New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Bike Safety

Following an expansion of the Upper East Side’s safe streets network, coupled with an increase in education, safety equipment, and enforcement, bike safety from 30th to 97th streets on Manhattan’s East Side continues to improve as a result of a program led by Council Members Ben Kallos and Keith Powers. Since the program’s launch by Council Member Kallos in 2014 there has been a trend toward fewer injuries for pedestrians, cyclists and motorist injured in collisions. The trend also shows fewer collisions involving cyclists.


This year, the program included a new bike safety officer and the expansion of protected bike lanes.

In October of this year, the 19th Precinct lead by Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Kathleen Walsh and Executive Officer Captain William Gallagher established a “Bike Safety Officer” assigning Officer Tuohey to patrol Upper East Side bike lanes and street, ensuring safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Infrastructure improvements include:

  • Improving the bike lane on Second Avenue between 68th and 59th streets from shared to partially parking protected planned for 2019.
  • Providing a pedestrian and bike crossing for the 59th Street Queensboro Bridge planned for 2019.
  • Doubling bike lanes from just First Avenue and the 90th & 91st Street pair to include Second Avenue, 70th & 71st Street and 77th & 78th Streets in 2017.
  • Leading pedestrian intervals along York Avenue to give pedestrians a chance to cross before vehicles get the green light in 2016.
  • “Safety neckdowns” have extended the curb and islands have been added at dangerous intersections throughout the Upper East Side, so pedestrians have less distance to cross.


Since 2013, when the program launched, injuries and deaths on the streets of the Upper East Side have consistently declined. In 2013, 1,564 people were injured and 11 people died, while in 2018 there have been 998 injuries so far and 4 deaths. Pedestrians have seen the greatest safety improvements, with pedestrian injuries falling this year to nearly half their number in 2013. Since 2013, no pedestrian has been killed by a bicycle, and this year only 13 of the injuries to pedestrians were caused by a bicycle.

This positive trend is a result of the continuing bike safety program sponsored by Council Members Kallos and Powers is a partnership with the Department of Transportation, Bike New York, Citi Bike operated by Motivate, the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association, and the New York Police Department’s 17th and 19th Precincts. The program was designed with advice and support from Transportation Alternatives and Streets PAC.

Department of Transportation

  • Free vest, light and bell for commercial owners and riders who participate in free safety trainings offered in English, Spanish and Chinese - 200 trained in 2016 and more than 400 trained in 2017.
  • Free helmet giveaway with youth cyclist education with 210,835 distributed citywide since 2006. Over 400 distributed in 2016, 2,846 in 2017 and 679 in 2018 on the East Side.
  • Protected bike lanes, which began with First Avenue expanded to Second Avenue in 2017, have reduced in all vehicle, bike, and pedestrian collisions.
  • Infrastructure improvements including neckdowns, islands, and leading pedestrian intervals.
  • Enforcement against restaurants that deliver by bike with inspections for safety equipment such as vests, lights and bells with issuance of warnings or summonses in response to 311 complaints. Following trainings, within the 17th and 19th precincts, DOT conducted 4,416 inspections, found 3,189 deliver, with 1,398 in compliance, and 1,791 failing inspection.

Bike New York

  • Free learn to bike ride safely for children and adults in gymnasiums and public parks.
  • Free bike safety classes to educate children and adults at schools, libraries, government offices, and local bike shops. In 2018, Bike New York-educated 26,344 students Citywide. In District 5, almost 1,000 Eastsiders attended Bike New York classes held in the District.
  • Free Citi Bike Street Skills to educate adults who are Citi Bike members or thinking about joining on how to bike safely, comfortably and legally on city streets.

Citi Bike operated by Motivate

  • Free day pass or month on annual membership from Citi Bike following participation in Citi Bike Unlocked classes monthly free bike safety training in 2018 held 5 classes were held at Council Member Kallos’ office, with a total of 29 people attending.

New York Police Department (NYPD) 17th and 19th Precincts

  • Bike Lane Patrol by NYPD officers on bikes purchased by Council Members Kallos and Garodnick to improve enforcement of traffic regulations in bike lanes.
  • Increased enforcement on bike safety and respecting bike lanes by 17th and 19th precincts with support from Traffic Task Force.

NYPD traffic data 17th and 19th precinct report Year to Date (YTD) as of October:

  • 1,749 summons issued to bicycles mostly for not giving right of way to pedestrians and disobeying a steady red signal;
  • 18,134 moving violations issued to vehicles, the violations were issued  for  infractions such as improper turns, disobeying a traffic control device for red lights, not yielding the right of way to pedestrians among other violations; and
  • 81 seizures of “e-bikes” with most receiving summonses to appear at ECB/OATH.

East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association

  • Grading Restaurants based on use of safety equipment (vests, lights, bells and helmets) and electric bikes.

For the third year in a row the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association released a Delivery Bike Report Card, in partnership with Council Members Ben Kallos and Keith Powers, doubling the number of restaurants surveyed to 95, in which 30 restaurants received an “A” for delivery cyclists who wore vests with identification along with helmets and used human powered bikes with lights and a bell, while 42 restaurants received an “F” for using illegal e-bikes. The report was followed by confiscation of e-bikes from restaurants receiving an “F” by the NYPD’s 19th Precinct.

Following two years of e-bike enforcement where the Upper East Side accounted for more than 10% of all e-bike seizures citywide, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on October 19, 2017 that beginning 2018, NYPD will begin issuing violations to businesses of $100 for the first offense and $200 for each subsequent offense. Coupled with Local Law 47, authored by Council Member Ben Kallos, businesses with unpaid violations or repeat offenses could risk losing their licenses, permits or registrations necessary to do business.

An analysis of NYPD Motor Vehicle Collision data from July 2012 to mid-November 2018 for Zip Codes covering the East Side from 26th Street to 96th Street (10016, 10017, 10021, 10022, 10028, 10065, 10075, 10128) found:


Motor Vehicles

Bicycles Only










Collisions with Motor Vehicle


Injured in Collision with Motor Vehicle


Killed in Collision with Motor Vehicle



Additionally, the analysis found that the number of collisions involving cyclists has a downward trend despite ridership increasing.


Since the summer of 2015, the bike safety program spearheaded by Council Member Ben Kallos and Council Member Keith Powers has succeeded in its goal of helping pedestrians and cyclists safely enjoy city streets, as covered by CBS, NBCOur Town and amNY.



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