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Bike Accident Victim's Wife Gets DOT Apology

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- After an insult from the city, Nancy Gruskin finally got some respect.

Last year, Gruskin's husband, Stuart, was fatally injured by a reckless bike rider. Gruskin became concerned that the city was moving so quickly to expand bicycling and wrote the mayor about safety issues and asked for a meeting with the Department of Transportation.

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan responded with a form letter addressed to Gruskin's dead husband and met privately with the woman for an hour Monday.

"There was an apology and that was nice," Gruskin told CBS 2's Tony Aiello.

Gruskin said more important than any hard feelings are hard numbers.

As CBS 2's recent "Bike Bedlam" series revealed, the city does not even collect data on bike versus pedestrian accidents.

"The hard data on incidents between bicyclists and pedestrians, it's a real missing link," Gruskin said.

Gruskin said Sadik-Khan agreed data collection must be improved and the two also discussed better enforcement during their meeting.

For instance, the city requires delivery riders to wear a helmet, display the name of the business on their apparel and stay off the sidewalk.

Aiello asked Upper West Siders if they saw delivery riders following the rules.

"I've never seen them wear a helmet. They're all up on the sidewalks. They definitely don't yield to pedestrians," one woman said.

"They'll run you over, they don't wear helmets, they don't care," another resident said.

Gruskin has started a foundation and vowed to work to make bicycle safety a top priority for the DOT.

After Monday's meeting, the DOT commissioner said in a statement she "looks forward" to working with Nancy Gruskin to make city streets even safer.

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