NYC Council considers bills to improve bicycle safety, deputize citizens to crack down on violations

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Monday, April 24, 2023
City council focuses on bike safety in latest meeting
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Some of the measures proposed during Monday's meeting included creating a real-time map on bikeway conditions and naming a task force to build public e-bike charging stations.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- City council members introduced a number of new legislation they say would better protect cyclists and the NYPD was on the hot seat with one council member accusing officers of contributing to the issue of biker safety.

It's no secret that biking in the city is at an all-time high, but the number of accidents and deaths on city streets is also on the rise.

At least 10 cyclists have been killed so far this year.

The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure discussed new bills that would eliminate red tape when it comes to expanding bike lanes and create a real-time map of current bikeway conditions.

Another bill would create a task force to lay the groundwork to build public e-bike charging stations to get lithium-ion batteries out of people's homes.

"Every single one of these fires whether fatality or loss from home is preventable," Councilmember Jennifer Guitterez said.

Guitterez introduced the task force bill to figure out what it would take to build public e-bike charging stations across the city.

"We would love to have a good sense of not just how much it will cost to install and operate but also what it would cost for someone needing to charge their bike so those are all the things we hope to get out of the task force," Guitterez said.

Councilmember Lincoln Restler introduced legislation that would essentially deputize citizens to help crack down on traffic violations that make it unsafe for cyclists.

Exchange between Restler and NYPD at city council meeting:

Restler pointed to police being the main culprits, a comment that did not go over well with the NYPD during the meeting.

"The idea that there is any enforcement or accountability behind this is a joke," Councilmember Lincoln Restler said.

"It's not a joke I do take it seriously you're welcome to text me a photo of this issue and I will deal with it ASAP," a member of the NYPD said during the meeting.

"The very worst perpetrators are police officers themselves," Restler said. "You can go to any police precinct in the city and you will find at least a dozen cars parked illegally on sidewalks in bike lanes. Making it unsafe for the community to get around."

Restler questioned how officers could enforce a law he said that they aren't following themselves, which is why he proposed empowering citizens.

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