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NYC Cyclist Deaths: Street Safety Rally Pushes New Laws Promising Better Bike Lanes, Limits On Commercial Waste Haulers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A rally was held near City Hall with elected officials and advocates demanding the passage of three new Vision Zero bills.

The bills would create more protected bike lanes, regulate where commercial waste haulers can travel and target the city's most dangerous drivers.

This year already, 156 New Yorkers have been killed in traffic-related accidents, with 21 of them being cyclists.

Safety advocates say more cyclists have been killed in 2019 than any year in the last two decades.

Cyclist Street Safety Rally Near City Hall

"In November of 2017, I was struck by a private waste hauling truck while crossing the street," said Lauren Pine. "I lost my leg, but I know that I'm lucky because I survived. So many people have lost lives."

Pine wants to see the Commercial Exclusive Waste Zone reform bill passed. It would mean an overhaul of the private waste haul removal truck guidelines in the city, something Royal Waste Services driver Francisco Rivera believes will reign in his fellow waste truck drivers.

"We got drivers that are blowing stop signs and red lights and that's because we get pushed by trying to finish up a route," he said.

According to the coalition, three people have been killed by garbage trucks in the past month.

The bill would designate zones for private waste removal companies so drivers would no longer have to zig-zag across the city at dangerous speeds to pick up in different boroughs.

"The zone is something I believe strongly will help us from not doing 14, 16 hours a night. Then you could do your hours and then people would not sleep behind the wheel," said Rivera.

The second bill, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson's Streets Master Plan bill, would require the Department of Transportation to implement 150 miles of protected bus lanes and open more protected pedestrian plazas.

"So far this year, thousands of drivers have been driving despite the fact that they have wracked up two, three, four, five and more tickets of red light camera violations," said Marco Conner.

The group's third piece they're pushing is a Reckless Driver Accountability Act that would require those repeat offenders to take a traffic safety program. Drivers in New York City say this is over the top.

"They just ding you on everything, it's like 'go go go' see how you can get more money from drivers," said Kim Harvey of Chelsea.

"It's not enough road for me to drive as it is in Manhattan," said Charlie Holmes of Harlem.

The three pieces of legislation are already in front of the City Council and could be voted on before by the end of the year.

The rally comes roughly a month after hundreds of bicyclists in Brooklyn gathered to demand safer bike lanes across the city.

A follow-up meeting in Brooklyn last week ended in a chaotic shouting match over the 9th Street bike lane in Park Slope.

While there were 10 cyclists killed in traffic in all of 2018, the tally for 2019 so far stands at 21:

  • Jan. 1 – Hugo Alexander Sinto Garcia, 26, was killed on Third Avenue near East 28th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
  • Jan. 4 – Hector Ayala, 41, was killed on Linden Boulevard near Crescent Street in East New York, Brooklyn.
  • Jan. 26 – Susan Moses, 63, was killed at Kings Highway and Van Sicklen Street in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
  • Feb. 4 – Joseph Chiam, 72, was killed by a tractor-trailer truck at 8th Avenue and 45th Street in Midtown, Manhattan. The driver took off.
  • Feb. 28 – Aurilla Lawrence, 25, was killed at Broadway and Rodney Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  • March 14 – Robert Spencer, 53, was killed at Borden Avenue and Second Street in Long Island City, Queens.
  • April 17 – Pedro Tepozteco, 26, was killed on 47th Street near 17th Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
  • April 27 – Victor Ang, 74, was killed on 11th Avenue near West 30th Street in Chelsea, Manhattan.
  • May 11 – Kenichi Nakagawa, 22, was killed at Dean Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
  • May 12 – Robert Sommer, 29, was killed by a car on Avenue U between Burnett and East 33rd streets in Marine Park, Brooklyn.
  • May 15 – Yisroel Schwartz, 16, was killed at 17th Avenue and 53rd Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
  • June 9 – Mohammed Abdullah, 29, was killed by a car at Avenue D and 105th Street in Canarsie, Brooklyn. The driver was charged with driving while intoxicated with her 4-year-old daughter in the backseat.
  • June 24 – Robyn Hightman, 20, was killed by a tractor-trailer truck at West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue. The driver was cited for equipment violations.
  • June 27 – Ernest Askew, 57, was killed by a car at Chester Street and Sutter Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
  • July 1 – Devra Freelander, 28, was killed by a cement truck at Boerum Street and Bushwick Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  • July 23 – Alex Cordero, 17, was killed by tow truck at Castleton Avenue and Clove Road in the West Brighton section of Staten Island.
  • July 23 – A 58-year-old man was killed by a box truck at McGuiness Boulevard and Norman Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
  • July 29 – Em Samolewicz, 30, was killed by a tractor-trailer at 35th Street and Third Avenue in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn.
  • Aug. 11 - Jose Alzorriz, 52, was killed when a car ran a red light and slammed into an SUV at Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
  • Sept. 2 - Donald Roberts, 47, was killed at Broadway and Ellery Street on the border of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick, Brooklyn. The driver, Korey Johnson, was charged with murder and reckless endangerment.
  • Sept. 21 - Mario Valenzuela, 14, was killed by a dump truck at Borden Avenue and 11th Street in Long Island City, Queens.
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