This afternoon, a cement truck driver killed a 29-year-old cyclist near Boerum Street and Bushwick Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This marks the third cyclist killed this week, and the 15th cyclist killed in New York City since the year began. This fatality means that five more people have been killed thus far in 2019 than were killed in all of last year. One week ago, Robyn Hightman was killed on their bicycle in Flatiron, Manhattan and a few days later, Ernest Askew was killed on his bicycle in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Every single one of these tragic losses was preventable. Everyone at Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets sends their condolences to the families of these cyclists.
New Yorkers on bikes are being killed at a record rate. It is clear that Vision Zero is in a state of emergency and Mayor de Blasio is in denial about his signature program faltering under his neglect. Vision Zero is an effective, lifesaving program when implemented with the necessary financing, innovation, and planning. For the past five years, steady Vision Zero progress has proven that the deaths of people walking and biking are preventable. New Yorkers have long called for a more aggressive and innovative approach. Today we are in a crisis. It’s up to Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to act.
To that end, Transportation Alternatives is calling on the mayor to immediately task DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg with creating an emergency response plan worthy of this crisis that can be implemented as soon as possible. In his absence, the City Council should immediately take up and pass a Vision Zero State of Emergency Omnibus Bill to protect walking and biking New Yorkers. The Vision Zero State of Emergency Omnibus Bill would bundle a suite of recently proposed traffic safety laws, including efforts to increase intersection visibility with a citywide daylighting program; reform New York City’s trucking and freight policies; pilot automated enforcement technologies that can protect bike lanes and intersections from drivers; Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Master Plan for City Streets, to dramatically increase the number of street redesigns across the city; and Council Member Brad Lander’s Reckless Driver Accountability Act, to keep repeat reckless drivers off the road.