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New York Likely Adding Bicycle Awareness to Driver’s Ed Curriculum

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The State of New York is considering a bill that would place bicycle awareness education on their state’s driver’s education programs, both for pre-licensing and in the crappy sessions you have to sit through after receiving a violation. It would also carry over to training for any city or state agency that are funded by tax dollars.

Bill 8487 was introduced by Senator Eric Adams in response to the death of 23-year-old cyclist Jasmine Herron who was knocked off her bike by an open parked car door and then hit by a bus on Atlantic Avenue in Clinton Hill New York last September. The state senate is expected to vote in favor of the bill during its next legislative session in January, 2011.

We’ve long argued that simply making drivers aware of the law and of cyclists would improve relations and safety, and now it seems at least one big, influential state agrees:

“Awareness is key for safety in the streets,” said Joe Sharkey, Brooklyn Cyclists and Time’s Up! Volunteer who worked with Senator Adams and his office to promote the bill. “Pointing things out to people in an educational setting goes a long way to making people aware. And it is all as simple as looking for a split second before you open a door. The unit proposed would be to raise awareness of all vulnerable road users, not just cyclists.”

“The course should also be a part of traffic school for reckless drivers who endanger pedestrians and cyclists,” Sharkey said. “It should be mandatory for all city and state agencies which operate motor vehicles in New York that use tax dollars such as the police, responsible for traffic law enforcement, who often look the other way when vulnerable street users are carelessly put at risk, could do a better job with this training.”

More info here and here. Here’s hoping California follows, because then a lot of other states probably will, too.

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