayor.

  • djx

    I can’t wait to see the Post headline: BdB Launches War on drivers!

  • JamesR

    “Culture eats policy for breakfast”, right? It eats mayoral pronouncements for breakfast, too. I want it to be real, but this is a cultural problem from every angle – the drivers, the NYPD, jaywalkers, everyone. I’m not trying to equivocate by mentioning jaywalkers, either. Anyone who rides a bike in this city knows exactly the behavior that I’m referring to.

  • Tweet thanks to him at @BilldeBlasio to let him know you support ROW, and while we’re at it, tweet support to Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez at @ydanis and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at @MMViverito

  • Chris Francis

    does this go for cops too? They are one of the worst offenders

  • Adam Anon

    I’m so sick of TWU, bunch of assholes.

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