The CitiBike Program Has a New Map So Maybe It Is Really Happening

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Department of Transportation
We haven't forgotten about the CitiBike plan. Even after it got delayed once (thanks computer glitches). And then again (thanks, Sandy). Now, the expected release date is this July for New York's first citywide bike share--a program that Mayor Bloomberg is still whatever about.

Keyword: expected. But, with this new map of detailed locations (seen above) in hand, maybe this is the real thing.

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NYPD Finally Changes Policy on Traffic Collisions

Categories: Bikes

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Bike and pedestrian advocates say the move is a step in the right direction, but not enough.
Under pressure from City Council and a coalition of bicycle and pedestrian advocates, the NYPD has made changes to how it investigates -- and talks about -- traffic collisions.

In a letter to city councilors revealed yesterday, Police Chief Ray Kelly announced a number of changes in how the department handles traffic collisions. The NYPD has been criticized for years over its tendency to let dangerous drivers off easy, even after they've injured or killed cyclists, pedestrians, or other motorists.

When the criticisms finally resulted in police brass being called before a a City Council hearing last year, it was revealed that the NYPD didn't even send an Accident Investigation Squad to a crash site unless someone actually died or was thought likely to die. Without the detailed investigation that only that team is trained to perform, prosecuting motorists is next to impossible.

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Old Newspaperman Yells at Bike Lanes, Is Thoroughly Ridiculed

Categories: Bikes

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Denis Hamill remembers when kids were tough and had to build their bicycles out of scrap-lumber and ride them in heavy traffic.
Yesterday, New York Daily News columnist Denis Hamill wrote a column called "I Hate Bike Lanes."

A masterpiece of curmudgeonly Andy-Rooney grumbling, the column flashes back to Hamill's memory of building his own first bicycle out of "assorted discarded parts mined from the wood bins of our tenement in Brooklyn."

Learning to ride in Prospect, Hamill fell off his (all-lumber?) bicycle repeatedly, not even wearing a sissy helmet, and he took it like a man.

Here are two real actual sentences from the piece: "We didn't need no stinking bicycle lanes. We blazed our own trails."

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Mathieu Lefevre's Family's Suit Against the NYPD Dismissed

Categories: Bikes, NYPD

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Dexter Miranda
Mathieu Lefevre was killed while cycling in Brooklyn last October.
A grieving family's lawsuit against the NYPD over the department's heel-dragging in turning over information about the death of a cyclist was dismissed today.

When Mathieu Lefevre was killed by a truck while cycling in Williamsburg last October, his family wanted to know what happened.

The NYPD wouldn't tell them, even after the Lefevres filed a Freedom of Information request, citing an ongoing investigation -- though that didn't prevent the police from leaking to the Wall Street Journal some of the same information they were telling the Lefevres they couldn't have.

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City Council Members Slam NYPD's Traffic Accident Policy, Call for Investigative Taskforce

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Some months after the City Council grilled the New York Police Department's policy on of traffic crashes -- and ongoing criticism of its handling of the Mathieu Lefevre case -- several members want to establish a taskforce to investigate the Department's accident policy, which has long come under fire as anti-pedestrian and anti-cyclist.

Council Members David Greenfield, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Peter Vallone, and James Vacca announced this morning that they want to create a 15-member group charged with analyzing the NYPD's definition of "serious injury," as officers do not investigate accidents unless they think the hurt party is dead or likely to die. Lander, Levin, and Council Member Jessica Lapin have also proposed a law that would require the NYPD to publish crash info online. Members Melissa Mark-Viverito, Dan Garodnick, and Robert Jackson also back the package of proposals.

Transportation Alternatives, which advocates for pedestrians and cyclists, has long called for this legislation and been especially vocal in its criticism of the NYPD since the Lefevre incident.

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NYPD Begins Crackdown on Delivery Bicyclists in Hell's Kitchen

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The NYPD has just started a new effort to crack down on delivery workers who violate bicycle laws while on duty carting food to starving New Yorkers, and

They're starting in Hell's Kitchen, where a restaurant boom has resulted in an influx of delivery workers on bicycles, in turn incensing the community. The workers, residents complain, ride the wrong way down one-way streets, ride on the sidewalk, endangering pedestrians, and do not obey traffic signals. According to New York law, bicyclists are afforded all the "duties and responsibilities" as motor vehicle operators.

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Department of Transportation Hits Back At John Liu's Bike Share Criticism (UPDATE)

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Yesterday, the Voice brought you news that Comptroller John Liu vehemently slammed Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration and the Department of Transportation, claiming that City Hall had not done enough to promote safety with New York's forthcoming bike share program.

"Recent studies have found that over a third of bicyclists run red lights, bike lines are blocked 60 percent of the time by cars, trucks, and taxis and that New York City is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for bicyclists," his office said yesterday.

Transportation reform advocates shot back at Liu's statements: They said that he put the safety burden on cyclists by calling for mandatory helmets, as well as casting them in a negative light. They also claimed that he need to do more to address dangerous driving, as vehicular accidents are 356 times more likely to cause injury than bicycle-pedestrian crashes.

Now, the Department of Transportation has taken issue with Liu's charges, too.

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John Liu: City Hall Skipped Safety Measures With Bike Safety Program

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Shortly before the City's bike share program hits the streets, Comptroller John Liu has slammed City Hall for "pedaling past safety," saying today that Mayor Mike Bloomberg's administration and the Department of Transportation have not taken proper measures to protect cyclists.

At a press conference today, the mayoral hopeful presented the DOT with a list of safety recommendations -- such as making helmets mandatory -- to implement before the program's official July start.

But some transportation advocates have taken issue with Liu's statements. They claim that the comptroller -- who has supported the program but did not voice these concerns during its development -- is incorrectly shifting the safety burden to riders.

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Dead or Likely To Die: More on The NYPD's Accident Investigation Policy

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Earlier, the Voice reported on a lawsuit filed today against the NYPD claiming that the Department's controversial "Dead or Likely to Die" accident investigation rule violates state law.

The court document sheds a little light on how this controversial policy gets put into practice, and suggests that cops themselves might not understand how it works.

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NYPD Slammed With Lawsuit Over Handling of Pedestrian and Cyclist Deaths

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On July 10, 2011, Clara Heyworth was walking to meet her husband when she was fatally struck by motorist Anthony Webb, who was driving with a learner's permit, not a license. He also might have been drunk and speeding at the time of the incident. Webb was arrested at that time.

The New York Police Department waited four days after Heyworth's death before investigating the accident. Her widower, Jacob Stevens, claims that NYPD investigators dragged their feet because she wasn't killed instantly. By the time they went to gather key evidence, he says, it had already been destroyed, meaning Webb got off the hook for Heyworth's death.
 
Stevens is filing a lawsuit against the NYPD today, alleging the department's policies prevented adequate investigation of this and similar cases.

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