New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Bicycle Safety Improves on East Side for Five Years in a Row

Bicycle Safety Improves on East Side for Five Years in a Row

Bike Safety Education, Equipment & Enforcement Program Led by

Council Members Kallos and Powers Gets Results

 New York, NY — Following an expansion of the Upper East Side’s safe streets network, coupled 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 reduction in the number of collisions involving cyclists each year, and fewer pedestrians and cyclists injured in collisions.

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

·2,472 summons issued to bicycles mostly for not giving right of way to pedestrians and disobeying a steady red signal;

·19,012 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 as of November; and

·62 seizures of “e-bikes” with most receiving summonses as well (ECB/OATH.

 This year, DOT closed the 2nd Ave Gap at the Queensboro Bridge adding protected lanes between 68th Street and 59th Street. Other infrastructure improvements made by the Department of Transportation in the Upper East Side include.

·Doubling bike lanes from just First Avenue and the 90th & 91st Street pair to include protected lanes on Second Avenue, 70th & 71st Street and 77th & 78th Streets in 2017, parking protected bike lanes from 68th to 59th Street on Second Avenue in 2018.

·Safe crossing across the entrance to Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge with new bike lanes and cross walks installed in 2019.

·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. 

 "Our first priority is to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe from cars, and we’ve made great strides doing so on the Upper East Side,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Particularly older residents are also afraid of getting hurt in a collision with bikes that disobey the rules every day. Whether it is ‘near misses’ from a failure to yield to pedestrians, or reports of cyclists who run red lights, go the wrong way, or ride on sidewalks, everyone must know the rules of the road in order to share it safely. Thank you to the NYPD, Department of Transportation, Bike New York, Citi Bike, and Transportation Alternatives for their partnership in making our streets safer.”

“As the city grapples with injuries and fatalities from crashes, safety and enforcement measures are more important than ever. Designing our streets with all New Yorkers in mind and implementing necessary infrastructure, including completing the Second Avenue bike lane gap, allows both cyclists and pedestrians to safely follow the rules of the road. I am glad to partner with Council Member Kallos on programs that keep our residents safe, and thank the Department of Transportation, NYPD, Bike New York, Citi Bike, and Transportation Alternatives for their continued commitment to safe streets," said Council Member Keith Powers.

 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.

 The continuing bike safety program sponsored by Council Members Kallos and Powers includes:

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 since 2006 and over 400 distributed in 2016 and 6,794 distributed at 11 events in beginning in 2017 through 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. In 2019 DOT closed the 2nd Ave Gap at the Queensboro Bridge adding protected lanes between 68th Street and 59th Street.

·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. Between March 28, 2019 and September 30, 2019, within the 17th and 19th precincts, DOT conducted 4,859 inspections, finding 3,3390 deliveries, with 2,296 in compliance and 1,094 failing inspection and receiving a fine.

 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.

CitiBike operated by Motivate

·Free day pass or month on annual membership from CitiBike following participation in monthly free bike safety training.


East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association

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


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.


The program was designed with advice and support from Transportation Alternatives and Streets PAC.

 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 December 12, 2019 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


 The same analysis also found a drop in the number of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians injured in collisions:

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

 “Amidst a challenging year for cycling across New York City, with 29 New Yorkers killed, Transportation Alternatives is inspired by the ongoing work of Council Members Kallos and Powers to bring safer streets to the Upper East Side,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “As more New Yorkers are choosing to travel by bicycle, we look forward to partnering on more north-south and east-west protected routes. These new lanes must provide safe, equitable, and dignified cycling infrastructure that respects pedestrians, especially the most vulnerable users: children, the elderly, and people with disabilities."

 “Our local restaurant owners want to be good neighbors and value our patronage, and we want them to thrive in our neighborhood. Safety education is a very important cornerstone in our collective efforts to keep pedestrians and bikers safe. We thank Councilmembers Kallos and Powers, NYPD, and our small business owners and their cyclists for joining together with E72NA and other stakeholders to ensure our sidewalks and streets are as safe as they can be,” said Valerie Mason, founding President of the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association.

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