80 people were injured in bicycle accidents in New York City between March 9th and March 15th compared to 56 during the same week last year. This 42.9% increase occurred as more and more New Yorkers make the decision to ride a bike instead of taking the subway during the COVID-19 crisis.
Distracting driving is the number one cause of bicycle accident injuries in New York City
Unfortunately despite significant safety improvements implemented by the Vision Zero program, riding a bike in the city is still dangerous especially for newbies. Among the 80 bicycle accident injuries reported by the NYPD, 38 occurred in Brooklyn, 19 in Manhattan, 11 in the Bronx, 11 in Queens and 1 in Staten Island. Distracted driving and failure to yield were the most common causes of injuries with 33 accidents caused by distracted drivers and 15 caused by failures to yield.
This significant increase in NYC bicycle accident injuries occurred despite a significant decrease of traffic all over the city caused by the coronavirus crisis. During the same week the total number of collisions was down by 33.1%, traffic injuries down by 22%, vehicle occupant injuries down by 27.6% and pedestrian injuries down by 17%.
New Yorkers using a bicycle to commute around the city during the Corona virus crisis deserve to be better protected. On March 9th, Transportation Alternatives asked the Mayor to “make biking to work a possibility for more New Yorkers,” by:
- Creating a zero tolerance policy for any vehicle parked on bike lanes and cease ticket stings targeting cyclists
- Build pop up bike lanes during the crisis
- Reconfigure East River crossings to make them less crowded starting with Queens borough bridge where cyclists and pedestrians share the same path.
- Expand CitiBike in underserved neighborhoods and provide lower fair for low income New Yorkers.
As de Blasio is urging New Yorkers to walk or bike to avoid spreading the deadly virus, his administration should make sure that New Yorkers can safely do so.
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Picture: courtesy of NYPD Traffic Stats