It’s No Accident: Bike-Ped Safety Bill Clears Council

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Though it was buried by another story, the City Council made news this week by passing legislation that will require identification and inspections of dangerous locations for pedestrians and cyclists, and action to correct hazardous conditions.

The bill, carried on the strength of an unanimous vote, mandates the city Department of Transportation to annually identify the 20 most dangerous locations for pedestrians and cyclists, based on the number of crashes; analyze the sites for hazards; make recommendations for safety improvements at these locations, then implement them; and report its findings and actions to the City Council, the mayor and appropriate community boards.

"Currently, crash data demonstrates that over 50% of all pedestrian-related crashes occur at just 10% of all intersections," said Transportation Alternatives' Executive Director Paul Steely White. "Pedestrian crashes are not random occurrences and in using the term 'crash' instead of 'accident,' the bill further heralds a significant shift towards accountability and systematic prevention of traffic injuries and fatalities."

The full text of the bill appears after the jump.

Proposed Int. No. 567-A

By Council Members Gentile, Liu, Addabbo Jr., Brewer, Comrie, James, Koppell, Martinez, Nelson, Sanders Jr., Stewart, Weprin and Jackson.

A LOCAL LAW

To amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to pedestrian safety

Be it enacted by the Council as follows:

Section 1. Title 19 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 19-180 to read as follows:

§19-180 Safety audits of crash locations involving pedestrians a. Within one hundred and eighty days of receiving access to New York state department of motor vehicles traffic crash data involving pedestrian injuries or fatalities for the previous calendar year, the department shall:

1. Identify the twenty highest crash locations based upon a ranking of the total number of crashes involving pedestrians and selected proportionally by borough based upon the percentage of total crashes involving pedestrians in such borough; and

2. Inspect and conduct audits at such locations and, where warranted, make improvements or incorporate improvements into capital projects.

b. Within thirty days of completing the inspections and audits required under paragraph 2 of subdivision a of this section, the department shall send a report noting such inspection and audit and summarizing its recommendations and steps to be taken, including a schedule to implement such recommendations, to the council member and community board in whose district the crash location is located.

c. If any crash location appears on the department's annual list of twenty highest crash locations involving pedestrians in two consecutive years, such location shall be removed from the annual list and replaced by the location with the next highest number of crashes involving pedestrians located within the same borough as the consecutively appearing location; provided that the department shall continue to monitor such crash data and/or make safety improvements at such removed location until such removed location is no longer one of the highest crash locations.

§ 2. Title 19 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 19-181 to read as follows:

§19-181 Safety inspections at locations exhibiting a pattern of crashes involving pedestrians and/or bicyclists. a. Within ninety days of receiving access to New York state department of motor vehicles traffic crash data involving pedestrians and/or bicyclists, the department shall inspect every location with five or more injuries or fatalities involving pedestrians and/or bicyclists during the prior twelve month period.

b. Within ninety days of notice of a traffic crash involving a fatality, the department shall conduct an inspection of the traffic crash location.

c. The department shall act upon any inspection recommendations, if warranted.

d. The department shall make the results of the inspections required under subdivisions a and b or any actions required by subdivision c of this section available upon request to the public.

§3. Title 19 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 19-182 to read as follows:

§19-182 Comprehensive study of pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries. a. The department shall conduct a comprehensive study of all traffic crashes involving a pedestrian fatality or serious injury for the most recent five years where traffic crash data is available. In such study, the department shall analyze the conditions and factors associated with each such traffic crash and identify common factors among the crashes, if any. The department shall use such study to develop strategies to improve pedestrian safety, which may include modifying citywide traffic operations policy, developing pedestrian safety strategies geared towards specific users, prioritizing locations and/or types of roadways or intersections for safety improvements and making recommendations for improving safety at such locations.

b. The comprehensive traffic study required under subdivision a of this section shall be submitted to the mayor and council by the thirtieth day of august, two thousand and nine. The plans, including a schedule for implementing strategies for improving pedestrian safety generated by such study, shall be submitted to the mayor and council by the thirtieth day of november, two thousand and nine.

§4. This local law shall take effect thirty days after it is enacted into law, except for the provisions of section 2, which shall take effect on January 1, 2009.

Photo: brothergrimm/Flickr