Villager: Should Hit-run cyclists should be treated like drivers?

The Villager

Steve Vaccaro was interviewed by the Villager about a proposal to increase existing criminal penalties for cyclists who hit and run.

After a state Senate staffer was nearly killed last month by an unidentified bicyclist who hit him and fled the scene, state Senator Brad Hoylman is calling for much stiffer criminal penalties for hit-and-run cyclists.

“I would want to see some empirical evidence regarding [the reasoning for the legislation] before leapfrogging over education and other measures and going straight to strengthening criminal penalties,” said Vaccaro. He added that he would still need to be convinced about why the existing penalties are perceived as inadequate.

Although there appears to be very little concrete data at this point regarding hit-and-run cycling incidents, when it comes to statistics on the number of pedestrian fatalities caused by bikes versus cars, the picture is lopsided.

Between 2000 and 2013 in New York City, 2,291 pedestrians were killed from being struck by motor vehicles, according to city Department of Transportation statistics. During that same period, only eight pedestrians were killed after being struck by a cyclist, according to the same data.

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