Death of Bronx Cyclist Reactions

Submitted by ub on Fri, 04/13/2012 - 11:34

NYC Councilman Vacca, Transportation Alternatives issue statements on death of Bronx cyclist calling for NYPD to step up traffic enforcement, thoroughly investigate crashes.

“I want to express my sincerest condolences to the family of David Oliveras,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “Accidents like this should never happen on our streets. I would ask that the NYPD conduct a thorough investigation into the causes of the crash. This accident, like all fatal accidents between motorists and cyclists or pedestrians, deserves a thorough inquiry. The family deserves to know why this young man tragically lost his life, and if the driver killed someone while he was violating a traffic law, he should be given more than a traffic ticket.”

“We're saddened by the death of young David Oliveras and hope the crash that ended his life will receive a proper and thorough investigation,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “By comprehensively examining crashes such as this, the NYPD can educate the public about the rules of the road and prevent future crashes by signaling to dangerous drivers that they will be held accountable for their lawless and lethal behavior.”

“I also ask that the NYPD prioritize the enforcement of traffic laws designed to protect our citizens,” said Vacca. “Cars should never be driving fast enough on local streets to kill a cyclist or pedestrian. That is why our speed limit on all city streets is 30 miles an hour, and this is exactly why we need stronger traffic enforcement on city streets. The unit of the NYPD tasked with enforcing traffic regulations across our city has been gutted over the past decade, leaving overburdened precinct officers to handle enforcement. This is unacceptable. More New Yorkers lose their lives in traffic crashes than to gun violence in this city, and that is tragic and unconscionable. Something must change.”

Oliveras was killed in Vacca’s district, in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx. Vacca has requested numerous traffic calming measures along Mace Avenue in the past year. Last fall, Vacca was successful at getting a traffic light installed at the intersection of Mace and Colden, just a few blocks west of the scene of the accident. He also requested a light at the intersection of Pearsall, Mace and Esplanade, just east of the accident. That light was denied in January. Vacca is currently awaiting DOT’s decision on a request for a light at the intersection of Waring and Matthews Avenues.

“This speedway has clearly been a priority for me,” said Vacca. “I will continue to seek traffic calming on this street and any other speedway in my district where drivers openly flout our city’s speeding rules and endanger the lives of their fellow citizens in the process.”

Vacca and Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. held a joint Council hearing on street safety in February, where it was revealed that the highway division of the NYPD has seen its budget cut by 40 percent in the past decade. The highway unit is responsible for traffic enforcement around the city. In addition, the NYPD testified that the Accident Investigation Squad only includes a citywide contingent of 15 members, who are deployed to accident scenes only when the victim is deemed “dead or likely to die,” according to the Patrolman’s Handbook.