Six years after a plan to call for crosstown bike lanes fell apart, less than two months since 28-year-old Carling Mott was killed by a tractor trailer while riding a Citi Bike and after an hour of testimony from the public which included accusations of having “blood on its hands,” Community Board 8 has finally voted in favor of fully protected bike lanes on the Upper East Side.
“My girlfriend Carling Mott was killed in July due to a lack of protected bike lanes,” began Nick Ross, speaking publicly for the first time about his partner’s death during Community Board 8’s full board meeting Wednesday night.
“The sad thing is the tragedy of her death is not an outlier in our city,” he explained.
“It doesn’t matter how safe of a biker you are or how cautious you are. There is just simply no way to bike safely east to west in our neighborhood.”
On the morning of July 26th, Carling Mott was riding a pedal-assist Citi Bike on East 85th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues, heading to her job at Nickelodeon in Times Square. Investigators say the 28-year-old fell in the roadway, was hit by a tractor trailer and died from her injuries.
Surveillance video captured by a camera on a building across the street show Mott’s final moments, as she rode along side a tractor trailer stopped at a red light.
“I hope every member of this committee has watched the horrible video of this preventable death,” said Andrew Rosenthal, using his two minutes of public comment time to scold board members.
“Imagine how they would feel if it was one of their loved ones,” Rosenthal added.
Back in 2016, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney had raised concerns to Community Board 8 about a proposal for bike lanes on East 84th and 85th Streets— where the 28-year-old was struck— citing security challenges for nearby private schools.
Maloney says she was just relaying concerns from constituents at the time, however, ultimately the result was that no crosstown bike lanes were installed.
“We can fix this. We must fix this soon,” pleaded Thomas Rizzo, a friend and colleague of Mott, “Never let something like this happen again.”
Following a number of understandably emotional speakers during Wednesday night’s full board meeting— including friends, family and co-workers of Mott— Community Board 8 voted 38 to 3 in favor of a sweeping network of fully protected bike lanes, “approximately every 10 blocks between 60th and 110th Streets on both sides of the park,” as well as two-way protected bikes surrounding Central Park.
Mott’s parents as well as City Council Members Keith Powers and Julie Menin, who represent the Upper East Side, have also called on DOT to install crosstown bike lanes.
“I hope that one day I could have a family and raise my kids here,” Nick Ross told the board, “but as I sit here today, I couldn’t imagine a world in which I’d ever let my kids bike on the streets without protected lanes.”