NYer Of The Week: Widow Of Man Killed By Cyclist Now Pushes For Road Safety Education
The latest New Yorker of the Week turned her husband's death at the hands of a cyclist into a crusade for better pedestrian safety. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
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On April 28, 2009, Nancy Gruskin's husband Stuart was out on his lunch break when he was hit by a delivery bike going the wrong way on a one-way street.
"I knew that that man that day did not set out to kill my husband, and I knew that he was just trying to get his food where it needed to go," says Gruskin.
The accident turned fatal.
"Both men fell and he suffered massive brain injury as a result of the collision. I just vowed then that I was going to do something about it," says Gruskin.
The widow started the Stuart C. Gruskin foundation to raise awareness about bike safety rules. Her latest campaign has enlisted 40 local restaurants to make the streets and sidewalks safer.
"A 'PEDAL' pledge that the businesses are taking -- the first rule is 'Pedestrians First' for the 'P.' 'Every Red' -- stop at every red. Number three, 'Direction,' go in the right direction. 'A,' stay on the 'Asphalt,' not on the sidewalk, and 'L,' pick your 'Lane,' stay in your lane," says Gruskin.
Each restaurant that signs the pledge receives a "PEDAL" decal to put in its window and a pledge button for its deliverymen.
"They can educate in a staff meeting, they can do it once a week, however they see fit," says Gruskin.
Landmarc signed up all four of its restaurants, which have up to 20 delivery men in the field at a time.
"With the help of this pledge, they will all be a little bit safer in the community and hopefully this really takes a hold in the city and beyond," says Jules Bianciardi, a manager at Landmarc TriBeCa.
Gruskin's foundation is also partnering with Bike New York, a group that will offer free safety classes to deliverymen.
"She is trying to find a way to create a better situation out of what is for her and her two kids a tragedy," says Bike New York Director of Education Richard Conroy. "And so I admire that, and we want to work with somebody who can be that constructive."
Last month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation that Gruskin pushed for, and now the city for the first time will keep track of and study cyclist accidents with pedestrians.
So, for pushing herself to make a difference in the city, Nancy Gruskin is the latest New Yorker of the Week.
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