The City Council unanimously voted 51-0 today to pass a package of bills that will change the way the city handles cyclist and pedestrian traffic information. As you're probably aware, the changes come in the midst of a raging debate about the rules (and safety) of the roads. But although there's a growing perception in some circles that cyclists are nothing but a threat to pedestrians and all that is sacred and holy, there's little hard data to give us a clear picture of accidents between cyclists and pedestrians. And the city's stats on traffic accidents are vague overall. That's about to change.

The first bill, "Saving Lives Through Better Information," will require the NYPD to publish monthly statistics on traffic crashes and summonses in the hope that this information will provide a clearer picture of the most dangerous intersections and biggest culprits. With this data, the city hopes to target the biggest problem areas and then change the way traffic flows so that it's safer. “With better information, communities can collaborate with government agencies to fix problems like rampant speeding, red-light running and other traffic problems,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

The second bill, "TrafficStat," will begin a citywide collection of the amount and type of accidents that happen between cyclists and pedestrians—something that, until now, the city hasn't compiled. Speaker Christine Quinn stated that the bill "will go a long way in helping keeping our pedestrians, cyclists and motorists safe throughout our city."

And a third bill requires the DOT to give a detailed explanation whenever it "rejects a request for a traffic control device such as stop sign or traffic signal submitted by a Council Member or Community Board," so calls to 311 requesting stop signs, bike parking, and traffic lights will no longer fall on deaf ears. Of course, it will take some time before the city will be able to do anything with this data, leaving one question up in the air—will it curb the growing backlash against cyclists? Or will the data give the anti-cyclist crowd that much more to shout about?