Law

Mayor Bill de Blasio Draws Fire for Proposed Cycling Safety Changes and Handling of Pedestrian Deaths

2019 has been a deadly year for cyclists in New York City. The city currently ranks as the most dangerous metro area in the U.S. for cyclists in 2019, with 21 fatalities this year — more than double last year’s totals.

Overall, cycling fatalities are up 25-percent nationwide, even as other traffic-related deaths are down 10-percent. Roughly 75-percent of all cycling deaths occur in urban areas such as New York City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been outspoken in defense of cyclists, repeatedly calling for stronger criminal prosecutions of drivers involved in cyclist collisions and stressing the need for better cycling infrastructure. Mayor de Blasio was also instrumental in implementing two major safety initiatives, Green Wave and Vision Zero, that are aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries resulting from collisions.

Additionally, de Blasio recently announced he was considering two new requirements: Forcing all NYC cyclists to secure a license, and requiring that all Citi Bike riders wear a helmet.

Safe streets advocates, however, have criticized the mayor for these positions, claiming that helmet requirements and licenses do little to impact rider safety. Instead, observers are calling for de Blasio to make greater progress on the safety reforms outlined in both Vision Zero and Green Wave.

In an open letter to Mayor de Blasio signed by 17 street safety organizations, they urged him to focus on what they claim are the true causes of serious collisions: “faulty street design, reckless driving and a lack of systemic accountability for those drivers.”

Focusing on Cyclists to the Exclusion of Pedestrians?

Mayor de Blasio has also drawn fire for focusing too heavily on the concerns of cyclists. A recent media report noted that pedestrian deaths are rising along with cycling deaths, and that cyclists are often to blame for collisions involving pedestrians. Since 2011, more than 2,200 NYC pedestrians have been injured by a cyclist.

The most recent such incident occurred July 31 when Manhattan resident Michael Collopy was struck by a bicycle at 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue. Collopy, 60, was killed after his head struck the pavement violently.

Members of the victim’s family publicly demanded tighter enforcement of cyclists following the fatal collision. Mayor de Blasio, however, has yet to comment publicly.

Finding the Right Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s essential that you speak to an experienced attorney — one who has the experience to handle the most complex cases.

At The Frankel Law Firm — we’ve been helping accident victims in the New York area for more than 40 years. Contact us today for a free consultation. All personal injury cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis. There is no attorneys fee unless you recover. Call us at (212) 888-5100 or you can find us at www.frankellawfirm.com where you can contact us online in a chat or e-mail. We have convenient consultation offices where we can meet with you in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Nassau County.

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