Zhen Kirkland and her son Jacob live in the Bronx — and on a nice day like today, they like biking around the city.

“During the pandemic we do bike a lot," said Kirkland.

But Kirkland makes sure to teach her son about safety on the road.

What You Need To Know

  • Some city vehicles will be equipped with 360-degree view cameras

  • It's part of a pilot program to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe

  • The first phase of the project, which includes adding the cameras in 1,500 vehicles, will be completed by the end of the year

Alarming data from Transportation Alternatives, an organization that advocates for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, says that 2021 is on its way to becoming the second deadliest year in the de Blasio administration for pedestrians and cyclists. Seventy New Yorkers have died in traffic accidents through April 30.

“When it comes to NYC, we have really aggressive drivers. And we really have to be careful with everything, especially with our children," Kirkland said.

None of the deaths recorded so far in 2021 were the result of a non-emergency city vehicle.

To keep it that way, the city is rolling out a pilot program as part of its Vision Zero Initiative: 360-degree view cameras installed on city government vehicles. 

The cameras give a complete view of all sides of the vehicle. They also have a sensor, warning drivers how many feet away they are from potentially hitting something.

“I think our city fleet has led in many ways; our truck side guard, detected vehicle technology, automatic breaking, our safe fleet transition plan, be it the training that we give to our drivers - we've led by trying to make our city streets safer, and trying to set a model not only for public fleets across the nation but for private fleets as well,” said Eric Richardson, the city's deputy chief fleet management officer. “Any death is too many, we all know that, and we all continue to work towards that goal.”

The city has begun installing the cameras on 1,500 vehicles as part of the first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.