Despite an increase in bicycle accident fatalities and in motorist injuries the total number of NYC motor vehicle accidents and the total number of resulting injuries and deaths decreased during the third trimester of 2019 compared to the third trimester of 2018. The total number of accidents declined from 57,642 during the third trimester of 2018 to 52,567 during the third trimester of 2019. This is the lowest number of crashes since the same period of 2014.
While a high number of fatal bicycle accidents painted a very negative picture of New York street safety, not all numbers are bad. For example pedestrians fatalities were at their lowest during the period of July, August and September 2019. Motorists fatalities were lower than the two previous years during this same period and passengers fatalities were stable.
The total number of auto accident related injuries were slightly lower than the previous year. A total of 167,083 people were injured in traffic accidents during over the summer 2019 compared to respectively 16,300, 15,860, 16,048, 13,998, 13,472, and 14,900 during the same 3 months of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Motorists injuries account for almost half of the injuries and continue to increase. While efforts to protect pedestrians has led to a substantial decrease in pedestrian injuries and deaths, distracted driving remains the number one cause of motor vehicle accidents in New York City and needs to be addressed.
After reaching their lowest since Vision Zero started last year, Bicycle accident fatalities increased again this year. 6 people were killed in NYC bicycle accidents over the months of July, August and September 2019 compared to respectively 3, 6, 6, 8, 8 and 1 for the same period of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. The increase in bicycle accident fatalities has created the outrage of street safety advocates who are asking the city to provide better safety for the increased amount of people using a bike to commute in New York. While the de Blasio administration has been promoting cycling in the city by adding hundreds of city bike stations around the five boroughs, infrastructure to protect cyclists remain precarious.
Bicycle accident injuries were at their lowest during the third trimester of 2019. 1,444 people were injured in bicycle accidents during the summer months of 2019 compared to 1533 the same period of the previous year. Bicycle accident injuries reached their highest during the third trimester of 2015 at 1,648. Since then they have been on a declining trend.
Pedestrians fatalities and injuries were both at a record low during the period covering the months of July, August and September. 2,146 pedestrians were injured and 25 died during this period compared to respectively 2,356 and 26 during the same period a year earlier. Pedestrian safety is one of the most important goals of the Vision Zero initiative launched by de Blasio in 2014. As a result both trends of pedestrian injuries and pedestrian fatalities are declining.
While a lot is being done to protect pedestrians, very little is done to prevent drivers from dying or hurting themselves. Distracted driving remains the number one cause of accidents in New York City. The trend in motorist injuries continue to grow in the city. They were at a record high this summer with 7,437 motorists injured in traffic accidents compared to respectively, 7,183, 7,004, 7,006, 6,043, 4,502 and 4,968 during the summers of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.
Despite being on a declining trend, motorist deaths during the third trimester remained above 20 for the third consecutive year with 21 of them dying during this period this year. New regulations lowering the speed limit might somewhat explain why less motorists die but more are injured.