Car accident fatalities in New York City exploded during the first quarter of 2022 while crash injuries remain below 12,000
29 pedestrians, 17 passengers and 12 motor vehicle operators died in crashes in New York City during the first 3 months of the year for a total of 58 fatalities. There were no cyclist fatalities. Since Vision Zero started in 2014, the highest number of auto accident deaths reached 51 in 2014. The only positive news during the first quarter was that no cyclist deaths were reported during this period which never occurred before.
NYC Car accident injuries were higher during Q1 22 than during the same period of 2010 and almost reached the same level than in 2020. Among the injured were 4,632 drivers, 3,120 passengers, 649 bicyclists and 2,100 pedestrians. Compared to the same period a year before, all categories of road users sustained a higher number of injuries with the exceptions of the cyclists which might indicate that all the new measures to make cycling safer in the city have a positive impact.
12 motor vehicle operators died in crashes during Q1 compared to respectively, 10, 10, 9, 13, 8, 13, 8, 15 and 15 during the same period 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. While the trend line of motorist deaths is still declining, the numbers of this last quarter are significantly above this trend line.
On the opposite, motorist injuries in the city are on a rising trend, however, the number of injuries recorded this last quarter are significantly below this trend line with a total of 4,632 of them injured in crashes compared to respectively 4,332 during Q1 2020 and 5,032 during Q1 2019. The number of motorist injuries had been rising since 2016 mostly because of distracted driving. It reached its highest during Q1 2019 with 5,731 motor vehicle operators injured. The lowest numbers recorded during the first trimester of 2020, 2021 and 2022 are mostly related to a decrease in activity in the city because of the pandemic.
NYC Passenger deaths exploded during the last quarter with 17 fatalities compared to respectively, 5, 4, 5, 2, 6, 2, 8, 3, 9 during Q1 of 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. it is difficult to find an explanation as why passenger deaths were so high last quarter in New York City and one can hope it was just an exception. The month of February was particularly bad with 8 passengers fatalities.
Just like driver injuries passenger injuries are on a declining trend mostly because of the lowest number of injuries recorded over the first quarters of the last 3 years. Again these low number can be explained by a global decrease of activity related to the covid19 crisis. During the first quarter of 2019 when the activity was not affected by the pandemic, 3,957 passengers sustained injuries in a crash. During the same period of 2020 when the crisis started in New York City, 3,306 passengers injuries were recorded, a year later during the same period, when the city was empty, the number of passengers injured dropped below 3,000 at 2,564. This year as activities are picking back up passengers injuries went back up to 3,120.
Pedestrian deaths in New York during the first quarter were also very high with 29 fatalities reported to the NYPD. This is the third highest number of pedestrian fatalities recorded during the first quarter after Vision Zero started. 31 pedestrians fatalities were reported during Q1 2014 and Q1 2018. Before Vision Zero, 44 pedestrians were killed during the first quarter of 2013. While the trend of pedestrian fatalities remain on the decline, the recent numbers are preoccupying.
After dropping to 1,393 in Q1 2021, pedestrian injuries were back above 2,000 during the first quarter of 2022 with 2,100 pedestrian injured in NYC crashes. Pedestrian injuries follow a pattern similar to motorist and passenger injuries, they first went down immediately after the beginning of Vision Zero and gradually rose again before dropping during the pandemic.
In the good news, no bicycle accident fatalities were reported during the first quarter of 2021. Considering the increase in people using their bicycle to commute in the city, this can be considered a Vision Zero victory. Making bicycling safer around the city has been one of the main objectives of Vision Zero. While Q1 is often cold and not really the time when many people use their bike, not having any fatalities over 3 months is a record. We hope it continues like that.
Bicycle accident injuries are on a rising trend however the number of people injured in a bicycle accident during the first quarter of this year was lower than the same period last year and the year before. 649 cyclists were injured last quarter compared to 695 during the same period of 2021 and 715 during Q1 2020. A high number of newbies cyclists that switch their MetroCard for a bike at the beginning of the pandemic is probably a factor behind the high number of injuries recorded during Q1 2020.