For years, Amy Cohen has tried to make streets in New York safer following the death of her son, Sammy.
“These are simple solutions that cost no money,” she said during a trip to Albany this week. “Everyone can be slightly inconvenienced to save a life.”
Advocates for a range of traffic safety measures are making a final push this month to address deaths on New York’s roadways as the state legislative session winds down.
Cohen was among the advocates who are calling for measures meant to prevent more traffic deaths in New York statewide.
They want a crash victims bill of rights, a required 3-foot passing buffer for bicycles, have New York City set its own speed limits as well as encourage the building of safer street designs using federal and state dollars.
Anne Savage of the New York Bicycle Coalition says traffic safety affects all areas of New York state.
“We all know that we have a statewide problem here that needs statewide solutions,” Savage said.
Calls for safer streets and reduced crashes comes amid a rise in deaths on roads across the state. Federal safety statistics show New York has had a 12% rise in traffic fatalities between 2019 and 2020.
“New York is suffering from a preventable crisis of traffic violence,” Savage said. “New Yorkers are losing their lives for no reason.”
Lawmakers like Buffalo Democratic state Sen. Tim Kennedy hope New York’s traffic laws would be a model for the rest of the country.
“It is so important that we make our streets safer here in the great state of New York – every city, every suburb, every rural community,” Kennedy said. “We want to make sure lives are not taken from us.”
Brooklyn Sen. Andrew Gounardes says traffic crashes and fatalities disproportionantly affect people of color.
“We have to turn that anger and channel it as ferociously as possible to try to change policy, try to change the laws, try to change the minds of people who don’t understand this is a life or death matter,” he said.