The number of traffic accidents in NYC recorded by the NYPD in August was the lowest recorded during the month of August since 2013. It is a “good surprise” since NYC traffic accidents have been on a steady rise over the last years. However while the number of accidents significantly declined from 19,272 in August 2018 to 16,954, in August 2019 the number of people injured in these accidents barely declined from 5,373 to 5,366 and the number of fatalities increased from 16 to 21. The ratio of injuries compared to the number of accidents reached a record high of 32% compared to 28% the same month a year earlier. The ratio of deaths compared to the number of accidents was also at a record high indicating that the streets of New York City are getting more dangerous.
Record number of bicycle accident fatalities since the beginning of the year
632 bicycle accidents were reported in New York City last August compared to respectively 669, 606, 694, 707, 646 and 655 in August 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. While the number of bicycle accidents in August slightly declined from 2018 to 2019, the number of injuries slightly increased. 468 people were injured while bicycling in the city in August compared to respectively 430, 477, 567, 565, 491 and 523 in August 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. 1 cyclist died in August bringing the total number of bicycle accident fatalities recorded by the NYPD since the beginning of the year to 18 compared to respectively 8, 12, 16, 11, 15 and 7 for the same period of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. While last year the number of bicycle accident fatalities reached its lowest since Vision Zero started, the opposite occurred this year with a record number of bicycle accident fatalities. While the de Blasio administration has been encouraging New Yorkers to commute by bike, these recent fatalities are a reminder that NYC streets remain dangerous for bicyclists. The August victim was 52 year old Jose Alzorritz. Alzorritz was waiting at the red light when a driver ran the red light, collided with another vehicle that slid through the road and killed the cyclist. Another e-biker was killed in August but the NYPD categorize e-bike accidents as motorcycle accidents.
High number of pedestrian fatalities
A similar pattern can be observed for pedestrian fatalities. 11 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in August compared to 3 the same month a year before. While in 2018 the number of pedestrian fatalities reached a record low for the month of August, the number of fatalities for August 2019 is the second highest recorded since Vision Zero started. Pedestrian injuries were also on the rise with 711 injuries last August compared to 696 in August 2018. However on a positive note the 3 months moving average was below 700 for the first time for pedestrian injuries and both trend lines for pedestrian injuries and fatalities are still declining.
Motorcycle accidents are seasonal
August is also motorcycle season and more motorcyclists on the road also means more accidents. 343 motorcycle accidents were reported in New York City in August compared to 351 in July and 368 in August 2018. After 3 years during which motorcycle accidents were above 350 in August, this summer, the number of accidents in August slightly declined and was back to the level of 2015.
Bus accidents always are their lowest in August
While Motorcycle accidents are usually at their highest in July and August, bus accidents are usually at their lowest during these two summer months. One of the reasons might be that school buses are not operating during these months but also the traffic is usually lighter in the city during the summer months, especially August, making it easier for buses to navigate in traffic. This August there were 403 bus accidents, a record low.
Truck accidents finally showing signs of slowing down
There were 1,390 truck accidents in New York City in August 2019 compared to respectively 1,632, 1,444, 1,483, 736, 643, and 634 in August 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. It is the first time since August 2015 that the number of truck accidents is below the trend line. The number of truck accidents exploded in 2016 however the monthly number of truck accidents in 2019 was always below the trend line indicating a welcome decline.