Martin Dilan Introduces 20 MPH Bill in State Senate

Supporters of home rule legislation for NYC speed limits at Grand Army Plaza Sunday. Photo: Dmitry Gudkov

Supporters of home rule legislation for NYC speed limits rallied at Grand Army Plaza Sunday. Photo: Dmitry Gudkov

State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, of Brooklyn, has introduced companion legislation to Assembly Member Dan O’Donnell’s speed limit bill, which would set the maximum speed on NYC streets at 20 miles per hour, except on streets ”where the City Council determines a different speed limit is appropriate.”

“In the first two weeks of 2014 there were seven pedestrian fatalities, two in the same day,” reads a statement on Dilan’s web site. “While Mayor de Blasio’s ramped-up enforcement has made an impact, the city requires additional tools to realistically address these fatalities.”

Dilan chairs the Senate transportation committee. At this writing the speed limit bill has no Senate cosponsors, and could face an uphill climb. When O’Donnell introduced the Assembly version in January, Senator Marty Golden called it an “overreaction” to pedestrian deaths.

A pedestrian hit by a vehicle moving at 20 mph has a 95 percent chance of surviving. For a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph, the current city speed limit, the survival rate drops to 55 percent. Research cited by the 20′s Plenty For Us campaign shows that lower speed limits reduce collisions overall.

In their first two weeks of operation, DOT speed cameras issued 900 tickets in school zones. The cameras are operational only during school hours, and only ticket drivers who are traveling at least 10 mph over the speed limit.

At least 12 children age 14 and under were killed by New York City motorists since January 2013, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Traffic crashes consistently rank as the leading cause of injury-related death for children in NYC. Research shows that children under the age of 10 can’t hear oncoming vehicles as well as older kids and adults.

Yesterday, over 100 people gathered on Prospect Park West in support of the speed limit bills, at a rally organized by Right of Way. “This is a crucial step in Mayor de Blasio’s push toward Vision Zero,” said Right of Way’s Keegan Stephan in a written statement. Stephan said yesterday’s event was held with just two days’ notice.

As we reported in January, the proposed state legislation is stronger than similar bills introduced in the City Council last year, and would supersede equivalent city laws.