New York State Senator Liz Krueger, who represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan, has introduced a bill that would “make it a felony for electric-vehicle riders to crash into someone and leave the scene,” according to a report by Steetsblog. The bill joins another proposal by State Senator Brad Hoylman of the Upper West Side which would increase penalties for hit-and-run incidents that involve e-scooters; one chief difference between the two is that Krueger’s bill includes pedal-assist Citibikes.
Recent news reports describe two hit-and-runs in New York City in the last few months, one of which killed a cyclist in the Bronx. According to StreetsBlog, the cyclist was on Southern Boulevard in Bronx Park when he was hit by the driver of a Mercedez Benz apparently attempting to overtake him “at an apparent high rate of speed” near the Bronx River Parkway on-ramp around 11:20pm last Friday. StreetsBlog reports that the driver struck the cyclist from behind, “sending him flying backwards, first into the windshield of the Benz, and then onto the pavement.” Continue reading
The New York Sate Assembly failed to pass street safety legislation before ending its legislative session last week. As StreetsBlog reports, even though the State Senate passed a bill empowering New York City to determine its own speed limits, the Assembly declined to hold a vote on the bill. State lawmakers could still call a special session to vote on the legislation.
The bill that passed the State Senate, “Sammy’s Law,” did so by a 54-59 vote. The legislation is named for Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a 12-year-old “killed by a reckless driver in Brooklyn in 2013,” according to StreetsBlog. Senator Brad Hoylman sponsored the bill, which would reassign power to set New York City’s speed limits from the state government to the city government. If the bill is passed, New York City would join municipalities like Portland and Cambridge in gaining control over their own speed limits. In a statement about the bill, he said: “Sammy’s Law is a monumental piece of legislation that will make our streets safer for decades to come. As New York City is in the midst of a crisis of vehicular violence, it makes absolutely no sense that Albany has control over the City’s speed limits.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to carving out nearly $40 million from the city’s budget to redesign Brooklyn’s McGuinness Boulevard, site of eleven pedestrian deaths and three cyclist deaths since 1995. According to StreetsBlog, a single 1.25-mile stretch of McGuinness Boulevard, from the Pulaski Bridge to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, has been home to 1,548 car crashes since 2013, injuring “40 cyclists, 59 pedestrians, and 236 motorcyclists.” A deadly crash last month killed schoolteacher Matthew Jensen near the BQE’s entry ramp; the driver of the hit-and-run has not yet been found.
A trove of data about SUV ownership in New York City, obtained by street safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, reveals that New York City residents “are buying SUVs at an increasingly high rate, and larger vehicles are contributing to more cyclist and pedestrian deaths” in the city.
A recent study by street safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has uncovered an epidemic of speeding in New York City, finding that 70% of drivers observed were driving faster than the speed limit. “Speeding drivers are a leading cause of death and injury on New York City streets,” the study notes, but because city officials “do not have control over speed limits,” New Yorkers are left woefully unprotected from the raft of dangerous driving. One possible solution to the epidemic is a bill currently under consideration by the New York State Legislature, “Sammy’s Law,” which would give New York City the power to control its own speed limits.
A recent survey Manhattan Community Board 4 revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the sidewalks in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea neighborhoods, according to a recent report by StreetsBlog. The Community Board surveyed a total of 960 responds, 10% listed as having disabilities, and received 4,909 comments. The average age of the respondents was 52 years old, and 80% of respondents lived in zip codes associated with Community Board 4.
The New York state legislature is currently considering a bill that would reduce the legal blood alcohol limit in the state from .08 to 0.05. If the bill becomes law, New York would be the second state in the nation to reduce the legal blood alcohol limit to .05, after Utah. According to a report by the New York Post, advocates for the legislation say it “would save countless lives.” According to Bronx News 12, the new law would also reduce the legal limit for Aggravated Driving While Impaired charges from .18 to .12.
The legal blood alcohol limit used to be .1 when state houses across the country began reducing it in response to “concerns about deadly drunk driving,” according to the Post. It’s been almost a decade since the National Transportation Safety Board recommended a limit of .05, with only Utah following the advice.
A recent analysis by the publication Newsday found that in Long Island, “few drivers involved in crashes that kill pedestrians and bicyclists face criminal charges.” In an examination of car crashes that resulted in the deaths of involving pedestrians and cyclists in 2019 and 2020, Newsday found that there were 135 total pedestrian and cyclist fatalities, but only 20 prosecutions of the drivers involved, resulting in a prosecution rate of 15%. According to Newsday, that rate goes up to 30% when crashes involving “environmental conditions or pedestrian or bicyclist error” are excluded.”
A recent article in the Staten Island Advance analyzes the upsurge of traffic deaths that have occurred on Staten Island in 2021. According to the report, there have been eight road violence deaths in Staten Island since January 2021, “more than double the three traffic deaths the borough had seen by this time last year.” Continue reading