NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Pedestrians hit and injured by bicycle riders – it’s a statistic that no one kept. However, after CBS 2 exposed the gap in record-keeping, New York City is moving to fill in the blanks.
In a city where pedestrians and bike riders are clashing, some advocates say something is missing in the debate – reliable injury data.
“Hard data on incidents between bicyclists and pedestrians, it’s a real missing link,” Nancy Gruskin, of the Gruskin Family Foundation, said.
Gruskin learned that the hard way after her husband, Stuart, was fatally injured by a reckless bike rider last year in Midtown.
As CBS 2 revealed in our “Bike Bedlam” reports, New York City hasn’t been collecting data on the number of pedestrians injured by bike riders.
After CBS 2 helped Gruskin get a meeting with NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, however, some progress has been made.
DOT told Gruskin the state has agreed to use motor vehicle accident forms to finally document accidents between bike riders and pedestrians.
It’s a victory for Gruskin and her bike safety foundation, but one that won’t come immediately.
The data collection won’t begin until next April, and the numbers won’t be crunched for months after that, even as the city moves forward with plans to build miles of additional dedicated bike lanes.
“I think they have an agenda, and they’re gonna push that agenda through,” Lois Carswell, of Seniors for Safety, said.
On Thursdays, the critics will call for the city to rip up the controversial bike lane on Prospect Park West. This being New York City, though, there will be a counter-protest by bike lane supporters, as the debate spins on and on.
“I’m very happy with the results of DOT’s work here,” one resident said.
While the city and state work to start collecting the injury data, bike safety advocates are working with hospitals to document the problem using emergency room reports.