Bicycle safety plan announced for Upper East Side

After a bicycle hit-and-run on the Upper East Side last Tuesday left a 67-year-old woman severely injured after she was struck in a bike lane, City Councilman Ben Kallos announced a plan last night to help protect pedestrians in the neighborhood.

“We’re trying to make sure that anyone using our sidewalk, the pedestrians, stay safe whether it be from cars or cyclists, Kallos said at a news conference with NYPD auxiliary officers on the corner of 86th and First Avenue, the location of the accident. “And that’s vice-versa for safety for bikes from cars and pedestrians. We can all share the streets together.”

The program — following the path of Vision Zero, which looks to reduce transportation accidents — will educate bicyclists on proper road etiquette as well strictly enforce reckless-cycling laws.

The program’s reach includes First, Second and Third Avenues from 53rd to 86th streets. Along with increased Auxiliary presence and five new patrol bikes to enforce the 25 mph speed limit and traffic laws, the program’s sponsors — the city’s transportation department, Bike New York and Citi Bike — will offer incentives for bicyclists to tread safely.

Free classes on bicycle skills and laws will be offered by nonprofit Bike New York, along with youth cyclist education classes with free helmets for participants. Citi Bike will offer free-day memberships for those who participate in bike share safety classes.

For commercial cyclists, the DOT will offer free vests, lights and bells for business owners and their bicyclists who participate in training, and the NYPD pledged to increase enforcement for those who chose to ignore the mandatory gear.

“Especially when it’s raining, Upper East Siders like to order in,” Kallos said. “Each of those [bikers] should be wearing a vest.”