Join Bicycle Roots in holding the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad (AIS) accountable for properly investigating incidents between drivers and users of alternative transportation. All too often, the AIS declines to investigate collisions, designating these incidents as “no criminality suspected” even when someone dies or is severely disabled by their injuries. And although even judges within the justice system have lambasted the AIS for their inaction,  Mayor Micheal Bloomberg and NYPD head Ray Kelly have defended the AIS and staunchly refused to revise the standards of investigation.

Yet, while those who determine policy in New York City have been dragging their feet, people are being hurt and even killed. Those who are injured may be saddled with medical bills, and without an accurate report and investigation of the incident, they are unable to sue drivers for damages and medical expenses. When a victim dies, their family is denied the closure that a trial and due punishment for the perpetrators would bring. In addition, drivers are not dissuaded from operating their vehicles recklessly–they know they will not be punished for their actions, thus making our streets dangerous for all users.

At Bicycle Roots, we believe that cycling and other forms of alternative transit should be accessible to everyone. Fear should not be an obstacle to riding. We recognize that New York City has made great strides in implementing cycling infrastructure; however, legally speaking, bicycle riders and users of alternative transit are at a disadvantage.

That’s why we’ve thought long and hard about what we can do to help cyclists and users of alternative transit citywide. Using the combined powers of critical mass and social media, we’re going to let key individuals and organizations know that we demand the right to safely share the road—and that means changes in policy as well as how the AIS handles investigations.

Nechama, owner of Bicycle Roots, had her feet run over by a Royal Waste garbage truck in 2007, leaving her wheelchair bound for several weeks.

We ask you to join us in our Twitter blast campaign. We’ve taken the time to research individuals and organizations, narrowing down our focus to the individuals, organizations, and media outlets that are able to change public policy and help us get the word out about our cause. We’ll be tweeting the hashtag #holdAISaccountable and a link to this page to these individuals and organizations at noon on Monday, September 17th. We invite you to join us as we push for more accountability in how the AIS and NYPD investigate incidents, as well as changes in policy that will protect users of alternative transit in incidents with motorists.

Why Twitter? With Twitter and other social media, our elected officials and policy-makers are within closer reach than ever before. Twitter trends allow them to identify what’s on their constituents’ minds, and respond appropriately. Twitter also allows us immediate feedback, and people can join in on the action wherever they are—whether you’re in school, at work, or on the go, computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices make it easy to join the campaign without interrupting your busy schedule.

But we’ll need your help. Nobody notices two tweets, or even twenty for that matter. At two hundred, they might notice the hashtag starting to trend. But if two thousand individuals and organizations demand higher standards of accountability for the AIS and NYPD, we cannot be ignored.

Share this page with all your friends, family, and coworkers. Set yourself a reminder on your phone. Need help finding the Twitter account of your local city council member or other representative? Email our editor, cassandrabicycleroots@gmail.com for more details on how you can get involved with the cause—and of course, don’t forget to take part in the action.
At noon on Monday, September 17th, we are going to tweet the hashtag #holdAISaccountable plus a link to this page (bitly link:  http://bit.ly/P4KWIU) to the following individuals and organizations:

We also encourage you to look up your city councilmember and other representatives of your neighborhood and target them during the campaign as well.

In almost every incident he’s been involved in, mechanic Joe has been encouraged by police not to file a report. He has chronic back pain he attributes to one of these incidents, but has been unable to do anything about it due to lack of proper reports.

Do you agree with the following statements?

  1. The AIS should investigate ALL incidents between motorists and users of alternative transit, not just cases where the victim is deemed “likely to die”. Changes in status can occur rapidly and some injuries may not make themselves known at the scene of the incident; ALL those involved in the incident are entitled to an accurate report and a thorough investigation at the scene of the incident.
  2. We believe ALL victims of incidents between motor vehicle operators and users of alternative transportation have the right to sue said operators for all damages, whether they are physical (to one’s property or body) or psychological. In order for such a case to proceed, the NYPD and AIS must promptly and thoroughly investigate the scene of the incident and write up an accurate report, regardless of the assessment of physical and psychological damages at the time of the incident.
  3.  We demand that the NYPD and AIS cease to put operators of motor vehicles and operators/users of alternative forms of transit on equal terms in incidents. Cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles are many times more massive and capable of much faster speeds than alternative forms of transit, including bicycles, push scooters, skateboards, roller skates/blades, and walking. ALL operators of motor vehicles must use due diligence when operating said vehicles; ALL incidents shall be considered the fault of the motor vehicle operator unless subsequent investigation suggests otherwise.
  4.  We demand that the NYPD and AIS no longer accept “I did not see him/her” to designate an incident as “no criminality suspected”. “Not seeing” a user of alternative transit shall be considered negligence on the part of the operator.
  5.  We demand more stringent use of the term “no criminality suspected”. The NYPD and AIS must redefine this term with explicit conditions that would allow them to designate an incident as such, so as to avoid this designation in incidents of gross negligence and recklessness such as the recent incident during which a driver hit and injured a cyclist when driving on the Queensboro Bridge bike path.

While working as a bicycle messenger, Cassandra was rear-ended. The driver hit-and-ran; a police officer refused to file a report in the aftermath due to lack of witnesses. The incident trauamatized her, leaving her unable to work and with deep psychological scars that took months to heal.

If you agree, don’t let this opportunity to affect change in our city pass you by! New York has the potential to be one of the first truly bike-friendly cities in the United States, thus setting a precedent for other municipalities across the country. With the NYC Citi Bike Share set to go live next year, thus putting hundreds of thousands more cyclists (many of them inexperienced) on the streets, we cannot afford to allow the AIS and the NYPD to continue to give operators of motor vehicles a free pass in incidents involving users of alternative transit.

We’re Bicycle Roots, and we believe that ALL road users should be treated with dignity and respect. We believe in building up our community of riders and walkers by standing up for what is right, and letting our elected officials know that we will no longer tolerate negligence from the NYPD and AIS.

Help Bicycle Roots make our streets safe for everyone, and join us in our campaign to #holdAISaccountable!

Updated 8/29 to fix a broken link.