Rally at City Hall for Pedestrian Safety Legislation, 12:45 Today

The New York City Council's Transportation and Technology in Government committees are conducting a joint hearing this afternoon on Council Member Vincent Gentile's accident reporting and review bill, Introduction 567 of 2007. The legislation would require long-sought changes in the way that the NYPD and DOT report and investigate pedestrian injuries and fatalities:

  • The New York Police Department to forward all accident reports involving a pedestrian or a pattern of motor vehicle accidents to the Department of Transportation for analysis and overview within five days from the accident.
  • The Department of Transportation would study the location and look to improve safety at that location. Study will be started within seven days from receipt of the report.
  • The study result would be forwarded to Community Board and Elected Officials from the accident area within 5 days form completion.

While some of the details of the legislation will need to be improved before these rules can be implemented by city agencies, it is critical that these improvements move forward. Currently, pedestrian injury and fatality data is handled as if it were some sort of state secret and the way that the NYPD handles pedestrian injury and fatality investigations is a downright embarrassment to New York City.

Likewise, it is incredibly difficult to get the NYPD to cough up information about specific pedestrian crashes, even if you are the family members of a crash victim. Unlike crime statistics, which are openly published on every police precinct web site monthly, car crash data is nowhere to be found.

Advocacy organizations and civic groups have no way to know what the most dangerous intersections are in New York City neighborhoods, which means we often don't really know where to focus pedestrian safety resources. This is particularly troublesome since we know that somewhere around 50 percent of all crashes involving fatalities or serious injuries to pedestrians occur at ten percent of the city's intersections. It is long past time for the city to collect this data properly and then put it out there so that communities and city agencies can make rational policy and improvements where they are needed. 

There will be a rally on the steps of City Hall at 12:45pm today, just ahead of the Council hearing. Christine Berthet of CHEKPEDS is urging Livable Streets advocates to show up. She writes:

Only two weeks ago we held a memorial for Kumo, an eight year old who was hit by a speeding car. It was not an "accident." It is part of a deadly pattern. This bill is a crucial step in our fight to bring focus and urgency to the prevention of pedestrian casualties. Your presence and support are very important.