Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ok I lied...more stuff

This article came out in the Daily News as a response to the good press from the well-attended memorial ride which took place in all five boroughs and marked the death of 21 cyclists in 2005.

daily news article

Bicycle fatalities
rose 40% in '05
The city's streets got meaner last year for bicycle riders, who were killed at a rate of nearly two a month in deadly collisions.
Traffic accidents claimed the lives of 21 bicyclists - up from 15 in 2004 - a 40% rise, police statistics show. There were 16 fatalities in 2003.

"The increase in bicyclists killed last year is of great concern to us and we're working with the Police Department and advocacy groups to initiate a bicycle safety outreach campaign," Transportation Department spokeswoman Kay Sarlin said.

All too often, drivers don't watch out for bicyclists, Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives said. He called for a police crackdown on reckless driving.

But the police don't believe there is a grim upward trend taking place. The number of such fatalities tend to fluctuate year to year, Deputy Inspector Michael Coan said, pointing out that 35 cyclists were killed in 1999.

The increased popularity of cycling may be playing a role in the higher death toll. Transportation Alternatives estimates that 120,000 people cycle each day in the city, which the group believes is an all-time high.

The city Health and Transportation departments are studying biker fatalities, hoping to better understand contributing factors, such as speeding and failure to wear helmets, Sarlin said.

The city also will continue to increase safety by measures that include establishing bicycling routes with protective barriers, Sarlin said.

There were 312 traffic fatalities last year. That number encompasses drivers, passengers and pedestrians, in addition to bicyclists, and reflects a 5% increase over 2004.

But traffic fatalities had declined steadily for more than a decade and the 2005 tally was the second-lowest since 1910.

Originally published on January 13, 2006
Executive Director of Time's Up had this to say in response to this Daily News Article

This Daily News article is obviously propaganda from the city responding to all the positive press from the past week. This press story appears to be planted by the City and is laced with "blame the victim" language. There is also a mention of doing "studies," which is something Time's Up! considers a stall tactic, and that, depending on methodology, could result in more "blame the victim" conclusions.

As you know, we are trying to work with a coalition of bicycle groups who have submitted a bike safety action plan. The original August letter to NYC DOT recommends studies on biking and fatalities. When this was written, groups had different opinions on what the real issues were.

Lately, the coalition seems to be in a lot more agreement with us on cycling issues. The cycling community is strong and in a much better position now and should strongly suggest direct immediate action (not studies) especially on bicycle parking and the issue of needing a permit to ride your bicycle, as well as on enforcment of existing rules to protect cyclists

Naomi has recently joined the coalition for Time's Up! and has been doing a great job with her writing skills and our representation. The Time's Up! outreach committee and press team have been doing a spectacular job lately. We should consider reaching out to other groups and individuals and let them know how we feel about studies and stall tactics.

We will address this at our next coalition meeting, and I encourage people to write letters to the editor and/or City officials.


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