New York Street Safety Groups Launch Renewed Push for State Reforms

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After many fatal traffic incidents this past year, 14 advocacy groups have taken it upon themselves to come together and propose a number of bills that would make New York City streets safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers.

After the absence of any transformative street safety reform in the New York state legislature’s last legislative session, a group of 14 advocacy groups are joining forces to push for the passage of the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act this year, according to Streetsblog. The legislative package features a number of bills that would make New York’s streets safer, such as:

  • Safe Passage (S4529/A547), which would mandate that vehicle drivers provide a minimum cushion of three feet whenever they drive past cyclists.
  • “Sammy’s Law” (S524/A4655), which would give New York City the power to establish speed limits under 25 mph. Under current law, city lawmakers must receive permission from state lawmakers to establish such speed limits. A similar bill (S2021/A1007) would give this same authority to other cities in New York.
  • Complete Streets Maintenance (S5130/A7782), which would include maintenance projects to include, to the extent possible, street design features that “further enable safe access to public roads for all users.” A similar “Complete Streets” bill (S3897/A6454A) would provide more state funding for the construction and improvement of city streets in cases where city authorities agree to fund “a complete street design.” 
  • S1078A/A5084, which would compel the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to include pedestrian and bicycle safety in pre-licensing courses for vehicle drivers.
  • A Crash Victim Bill of Rights (S8152), which would require the delivery of car crash reports to accident victims or their relatives; require victim impact statements at traffic infraction hearings; and compel employers “to grant absence of leave to employees delivering a victim impact statement” at such hearings.

In a statement about the advocacy campaign, the street safety nonprofit Open Plans told Streetsblog, “As the death toll on New York City’s streets continues to rise almost daily, it’s infuriating that New York City is prevented by the state from doing things that are known to increase safety, like lowering our speed limits.” A co-founder of Families for Safe Streets told the publication that “ York State must implement proven tools to end the crisis of traffic violence. The Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act will safeguard the lives of everyone traveling on our roads, including the most vulnerable.”

More information on the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act is available via Streetsblog.

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