An unidentified cyclist was struck and killed by a driver on Grand Central Parkway in Forest Hills shortly after midnight on Monday. The NYPD is investigating the incident, which was the 17th cyclist killed on the city’s streets this year so far, compared to the 14 killed during all of 2015.
Vision Zero — Mayor de Blasio’s plan to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024 — is having a bad year. Traffic deaths have decreased overall since he took office, but they are creeping back up in 2016. The NYPD still has not found the hit-and-run driver (one of many this year) who intentionally killed cyclist Matthew von Ohlen in Williamsburg in early July. Hard-won traffic-calming medians were destroyed eight months after they were installed in Crown Heights to make way for the West Indian Day Parade, with no guarantee that they’d be re-installed. For four hours this week, NYPD herded cyclists away from the country’s busiest bike lane into rush hour traffic on the West Side Highway. The list goes on…
On September 15, Transportation Alternatives will join Families for Safe Streets to hold a mass bike ride in attempt to set Vision Zero back on its proper path. Specifically, the agency is hoping to press Mayor de Blasio to fast-track all of the city’s planned protected bike lanes and pedestrian crossings at its most problematic streets and intersections, where nearly half of the fatalities have taken place.
“We’re riding to send a message that the City is off course in its Vision Zero effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024,” Paul Steely White, Executive Director of TransAlt, said in a statement. “These critical Vision Zero statistics are moving the wrong direction, and we want to know what Mayor de Blasio is going to do about it.”
To further prove its point, the ride will be led by an assemblage of new cyclists, children and older New Yorkers — in other words, the most vulnerable population using the streets.
The event will kick off at E. 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, with cyclists gathering at 6 p.m. and leaving at 6:30 p.m. It will end in Washington Square Park.