Mayor de Blasio Announces “Green Wave” Bicycle Plan To Address Cycling Fatalities

July 25, 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio today released “Green Wave: A Plan for Cycling in New York City” to confront the rise in cycling fatalities in 2019. As cycling continues to grow dramatically, the $58.4 million plan combines design, enforcement, legislation, policy and education to make the City’s streets safer for cyclists — and all street users. With fatalities heavily concentrated this year in Brooklyn, the Mayor unveiled the plan in Bay Ridge, a neighborhood that this year will receive its first on-street protected lanes along 7th Avenue. The Mayor separately announced that as part of the accelerated expansion of the protected bike lane network, DOT would this year install a two-way protected bicycle lane along Dyckman Street in Washington Heights.

“When we came into office we promised New Yorkers we’d do everything we could to end traffic fatalities,” said Mayor de Blasio. “No loss of life on our streets is acceptable. With a dangerous surge in cyclist fatalities, we have to keep pushing the envelope and increasing our efforts. That’s what this plan is about. It’s a continuation of our promise. This time, specifically to bikers. We are here to protect you and we take that job seriously. We will not stop until we have finally reached Vision Zero.”

“Thanks to the Mayor’s leadership and the effective work of so many in the advocacy community, we are proud to present the “Green Wave” plan today,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We have assembled a long and aggressive to-do list that we think that can change this year’s tragic increase in cyclist fatalities – and encourage even more New Yorkers to get on bicycles.”

“The Green Wave plan is a critical step forward in addressing the tragic surge in bicyclist fatalities,” said NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan. “We are ramping up enforcement at crash-prone intersections, and targeting enforcement on high risk activities such as speeding, failing to yield and blocking bike lanes which directly affects bicyclist safety.”

The seventeen bicyclist fatalities so far this year represent the highest number through July of any year since the launch of Vision Zero in 2014, after a record-low 10 fatalities in all of 2018. This year, 12 (or 71%) of this year’s cyclist fatalities have been in Brooklyn, and eight fatalities involved cyclist interactions with trucks.

The Green Wave Plan is a multi-prong, multi-agency approach to curtail bike injuries and fatalities at a time when cycling popularity is on the rise, the City continues to expand its bike network and Citi Bike is expanding into new neighborhoods and boroughs. According to DOT’s Cycling in the City report 24% of adult New Yorkers ride a bike, with a half-million cycling trips made on a typical day. Citi Bike, the nation’s largest bike share system continues to grow and recently announced plans to double its footprint and triple its fleet by 2023. In the past three years the City has added an average of 62 bike lane miles per year, including over 20 protected bike lane miles.

The new plan includes the following major elements:

Create Citywide Protected Bike Lane Vision

  • To implement the Green Wave plan, the City has committed $58.4 million in new funding over the next five years, with 80 additional new staff.
  • Build 30 miles of protected bicycle lane annually, guided by a PBL vision document. By the end of 2021, DOT will install over 80 miles of protected lanes. These projects are currently in various stages of planning and design.
  • DOT has identified 10 Brooklyn and Queens community boards as Bike Priority Districts, which together represent 16% of community boards and 14% of the bike lane network – yet have 23% percent of all NYC’s bicycle fatalities. DOT has committed to build 75 miles of bicycle infrastructure in these districts by 2022.
  • Spur increase in cycling mode share for safety and emissions reduction, furthering OneNYC 2050 goal that 1 out of every 10 trips in NYC be taken by bicycle.

Improve and Update Design

  • DOT will build upon innovative intersection designs with a focus on areas where the majority of fatalities occur.
  • Fifty (50) intersections will receive turn calming treatments in 2019 and where possible, protected intersection designs will be added for new projects after streets are resurfaced or reconstructed.
  • Among innovations, DOT will in 2019 pilot so-called “Green Wave,” progressive signal-timing that discourages speeding and encourages steady cycling speeds — and it will identify other corridors for implementation in 2020.
  • Install Green Skip Bars at key intersections to increase cyclist visibility.

Expand NYPD Enforcement

  • Under the plan, the NYPD will ramp up enforcement at the 100 most crash-prone intersections and target enforcement on highest risk activities: speeding, failing to yield, blocking bike lanes, oversized trucks/trucks off route.
  • Maintain continuous citywide implementation of “Operation Bicycle Safe Passage” initiative – extending elevated enforcement of blocked bike lanes and hazardous driving violations. Since implementation of Operation Bicycle Safe Passage, NYPD has doubled enforcement of cars parked in bicycle lanes and issued more than 8,600 summons in the first three weeks of July.
  • Specialized units and precincts will increase enforcement against oversized and off-route trucks.
  • The NYPD also announced that supervisors would respond to collision sites to determine if the right-of-way laws should be applied — and that it would also discontinue its practice of ticketing cyclists at the site of fatal cyclist crashes.
  • NYPD supports new and emerging technology for automated enforcement.

Promote Legislation and Implement Policy

  • DOT will both make new rules and work with the City Council and State Legislature in support of legislation increasing safety for cyclists and all road users. The agency will partner with various local and state agencies to advance cyclist safety.
  • Among the specifics, DOT will implement local legislation that passed the Council this week that allows cyclists to proceed on the pedestrians signal and will work with the Speaker and Council Members to pass additional legislation requiring a three-foot passing distance between car and cyclist and enhanced requirements for trucks sideguards.
  • DOT will also explore and evaluate the capabilities of existing and emerging technology for automated enforcement technologies to keep bike lanes clear, as well as enforce overweight truck restrictions, and determine the feasibility of obtaining State legislative approval for use of these technologies.
  • DOT will institute new requirements to protect cyclists around work zones, under legislation recently passed by the Council, and increase maintenance and markings inspection capacity.
  • DOT will install 2,000 bike parking spaces annually through bike corrals and issue an RFEI to evaluate the possibility of a new high-capacity bicycle parking system.

Target Trucks in Major Safety Initiative

  • DOT will work with its partners in the trucking industry to address fatalities involving trucks, which have constituted over 50% of recent cyclist fatalities.
  • DOT will convene a Vision Zero Truck Safety Task Force.
  • DOT will develop instructional videos and materials for large fleets, private sanitation companies and freight industry partners. DOT will also expand the “Trucks Eye View” educational program.
  • DOT will implement loading zones in residential areas and evaluate curb management in commercial areas, with the expansion of the Off-Hour Deliveries program.
  • DOT will also pursue an expedited timeline for installation of side guards for all Business Integrity Commission-licensed and registered private garbage-collection vehicles.

Continued Expansion of Outreach/Helmet Safety

  • DOT will continue its use of successful media campaign to promote safety, including a focus on the “Get There” bike encouragement and safety campaign messaging through weekly events and education programming.
  • DOT will expand a companion education portion to the defensive driving and training programs at local driving schools as well as expand the citywide 7th Grade Bike Safety Program in collaboration with DOE and Bike New York.
  • DOT will also work with Citi Bike to provide free helmets to NYCHA residents who become Citi Bike members.

Record 2019 Protected Bike Lane Production, including along 7th Avenue in Bay Ridge and along Dyckman Street in Washington Heights: The Mayor also announced that after an average of over 20 protected bike lane miles per year for the last three years, a record amount of protected bike lanes – over 25 lane miles — would be completed in 2019, with a commitment to even more protected lane miles in 2021 and 2022. Among this year’s projects, the Mayor today watched crews preparing new 2 miles of new bike lanes in Bay Ridge along 7th Avenue, the first-ever protected lanes in this neighborhood.

Also among those projects will be over one-half mile of protected bike lanes along Dyckman Street in Washington Heights. After several years of community consultation and the construction of two one-way lanes, the street will be redesigned this summer with a two-way lane on the north side of Dyckman Street, a critical connector that will help complete the Manhattan Greenway.

“The need for our licensees to share the road safely with bicyclists has never been more urgent,” said Acting TLC Commissioner Bill Heinzen. “The Taxi & Limousine Commission is updating training, outreach, and enforcement on bicycle safety to over 200,000 drivers, as well as working with our business licensees and advocates to push the safety message. It’s critical that all for-hire drivers and passengers remember to turn and look before they open their car doors, and keep the city’s bike lanes clear for their fellow New Yorkers.”

“Bicycling is a healthy and environmentally-friendly way to get around the city and the Administration’s efforts to make the streets safer for cyclists is critical to the wellbeing of every resident,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Safer streets means healthier New Yorkers.”

“Side guards are a simple, effective and relatively low-cost safety measure that should be on all heavy-duty trade waste trucks. The cyclists and pedestrians in our City should not have to wait until 2024 for the carters to install them on all of their trucks. The sooner, the better. 2021 is more than enough time to make this change,” said BIC Commissioner Noah D. Genel.

“I am very pleased to learn that the Mayor’s Office is taking significant action to make our streets safer for cyclists. 2019 has already been a deadlier year for cyclists in New York City than the entirety of 2018. Most of these incidents have occurred in Brooklyn, and too many have sadly occurred within my District. Brooklynites deserve much better. I hope that this plan will put an end to cycling fatalities and help to make our streets safe for all,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

“The spike in cyclist fatalities necessitates immediate action to prevent more tragedies from occurring on our streets. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for his leadership to address this issue by expanding bike lanes and enforcement to high-risk areas – a step to ensure that Vision Zero protects all New Yorkers on the road, and that our streets are safer for every cyclist, driver, and pedestrian,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.

“No one should risk injury or worse just because they are choosing to get on a bike in New York City, but in 2019, that has been the reality for too many riders. I’m grateful to Mayor de Blasio for building on his commitment to Vision Zero with today’s investments. With bike ridership set to increase even more dramatically in the coming years, these new measures and protections could not come soon enough,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman.

“In my district, we have neighborhoods that are both underserved by public transit and left out of investments in alternative transportation,” New York State Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie said. “Meanwhile, enforcement of traffic safety laws has too often targeted communities of color and cyclists rather than reckless truckers and drivers. I commend the mayor for taking a step toward making New York’s streets safe for all New Yorkers and creating true transportation equity.”

“More than a dozen cyclists have been killed by vehicles this year alone on our streets, including some who were struck while biking in broad daylight in our own district. I’m hopeful that the mayor’s plan to eliminate these fatalities will succeed, but it needs to be carried out as swiftly as possible in order to avoid yet another cyclist’s preventable death. For even one more person to die because of our city’s lack of adequately protected bike lanes is completely unacceptable. We need to do better, and I look forward to working with the mayor’s office to make Vision Zero a reality,” said State Senator Julia Salazar.

“We want all bicyclists to ride safely and to be assured that our streets are safe. Everyone must be careful on the streets. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians share our roads and streets equally. We have to look out for each other and follow traffic rules, no matter how inconvenient they might interfere with how we get around town. Safety is always our top priority,” said Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.

“I’m hopeful that the “Green Wave” multi-agency approach will reduce bicycle fatalities across the city, and in our community. One fatality is too many, and we must confront the sharp rise in collisions immediately, with a sustainable plan to prevent further collisions between bicyclists and motorists. I applaud the mayor for implementing this initiative,” said Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus.

“It’s great that more and more New Yorkers are cycling around town, because the more we get around by cycling and walking, the healthier we’ll be. But the dramatic increase in cyclist fatalities shows that safety improvements are badly needed. The Green Wave plan combining design, enforcement, legislation, policy, and education will help make New York safer for everyone,” said Assembly Member Richard N Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health

“I look forward to supporting safety improvements that enhance road sharing in our City. Yesterday, I committed $1 million dollars to NYC DOT to implement immediate infrastructure measures in my Assembly District. Road sharing is not going away, so we must find improved ways of sharing our streets,” said Assembly Member Joseph Lentol.

“We cannot continue to prioritize the convenience of drivers at the expense of New Yorkers lives,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. “Biking in New York can and should be fun, accessible, and safe, but right now it feels like cyclists risk their lives with every ride. Pedestrians, too, will be helped by reclaiming street space for people, not cars. Improving safety through the stepped-up implementation of cycling infrastructure will allow the public to have greater confidence when they get on a bike or step out into the crosswalk that they will be able to travel safely.”

“Cyclists are increasingly using our City’s streets and deserve the same focus on safety from Vision Zero as other road users. The Mayor’s Green Wave plan focusing on street design, enforcement, and policy is necessary to tackle the recent increases in cyclist fatalities,” said Assembly Member David I. Weprin. “Traffic fatalities are preventable and I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for refocusing his efforts to make New York City’s streets safe and accessible to all.”

“I am appreciative of City Hall’s redoubling of its street safety efforts, especially in light of the terrible tragedies that have been occurring to cyclists and pedestrians on Brooklyn’s streets. It is long past time we get serious about building out a truly connected network of safe bike infrastructure, including a focus on priority corridors in underserved communities like Bay Ridge, Brownsville, Midwood, and Sheepshead Bay. We need equitable attention paid to intersection redesigns and enforcement of our traffic rules. I am eager for fast-tracking implementation and for addressing this Vision Zero crisis with the sense of urgency it demands,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“New Yorkers deserve safer streets,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The uptick in cyclist fatalities this year is unacceptable, and I’m glad the Administration is taking steps to prevent future incidents.”

“We should be proactive in our approach to improving the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. The City has over 1.5 million cyclists and growing. We need to ensure that these New Yorkers are protected while on the road,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Transportation Committee Chair “We are close to doubling the number of cyclist deaths this year as compared to 2018. The need for a bike plan that efficiently addresses cyclist safety is more relevant now than ever. I will continue working alongside the Mayor’s Office, DOT Commissioner Trottenberg, colleagues and advocates as we implement and continuing exploring other ways we can make our streets safer for all cyclist.”

“I want to thank NYC DOT for recognizing the seriousness of the public health crisis bicyclists face in our city and for coming up with real safety solutions to address these risks. I look forward to working with DOT and NYPD to ensure these new regulations and safety measures are implemented and enforced, and to see New York City become the bicycle leader we all want it to be,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

“I want to commend Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Department of Transportation, and the New York Police Department on their efforts to implement new bike safety measures in New York City. Biking is not only a great source of exercise, but it is also an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective method for residents to travel throughout the five boroughs,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “As a city, it is important that our roads and intersections are designed to promote the safety and security of hardworking New Yorkers. We must use every resource available to make sure that residents can travel safely via bicycle throughout New York City. It is my hope that by working together, we can continue to create effective bike safety initiatives that will save lives while benefiting the next generation of New Yorkers.”

“Everyone is safer when they have their own place on the street, pedestrians on sidewalks, bikes in their own lane, and both protected from cars. The Bike Safety program I launched five years ago with the Administration has helped reduce collisions involving cyclists and injuries for pedestrians every year,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thanks to five years of partnership with DOT, Bike New York, Transportation Alternatives, CitiBike, the NYPD’s 17th and 19th precincts, and Mayor Bill de Blasio we will see much of this program rolled out citywide to make every pedestrian and cyclist safer.”

“Safer cycling means safer streets for everyone.” said New York City Councilmember Brad Lander. “After far too many tragic traffic fatalities in our communities this year, the City must take urgent action to implement known strategies for building and stewarding streets that are safe for cyclists and all road users. I wholeheartedly support the DOT’s plans to expand our network of protected bike lanes, increase enforcement that targets dangerous behavior, and increase cycling among New Yorkers through education and supportive infrastructure. I look forward to working with DOT to implement the Bike Safety Action Plan, and to pass my legislation, the Reckless Driver Accountability Act, to keep the most dangerous drivers off the road.”

“There have been far too many traffic-related tragedies in this city, at a time when we are working toward zero. These proposals are a step in the right direction to protect cyclists and invest in safety for bikers and pedestrians alike. I thank the Mayor and the Department of Transportation for working toward solutions and look forward to further action to protect bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Council Member Keith Powers.

“I, along with all of New York City, have grieved the loss of cyclists on our streets this year. Keeping every street safe for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers is an absolute top priority. By expanding our network of protected bike lanes, changing traffic regulations to increase cyclist safety, and continuing vigorous community outreach, we can better protect all New Yorkers. I very much look forward to working with the Mayor on a number of these initiatives,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

“This bike safety plan is a good blueprint for the future; we must take immediate action to end the carnage on our streets. This is a state of emergency. 17 cyclists have already been killed in 2019 and there have been more close calls. We cannot wait for more lives to be lost and families shattered. I appreciate the Administration’s efforts to ramp up traffic enforcement and to speed up the installation of connected bike networks across our city. We must continue redesigning our roads to improve the safety of cyclists and prevent more senseless tragedies,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.

“Regional Plan Association applauds NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Mayor de Blasio for producing a vision to create a more robust, citywide bicycle network in New York City. There has been a dramatic increase in cyclist deaths this year which must be reversed. As New York City’s population and economy continues to grow and the climate crisis worsens, cycling needs to become a truly viable transportation option for all New Yorkers that works in tandem with a healthy street and subway system. The City must play a vital role in encouraging more cycling by providing safe and protected bicycle lanes. This vision is a strong start, and we are eager to help the City build on and implement it over the next several years,” said Tom Wright, President, and CEO of Regional Plan Association.

“Citi Bike riders will be the first to tell you how a protected bike lane improves a cycling commute, and as we prepare to expand to the Bronx and beyond, it’s imperative that we equip more New Yorkers with safe routes to get around by bike,” said Caroline Samponaro, Head of Micro mobility Policy at Lyft, the operator of Citi Bike. “We applaud the de Blasio administration’s focus on installing protected bike lanes and commitment to address the rise in cyclist fatalities this year. Citi Bike and Lyft pledge to partner with NYC DOT and City Hall on this important new plan to make our streets a safer place for all.”

“The tragic deaths of several people riding bikes in just the past few weeks show how much work we have before us to make New York a truly great city for cycling, and the “Green Wave” plan is a major step forward in getting us there. The robust network of connected bike lanes, expansion of Dutch-style intersection designs, and rollout of new “green wave” corridors – especially in neighborhoods in which good biking infrastructure has been lacking – will both improve safety and encourage more cycling, which in itself makes streets safer. But we also need people who drive in New York City to change their behavior behind the wheel, to slow down, obey right of way, and share the streets. We need a change in car culture as well as these important changes in street design,” said Eric McClure, Executive Director, StreetsPAC.

“The collaboration of BIC, NYC DOE, DOT, Mayors Office, NYPD and unprecedented programs for ‘large fleet’ partners in commercial trucking all send a clear message — our city leaders are ready and prepared to make NYC a world-class model of streets for people,” said Cristina Furlong, Co-Founder of Make Queens Safer. “Paired with the vigorous expansion of protected bike lanes, and funding to maintain them, access and equity finally will reach our most vulnerable road users. Whether it’s the $58 million the mayor is spending or the $50 the average speed violator pays, every cent is worth it compared to the price victims of traffic violence pay due to politics, delays and callous community banter. The data is clear and must be followed. Every traffic death that is preventable must be prevented.”

By implementing and expanding infrastructure, such as Citi Bike and protected bicycle lanes, to support cycling in Central Brooklyn and other low-income neighborhoods, we make our streets safer for all,” said Tracey Capers, Executive Vice President of Programs/Organizational Development at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and a leader of the NYC Better Bike Share Partnership. “We support plans to increase engagement of key community stakeholders around biking throughout NYC and we are pleased that Bed-Stuy Restoration can continue to serve as a leader and model for community engagement and empowerment in the cycling arena.”

“The Green Wave initiative, which includes an expansion of the city’s network of protected bike lanes, is the right plan at a time when more New Yorkers than ever are clamoring for a viable and safe alternative to crowded subways and slow buses, and, critically, at a time when cyclist injuries and deaths are on the rise,” said Janna Chernetz, Deputy Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “As more initiatives are undertaken with cyclist safety in mind, we expect Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to continue to look for ways to address the sheer number of cars and trucks clogging the city’s streets.”

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