The New York State Senate will vote Tuesday, June 3rd, on legislation that would, if enacted, require the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to incorporate a "bicycle and pedestrian safety" component into the pre-licensing curriculum and driver's license exam that new drivers must complete.
Specific provisions of the new driver awareness and education component would include instruction on:
-- safely passing a cyclist on the road;
-- special considerations while driving in urban areas;
-- the definition and designation of bicycle lanes;
-- how to navigate an intersection with pedestrians and cyclists;
-- exiting a vehicle without endangering cyclists.
The legislation (S6143 / A4194) has been referred to the transportation committees in both the Senate and Assembly. It must be approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by the governor before becoming law.
Why does this matter?
In 2012 there were 6,137 motor vehicle vs. bicycle crashes in New York State, and 45 bicyclist fatalities. Over 60 percent of those crashes were attributed to unsafe motorist behavior, including failure to yield the right of way, distracted driving, ignoring traffic control devices, unsafe passing, and improper turning (NYS Bicycle Crash Data 2012).
This is a straightforward, common sense piece of legislation that can help reduce preventable bicycle crashes, injuries and fatalities by improving the quality of bicycle safety information provided to new drivers.
What can you do?
1. Contact (by email or phone only) members of the Senate Transportation Committee and Assembly Transportation Committee to express your opinion about the legislation (click on links to find contact information for lawmakers.)
Share bicycle crash statistics from your county and/or municipality
Share a personal story about a bicyclist who has been injured or killed in a crash with a motorist in your region
Ask them to co-sponsor this bill
2. Contact (by email or phone) Assemblyman David Gantt, Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, and urge him to schedule a committee meeting on this legislation.
Thank you for standing up biking and walking. Your voice matters!
If you have questions about this campaign, please contact NYBC by phone at 518-436-0889 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.