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Mayor Bans Bikes on Three Midtown Avenues

July 23, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ Mayor Edward Koch has banned bicycles from three midtown Manhattan avenues during peak business hours, and the messengers who make their rounds on two wheels are protesting.

″The bicycle is an indispensible means of getting from one end of the city to the other,″ Isador Immerman, counsel to the Association of Messengr Services, said after Koch announced the plan Wednesday.

The ban, effective Aug. 31, applies to Park, Madison and Fifth avenues between 31st to 59th Streets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. That area accounts for 12 percent of all bicycle accidents in the city.

Koch also said commercial bicyclists and their employers will be licensed to hold them accountable for accidents and traffic violations.

″Regrettably, a significant number of bicyclists who run red lights, ride on the sidewalks, ride the wrong way on one-way streets and fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians imperil the lives of New Yorkers every day,″ Koch said.

In 1985 there were two fatal accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians; in 1986 there were three, said mayoral spokesman Leland Jones. There were 24 fatal accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles in 1985 and nine last year.

Roger J. Herz, executive director of Bicycle Transportation Action, an advisory group of 62 civic, community and business leaders, said the ban violates the state Highway Law, which prohibits localities from banning bicycles from roadways used by other vehicles.

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