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BP Adams led memorial bike ride to honor cyclists recently killed in crashes

Adams Demands Safer Streets for All Brooklynites

April 25, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams laid flowers down at the ghost bike memorial, set up by the nonprofit advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives, for 34-year-old Lauren Davis, who was killed in a bike crash at the intersection of Classon and Lexington avenues in Clinton Hill. Photo: Patrick Rheaume/Brooklyn BP’s Office

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams led about 50 community residents and cycling advocates on a bike ride on Sunday to honor two cyclists recently killed in crashes and to demand enforcement of the traffic laws that could have saved their lives.

The route started at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Sterling Place in Park Slope, where 33-year-old James Gregg was killed in a collision with an 18-wheel tractor trailer on Wednesday, April 20, and continued to the intersection of Classon and Lexington avenues in Clinton Hill, where 34-year-old Lauren Davis was killed on Friday, April 15, by a turning car. The driver who collided with Gregg was issued five summonses that included driving a truck on a street that was not a designated truck route; neither he nor the driver who crashed into Davis have been charged with a crime.

Before the ride, Adams called on the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the NYPD to expand enforcement of the citywide 25 miles per hour speed limit and other traffic laws that prevent trucks from driving on most residential streets. He added that the NYPD should avoid speculation about the cause of a crash until a full investigation has been completed to prevent the assumption that the cyclist was necessarily at fault.

“We cannot continue to accept that these deaths or the deaths of other cyclists were the inevitable result of allowing cars and trucks on the streets of Brooklyn,” said Adams. “Our streets must become a safe environment for all types of traffic, whether a person driving a car or riding a bicycle or an older person walking to the store. There are designated routes for trucks, which should not be driving on residential streets where children are playing and people are walking and riding bikes.”

Adams has been an outspoken supporter of Vision Zero, a commitment by the city to entirely eliminate traffic fatalities that was developed in collaboration with Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit advocacy organization that supports bicyclists and pedestrians. In addition, he has used his capital budget to establish CROSS (Connecting Residents on Safer Streets) Brooklyn, his initiative to invest in sidewalk extensions at dangerous intersections across Brooklyn near significant concentrations of senior citizens. Adams noted that he will also work with the City Council and the state Legislature going forward to expand the installation of side and rear guards on trucks, which have been demonstrated to dramatically reduce fatalities for both bicyclists and pedestrians.

“We should not assume that the cyclist was always the person responsible for a crash or had accepted the risk simply by climbing on a bicycle,” Adams said. “There must be a blue wall of silence until the investigation has been completed and we know the facts. James and Lauren were lost to us much too early. We now have to honor their memory by working to prevent the next tragedy from occurring on our streets.”

Caroline Samponaro, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, also commented on the recent deaths.

“Both James Gregg and Lauren Davis were killed on streets that lack bike lanes, in a city where enforcement of the traffic violations that killed them is lackluster at best,” Samponaro said. “Today, Transportation Alternatives stood with their families to say that, as a city, we demand better than needless carnage and no action.

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“This is the moment for Vision Zero in full effect, with a budget that increases funding to rebuild dangerous streets, and a mandate for the NYPD to target reckless driving with verve and aggression,” she continued.

Co-founder of Park Slope Neighborhoods and Chair of Park Slope Street Safety Partnership Eric McClure said the deaths could have easily been prevented.

“The simple fact is that James Gregg would be alive today if the driver of an oversized truck had stuck to legally designated truck routes,” said McClure. “We must design our streets to protect the most vulnerable users, and we need to give the NYPD the tools to properly enforce truck regulations, whether it be through cameras or other automated means or additional dedicated manpower. We can’t accept a future that includes more memorial rides.”

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