BLOOMBERG, BIKES AND BEDS…
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
As the largest United States bike share program launches in New York City this month, an important health related issue demands your attention. Where will residents and visitors of Manhattan’s West Side (including thousands of additional bike riders) go if they are involved in a major motor vehicle accident, especially one involving head trauma? You have not mandated bike helmets to be worn, putting unprotected bike riders at great risk. Last year 21 cyclists were killed in NYC and many more injured.
Since your administration, in particular, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and the majority of the New York City Council, facilitated the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital, the residents, guests and visitors of downtown Manhattan’s West Side are left without an Emergency Room, Level 1 Full Service Hospital and no hospital beds!
Mr. Mayor, how can this be? No hospital beds for approximately a half a million people! And no care for the thousands of bike riders who will be using your newly created bike pathways.
North Shore–LIJ has promised within a few years to provide a free standing Emergency Room on the site of St.Vincent’s O’Toole Building. However, North Shore has acknowledged that this future facility cannot treat patients with severe trauma including head or spinal cord injuries, acute myocardial infarction, patients requiring immediate surgical or cardiac intervention and many other high risk patients in situations where life and death hang in the balance.
According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website, the East Side of Manhattan (including your neighborhood) has a total of 7,165 hospital beds and Manhattan’s Upper West side above 57th Street has 2,206 hospital beds. Yet currently there are zero hospital beds for the residents, guests and visitors of Manhattan’s West Side from 57th Street down to Battery Park. Is this responsible public healthcare policy?
Back to the 10,000 New York bike riders due to hit New York streets this month. Perhaps you might recommend that bike helmets be required if they plan to ride on Manhattan’s Wild West Side below 57th Street. That is the very least that can be done for their immediate protection.
Diane Nichols, SVP/Associate Broker
Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate