WGRZ: Bicycle Safety Legislation Passes New York Legislature

Andrea Stewart-Cousins

July 07, 2010

Following the death of a 66-year-old bicyclist in Westchester County last November, the New York Senate and Assembly have passed legislation that would require vehicles to pass cyclists at a safe distance to prevent accidents.

Westchester Putnam Bike Walk Alliance member Merrill Cassell was biking on Route 119 at the Greenburgh/White Plains border Nov. 6 when he was sideswiped by a Bee-Line public bus and killed. The bus driver didn't receive a ticket.

The legislation, which passed the Senate 57-3 last Friday and Assembly 102-0 Monday evening, now goes to Gov. David Paterson for his consideration. If signed, it would take effect Nov. 1, and violators could receive a traffic infraction.

Senate sponsor Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, said Cassell, a Hartsdale resident, was a constituent who fought hard to get people out of their cars, educate the public about bike safety and make roads safer for cyclists. The legislation has become known as "Merrill's Law."

"And his death was certainly tragic, but we all felt that because he had given so much of his life to ensuring the enjoyment as well as the safety of bicycling that we should not let his memory be lost and certainly his death would not be in vain," she said.

The bill would improve safety for people who cycle on right side of the road by requiring passing vehicles to keep a safe distance from the left side of the bicycle…

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Gannett Albany Bureau - (June 29, 2010‎)