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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  • Abby Greenberg, MD

    Many bicyclists on New York City streets are a real hazard to both pedestrians and motorists. They frequently drive the wrong way, weave in and out of traffic, go through red lights and ride up on sidewallks. Nancy Gruskin is bringing this issue to the forefront and Tony Aiello has taken her concerns and brought it to the attention of the CBS viewers. I applaud Commissioner Sadik – Khan and the NYC Dept of Transportation for responding to Nancy Gruskin and Tony Aiello and recognizing that more data needs to be obtained and more needs to be done to protect pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists to prevent unnecessary harm to all.

  • Sarah Felix

    It seems we are at the very beginning of an era of change in nyc streets. This meeting shows that change is truly achievable and there are individuals out there willing to fight for it. Hopefully this is the first of many discussions on this imperative issue.

  • Nancy Linday

    By ramming bicycle lanes through New York City at any cost to the lives of pedestrians, Bloomberg and Sadik-Kahn have exposed a deep underlying flaw in the “culture” of cyclists:
    Their staggering sense of “entitlement.”

    As cyclists ride wherever they want, in whichever direction they choose, whether they have the light or not, speeding up curb cuts for the disabled and flying across sidewalks, cyclists reveal the truth of their training—or rather, the lack thereof: Cyclists have never been taught to behave as “citizens.”

    Obeying basic laws of society is beneath them. The “Rules of the Road” don’t apply to them.

    Just as “Driver Education” is taught in high schools to prepare teenagers for their new responsibilities as drivers, “Rider Education” must be taught in elementary school, as this is the age when children start to ride bicycles. “Rider Education” has to continue in middle school as well as high school. “Rider Education” must be part of every college program, and must be cultivated on every college campus.

    Only when we bring citizenship training and cycling together will we have a chance to develop responsible “citizen cyclists,” who will take the needs of others into account as they obey the rules of the road.

    Nancy Linday

  • Mark

    Beyond rules and enforcement, we can all make a difference in just being a bit kinder to each other. One website working towards this is

  • Richard

    I grew up with Stuart and knew him for 30+ years. His death was senseless and tragic and SO unnecesary. The delivery person was going the wrong way on a one way street and very fast. Stuart never had a chance. The police should enforce the laws already on the books instead of just handing out parking tickets.

  • Earlier post and a smaller Feed to filter | Witch on a Bicycle

    […] in only) pedestrian killed by a cyclist in NYC gets a personal condolence from their head of DOT. Bike Accident Victim’s Wife Gets DOT Apology Does the DOT send personal noted to the survivors of the dozens of pedestrians killed on sidewalks […]

  • ddartley

    Aiello’s own words acknowledge the importance of “hard numbers,” but in this story he takes the opposite, non-scientific approach: a selected few man-on-street interviews.

    I am a cyclist and I often stick up for other cyclists. I contacted Ms. Gruskin’s foundation to offer my support for its mission and she herself replied, very kindly. I believe the cycling community and the DOT will indeed work alongside Ms. Gruskin, and will make real progress towards making the streets safer for everyone.

    Ms. Gruskin herself has already had a positive effect on Aiello, whose usual irrational anti-cyclist bent (e.g., “Bike Bedlam”) was much less on display in this story.

    Here’s to Ms. Gruskin and a future of safer pedestrians.

  • James Giglio, MD

    It’s critically important for the city to study the problem. While many assume that increased bicycle use is good for a city, the negative impact on quality of life and safety for pedestrians might outweigh any benefits.

  • Marsha

    I do hope that Sadik-Khan is serious and not just paying lip service here because she got caught. I hope that this is a lesson for everyone – the “statistics” and pronouncements that come out of the DOT office must be taken with a very large grain of salt.

  • Sally Cohen-Alameno

    Nancy Gruskin has channeled her grief into an enormously valuable mission to make the streets of New York City safer for everyone. We all owe her our gratitude and respect.

  • Patricj

    There are the wreckless and the non-wrecklss bicyclist. The casual decent non-wreckless bicyclist should not be harassed with time better spent on the wreckless bicyclist. Any probationary law enforcement officer knows that is very easy to write a ticket to any casual bicyclist so as to appear that they are doing their job. But are they really doing their job by getting the wreckless ones off of our streets?.

  • kathy quaranta

    so glad to see something positive being done. good for all pedestrians of new york. thanks to nany gruskin and tony aiello

  • Sam

    Police need to ticket bike riders on West Side greenway path who think that no one else has rights. There should be a speed limit for bikes.

    • bob

      Yeah! More rules! Restrict everything uner the sun! That’s the answer. After all, speed limits for motor vehicles are so effective, I’m sure that attaching them to bicycles will have a dramatic effect. Tell me…what should the bicycle speed limit be?

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