CRACKING DOWN ON SOME OF THE CITY’S MOST VULNERABLE POPULATIONS IS MISGUIDED AND WILL HAVE LITTLE TO NO IMPACT ON MAKING STREETS SAFER, TOP NEW YORK CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER ADVISES
The New York Daily News reported last week that in one 24-hour period in the last week in March 2017, the NYPD, in the borough of Manhattan alone, targeted mostly young men – many of whom are Latino and Chinese immigrants — on bicycles who deliver every manner of object that can be transported on two wheel vehicles to thousands of anxiously awaiting residential apartment dwellers and business office workers.
The result, according to the tabloid’s report, was that the NYPD confiscated more than 25 electric-assisted bicycles (which are illegal in the City) and issued hundreds of tickets to those who have very limited options for earning money needed to prevent a life lived on the streets or in a homeless shelter.
An NYPD spokesman justified the department’s actions in the name of Vision Zero, a highly publicized push by Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose apparent unfeigned objective is to reduce, and possibly — while most likely quixotic in a city of 8.5 million people all of whom seemingly breathlessly in a hurry all the time — even eliminate traffic-related fatalities and injuries completely by 2024.
This approach — cracking down on some of the city’s most vulnerable populations — “is misguided and will have little to no impact on making our streets safer,” Jay W. Dankner, managing partner of the top New York car accident law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C. said.
“Yes, it is true,” Dankner explained, “that since the mayor initiated Vision Zero in 2014, the city has made significant progress in reducing traffic deaths and injuries. But if the NYPD wants to get serious about enforcement in the name of Vision Zero, it must keep the focus on road users with the potential to do the most harm — drivers — rather than people who are simply trying to make a living on two wheels, which in this case happen to be working-class immigrants.”
In many publications both online and off, including this top New York car accident lawyers’ blog, it has been reported how the city, led by both Mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio, fought for and propitiously received permission to: 1) lower the speed limit citywide; 2) install bike lanes and reorganize traffic using innovative programs; 3) enact a new law which levies harsher penalties when a driver hits a bicyclist or pedestrian with the right of way.
According to NYPD and DOT reports for the years 2000-to-2013, on average, New York City drivers kill one pedestrian or cyclist every two days. In 2016 alone, drivers killed 146 pedestrians and 18 cyclists. And as was reported in this blog earlier in April, in the first two months of 2017, city drivers have killed 18 pedestrians and one cyclist.
“All too often,” Dankner exclaimed, “the drivers responsible for these deaths flee the scene, plead ignorance to the crash or are never held accountable for their actions, regardless of the evidence, except in those cases where the injured party enlists the help of an experienced law firm like ours.”
According to The New York Daily News report, “an analysis of criminal court summonses, complaints from thousands of concerned citizens and bicycle safety advocate groups like the Biking Public Project, points to an unsettling claim that the Police Department’s enforcement of cyclists disproportionately affects people of color both where they live and where they work.”
The paper reported that police issue more than 90% of commercial cycling summonses in just four wealthy, majority-white neighborhoods in Manhattan, where many immigrants and people of color work as delivery cyclists. In these neighborhoods, according to The Daily News, the police issue commercial cycling summonses at 200 times the median neighborhood rate. In contrast, the top 10 precincts in which the police issue the highest rates of non-commercial cycling infractions occur in neighborhoods of color (which are on average 81% nonwhite). In these neighborhoods, the police issue non-commercial cycling summonses at three times the median neighborhood rate, the Daily News report said.
“If eliminating all vehicular accidents is really our top priority,” Dankner concluded, “we need to put the vast majority of our focus on penalizing driver carelessness, and redesigning our streets for safe pedestrian and bicycle travel.”