With 18th Cyclist Killed, Brooklyn Borough President Issues His Demands
More infrastructure, more enforcement and, indeed, more bikes!
Thirteen of the 18 cyclists killed this year, including Monday’s latest victim, died in Brooklyn, and the borough’s highest elected leader is demanding new enforcement, design and communication strategies to reduce the bloodshed and lessen the pain that has targeted his constituents like a plague.
“It’s clear we need to go further on street safety, further than the “Green Wave” plan or any of our existing Vision Zero efforts,” Borough President Eric Adams told Streetsblog, referring to a tepidly received strategy announced by Mayor de Blasio last week, when there were 17 dead cyclists.
Adams immediately called for:
- Expanded Citi Bike coverage to more Brooklyn communities, including the eastern part of Sunset Park “because there is safety in numbers when it comes to cycling.
- Fully build out upland cycling connectors from the waterfront into the core of Sunset Park.
- Increase enforcement actions to prevent vehicles from parking or idling in bike lanes.
- Install safety features such as lighting and clear lane delineation in Sunset Park and Gowanus.
- Expedite the installation of the protected bike lane on Fourth Avenue, running south to 65th Street and north to Dean Street.
- Withhold any NYPD public comment on traffic crashes until a full investigation is completed.
The reference to comments by police officers is an attempt to prevent the rank-and-file from issuing fact-free non-information to reporters, which typically blames victims or suggests that the guilty are not accountable. An officer on the scene of Monday’s crash apparently did just that, as Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou pointed out on Twitter.
Most disturbing: “a police spokesperson responded: "It's not a crime to open your car door." Per section 1214 of the vehicle and traffic law, it's illegal for motorists to illegally open their doors into moving traffic. The spokesperson later clarified they were "joking around."” https://t.co/0S1QMIovPE
— Yuh-Line Niou (@yuhline) July 29, 2019
The mayor also took to Twitter to remind drivers of their legal responsibilities:
Tragedy in Sunset Park today. An investigation is underway.
It is AGAINST the law to open a car door into the path of a cyclist. Our lives are in each other’s hands. We must act like it.
Rising cyclist fatalities are a crisis. We will do everything in our power to stop them. https://t.co/qImfZQ1FtU
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 29, 2019
The mayor’s “Green Wave” plan does include more protected bike infrastructure — including along Fourth Avenue — but not on Third Avenue nor connecting the waterfront to Sunset Park. And the mayor did call on the NYPD to enforce rules against blocking bike lanes — though the agency writes very few tickets, even during a crackdown.
In addition, the current 2019-2023 Citi Bike expansion plan dramatically increases bike share into northern Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, but only includes a little bit more coverage of Brooklyn.
All of this left Adams feeling underwhelmed.
“The crash that claimed the life of a cyclist this morning — the 18th life lost in this manner on our streets in this year alone — is a horrific reminder of what is at stake in this street safety crisis facing our borough and our city,” he said. “Third Avenue in Sunset Park is a particularly challenging corridor, as there is little infrastructure to accommodate cyclists, leaving them vulnerable.”
City Hall was warm to Adams’s statement.
“We are reviewing the BP’s recommendations, and look forward to working with him to implement our cycling safety plan,” said mayoral spokesman Seth Stein.