Bay Ridge

Driving lessons would teach bike safety under new bill

Golden says motorists should learn to share road with bicyclists

June 11, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden says his legislation will help make streets safer. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

With more and more people riding bikes these days, it makes sense for everyone – bicyclists and motorists alike – to learn to share the city’s streets, according to state Sen. Marty Golden, who is looking to change the driving lessons that New Yorkers take to include a special section on bike-pedestrian safety.

The State Senate passed a bill introduced by Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) that would add a bicycle and pedestrian safety component to the pre-licensing driver’s education course. The bill also seeks to add bicycle and pedestrian safety to the list of topics that would be included in the written test residents take to obtain learner’s permits.

Golden said his legislation, which was approved by the senate on June 8, would ensure that residents are properly instructed on how handle situations they might face when sharing the road with cyclists, pedestrians and others. 

“There has been a dramatic increase in the number of bicycles on the road, and at the same time, there has been an increase in the number of automobile and pedestrian accidents,” Golden said in a statement. “The statistics clearly highlight the need for motorists to be more attentive to those with whom the road is shared with regularly. This legislation will create drivers that are more aware, by officially factoring in the presence of bicycles and pedestrians on our streets from the beginning of their driving career.”

Assemblymember Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene) is sponsoring similar legislation in the State Assembly.

Another roadway safety bill introduced by Golden and approved by the senate calls for increasing the penalties against drivers who leave the scene of an accident in which there has been a death, an injury or significant property damage.

The bill would deter drivers from leaving injured victims on the road, facilitate police investigations and enable timely chemical testing of a driver, according to Golden.

“All too often, it seems we hear about another reckless driver who injures or claims the life of an innocent victim and compounds the crime by leaving the scene of the accident. Stronger action is clearly required and additional increases are warranted. This legislation sets out to increase the penalties and reflects the seriousness of their actions,” Golden said.

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Under provisions of the bill, drivers who flee from the scene of an accident where someone was killed would now face a Class C Felony, resulting in a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

The bill has been sent to the assembly. Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay) is the bill’s assembly sponsor.

 

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