Blurred Vision: Carriage Horse Drivers Are Running Afoul of Vision Zero and the Law
Yet again, NYCLASS has documentation of how carriage horse drivers are creating unsafe conditions and openly flaunting Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero policy objectives. Vision Zero’s noble goal is to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero by creating safe, shared public spaces where all individuals can comfortably walk, bike, and move throughout the City. Unfortunately, carriage drivers are only adding to the congestion and chaos of the Columbus Circle area--endangering horses, pedestrians and motorists.
Indeed, in one of the most trafficked areas of New York City, carriage horse drivers are dangerously running red lights, using their cell phones will driving, and exposing horses to extreme weather, including heavy snow and rain – right when our City’s streets are at their most dangerous. Perhaps most worrisome, some carriage drivers are taking the horses out of their stables and onto the streets before 8am, even though carriage rides cannot legally start before 10am. That means horses are exacerbating rush hour mayhem and on the streets hours longer than their nine--hour maximum working day. No one in the City, but the carriage driver himself, benefits from such egregious behavior.
These offenses have been chronicled by Columbus Circle resident Eileen McAfee. From her apartment, she and her husband have witnessed this misconduct. A video Eileen captured of a carriage horse running a red light can be seen here:
As Eileen has observed, "I honestly don’t know how these poor horses go through any of the abuse my husband and I see every day – let alone all the other abuse - breathing toxic fumes in chaotic traffic year after year, living in small, dirty stables with no areas to graze or move freely. I guess it’s because they simply have no choice - and no voice. They are totally dependent on how their owners choose to treat them."
We call on the City to enforce the Vision Zero mandate and to crack down on unlawful carriage horse driving. Our City deserves safe streets and our horses deserve the legal protections to which they are entitled.