Saturday, July 24, 2010

Toward A Responsible Bike Culture in NYC (prepared for Board of Brooklyn BP)

Submitted by Jack Brown & Ralph Perfetto

The Board of the Brooklyn Borough President supports the effort to establish a responsible bike culture in the City of New York.We acknowledge the value of cycling as a mode of transportation that can promote health and be environmentally friendly. However, as it is currently practiced, the state of cycling requires a balance of responsible enforcement so as to address an atmosphere of ongoing jeopardy that raises the level of stress in an already stressful city. Professor Peter Tuckel (Dept of Sociology Hunter College) and colleagues issued a study “Biking Behavior in Midtown” in May of 2009 that details an alarming amount of scofflaw cycling by working, commuter and recreational cyclists alike.

To address this quality of life and death issue and promote more effective enforcement we support balanced and comprehensive legislation that places the onus for rogue delivery cycling on the owner of the business entity for which the bike rider is working.

This is known as vicarious liability. In conjunction with this attention needs to be directed to battery powered bikes which are increasingly used by working cyclists. In Albany a bill is being co-written by the offices of Sen.Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh. A similar bill is being sponsored by Councilmember Jessica Lappin in the City Council.

The family of Mr.Stuart Gruskin who succumbed to head trauma May 1, 2009 after being struck by a rogue delivery cyclist on West 43rd St is establishing a foundation to address this issue. It focuses on gathering statistics on bicycle/pedestrian accidents and injuries and education of the public. This might include cycling education in the schools.

A more organized approach should bring a greater awareness and hard data to the ongoing state of jeopardy in which the New York public exists. With MTA fares slated to increase and more bicycle amenities such as bike lanes and parking available it is clear that a more effective job of enforcement is required to promote responsible cycling.

The Brooklyn Borough Board hereby endorses the efforts of the coalition established by Sen.Liz Krueger,Assemblyman Kavanagh and Councilmember Lappin to work towards a responsible bike culture in New York City.

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