State regulations currently prevent officials in New York City from lowering speed limits below 25 mph on most roads and below 15 mph in school zones, but that may change in the near future. That is because Gov. Kathleen Hochul announced in her Jan. 10 State of the State address that she supports legislation that would change the rule. The governor was referring to a bill known as Sammy’s Law, which has been bogged down in the state legislature for more than two years.
Sammy’s Law was drafted in December 2020 to arrest a worrying rise in auto-pedestrian accidents. The bill is named after a 12-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a motor vehicle while walking in Brooklyn in October 2013. The bill was introduced on the day the boy would have celebrated his 20th birthday.
Home rule memo
The bill was passed by the Senate in 2021, but the Assembly declined to hold a vote. A second attempt to pass the bill was made in 2022, but the process stalled because New York City officials did not submit a memo endorsing it. What is known as a home rule memo is needed for all city-specific legislation. The state senator who introduced the bill believes the governor’s endorsement will finally lead to a successful vote in both chambers. The legislation is also supported by New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the New York City Department of Transportation.
Speeding in urban environments is reckless and dangerous, and the road users who pay the price are often cyclists or pedestrians. The support of Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams should be enough to get Sammy’s Law onto the books, which could save countless lives in New York City in the years ahead.