Everyone Wants Safer Streets, Right?

Nancy Gruskin (left) at Landmarc

In 2009, Stuart C. Gruskin was fatally injured after a bicyclist—riding against the traffic—collided with him. His widow, Nancy Gruskin, founded the Stuart C. Gruskin Family Foundation. It’s dedicated to pedestrian safety, and its first big initiative debuted this week: The 5 to Ride campaign teaches cyclists to ride more safely. Naturally, its main target is businesses that use cyclists for deliveries.

The 5 to Ride campaign has started right here in Tribeca. “We chose Tribeca because of my colleague, George Matthews, who lives here,” explained Nancy yesterday. We met at Landmarc—a supporter of the initiative—where she was taping a segment with NY1. “He said, ‘We’ve got to start in Tribeca—it’s family-oriented and community-spirited. I know restaurants will support 5 to Ride. It’s what we do here.'” As a resident, he knew the restaurants. “Before work, after work, whenever, he’d go into places, make contact, deliver a presentation. And then I’d come speak to them.”

Anyone can see that cyclists tend to ignore the rules; deliverypeople, of course, have an incentive to do so—the more they deliver, the more money they earn. Getting restaurants onboard with a safety program, then, is crucial to improving the situation. 5 to Ride asks businesses (and individuals) to take what it calls the Pedal Pledge:

1. Put Pedestrians first
2. Stop at Every red light
3.Ride in the right Direction—with traffic
4. Stay on the Asphalt, off the sidewalk
5. Pick one Lane, and stick with it

Local restaurants taking the pledge include Wichcraft, Kitchenette, Landmarc, Il Mattone, The Odeon, Zucker’s, Edward’s, and Dean’s. 5 to Ride has also partnered with the Bike New York organization, which will offer free training sessions with employees.

I asked what Tribecans could do to help, and Nancy said that we can take the pledge and/or purchase a tote bag or T-shirt. Which is great, of course, but I wondered if there wasn’t a way to make it easier for us to let restaurants know that the issue is important to us. We got to talking about the idea, and then another idea hit me: 5 to Ride should be partnering with SeamlessWeb. I could see all sorts of synergies, including adding the 5 to Ride icon on participating restaurants’ SeamlessWeb pages. I like to think of it as my good deed for the day month.

7 Comments

  1. What a great foundation. I see bikes zooming by pedestrians on sidewalks, going thru red lights, riding up one way streets. Most of the delivery bikes do not carry bags with the restaurants logos but if I see a bike messenger doing something wrong with a logo on the uniform or bag, I will call up the restaurant to let them know.

  2. Great idea and initiative.

    I was nearly run over by bike delivery person and he did not even acknowledge it, despite me and people around me shouting at him.

    As for riding on the sidewalk, it is my personal pet peeve and I berate cyclists (mostly delivery) every time I confront one.

  3. Kudos Nancy!! Keep up the great work!!
    I am so proud of you.

  4. I am a bike rider and have ridden in and around TriBeCa since moving here in 1977. I ride everywhere on all the days bad and good. The delivery people are dangerous to all of us. Anytime someone is barreling along darting the wrong way and not listening to anything, it is dangerous.
    I don’t want to see the bike riders demonized, I want folks to ride safely and well.
    I applaud the work being done by the foundation.

  5. Everyone in NY has almost (if not) been hit by a biker more than once… the citizens in Tribeca should personally take material to delivery restaurants in their 2 block area maybe this could help. Because of the over-turn of new delivery people this has to be an on-going commitment from the owners.Yea to the restaurants who signed the pledge but it barely scratches the surface in our neighborhood!.

  6. What a great initiative!!! This has to start with restaurant management, and trickle down to the delivery staff. Erik, kudos for the Seamless Web/5 to Ride partnership idea- brilliant. I hope Seamless gets in the saddle with this one!!!

  7. What’s astounding to me is how many riders I see wearing earphones. I assume that’s illegal, and it should absolutely be ticketable.