29 people including 4 cyclists and 9 pedestrians died in crashes in New York City last June. While truck and bus accidents remain lower than usual, reckless car driving and speeding continue to be a cause of many injuries and deaths.
After dipping to a record low of 5 deaths during the Covid-19 lock-down, traffic fatalities peaked to 29 in June. Since Vision Zero started in 2014, this is a record high number of fatalities that was only reached once previously in June 2016. Injuries were on the rise too in June compared to the previous months of May and April but not as dramatically as the fatalities. The total number of accidents increased as well. One of the main reasons why the total number of accidents dipped so dramatically is because since last March the NYPD doesn’t dispatch officers anymore at the scene of minor accidents. As a result the big drop observed since March is not only related to the Covid-19 crisis but also to the the fact there are no more NYPD reports for minor accidents.
New York traffic accident fatalities were on the rise for all categories of road users. 11 motorists, 5 passengers, 4 cyclists and 9 pedestrians died last June compared to respectively 7, 0, 2 and 2 during the previous month and 6, 3, 3, 8 in June 2019. Many of these fatalities are related to speed and reckless driving. While the city has slowly started to get back to normal, the traffic is not as heavy as it used to be before the coronavirus crisis and many motorists are driving over the speed limit.
The number of NYC car accident injuries increased in June compared to April and May however it was much lower than in June last year when the city activity was “normal”. Another factor which might also lead to a decrease in the number of injuries is that the police didn’t make reports anymore for accidents considered minor. When the police used to make reports for every car accident it might be possible that minor injuries that did not require hospitalization were also reported. For June 2020 a total of 3,511 injuries were reported by the police, among them, 1,581 motorists, 951 passengers, 580 cyclists and 399 pedestrians. In the same month last year 5,829 injuries were reported including 2,779 pedestrians, 1,844 passengers, 494 cyclists and 712 pedestrians. The only categories of road users recording an increase in injuries were the cyclists as more people than ever are using a bike to commute around the city.
Bicycle accident injuries indeed increased to a record high in June and so did bicycle accident fatalities. The total number of bicycle accidents reported to the police was high but didn’t reach a new record and this again might be related to the new NYPD “No Report” crash policy. 610 bicycle accidents were reported by the NYPD last June. 580 cyclists were injured in crashes last June compared to respectively 494, 468, 522, 490, 459, 470 and 498 in June 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. The number of bicycle accident fatalities was also at a record high with 4 cyclists killed in New York City traffic accidents in June. Only during 3 other months since Vision Zero started in 2014 were such a high number of bicyclists killed in New York City: in July 2019, in June 2017 and in August 2014. On the long term, the number of bicycle accidents in New York City as well as the resulting injuries and deaths are all on a rising trend. Street safety advocates have been calling on the mayor to do more to protect cyclists especially during the Covid-19 crisis. Temporary bike lanes were erected around the city but most of the big orange cones that were protecting them have just been moved away by motorists.
9 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in New York City in June compared to respectively 8, 9, 5, 14, 9, 7 and 14 during the months of June 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. While the number of pedestrian deaths significantly dropped during the months of March April and May because of the stay at home order, New Yorkers were back in the streets during the month of June as the city was slowly reopening. Considering that the city was still pretty empty in June and that no foreigners were visiting, 9 pedestrian deaths is a very high number of fatalities.
Pedestrian injuries were still lower than usual but again with the new NYPD no report policy it is difficult to figure out if the low number of injuries is related to the police not reporting minor injuries or to the lower number of pedestrians in the street because of the coronavirus crisis. 399 pedestrians were injured in crashes in New York City in June compared to 267 in May and 139 in April. In the past the number of pedestrian injuries during the month of June would be between 700 and 800 injuries on average.
Globally thanks to the major effort deployed to protect pedestrians through the Vision Zero campaign, both pedestrian injuries and fatalities remain on a deceasing trend on a long term basis.
One category of road users that has been particularly frowned upon during the coronavirus crisis were drivers. Empty streets and light traffic have lead to all kind of reckless behaviors such as speeding, drag racing and other careless acts. 11 motorists died in crashes last June. This is the highest number of motorists deaths recorded in June over the last 8 years. Even before Vision Zero was launched the number of motorist deaths in June 2013 was less than half the number of deaths recorded this June. Reckless driving not only can be deadly for the motorist but put passengers and other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians at risk of injury or death.
Most probably as a result of motorists recklessness, the number of motor vehicle passenger fatalities also peaked last June. 5 passengers died in car accidents in June 2020 compared to respectively 3, 0, 2, 3, 6,0 and 3 in June 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.
272 motorcycle accidents were reported by the NYPD in June. This number is lower than usual and somewhat surprising as motorcycles are a safe mode of transportation in regards to coronavirus spread. However, again, the number of motorcycle accidents reported might be lower because of the new “no report” policy by the NYPD.
With no tourists around and the schools closed, the number of bus accidents stayed at a very low level. 114 bus accidents were reported last June compared to 109 in May and 47 in April.
Truck accidents were also much lower than usual, The decline in activities related to the coronavirus crisis mixed with the NYPD no report policy are probably the main factors contributing to this decline. 574 accidents were reported last June compared to 436 in May and 246 in April.