15 pedestrians, 8 motorists and 4 passengers died in car accidents in New York City during the month of April reaching a total of 27 traffic fatalities. This is the highest number of motor vehicle accident fatalities in NYC ever recorded during the month of April since Vision Zero started in 2014. The lowest number of traffic fatalities in April was recorded last year with 11 deaths as New York was observing a lockdown because of the Covid19 pandemic. Prior to the lockdown, 16 people died in crashes in New York in April 19 and respectively 12, 20, 14, 19, 21, 15 in April 18, 17, 16, 15, 14 and 13. Globally traffic fatalities in New York City remain on a declining trend. However recent numbers have more often been above the trend rather than below. (click on the graph for full size)
Peak in Pedestrian Deaths
Pedestrians accounted for more than half of the deaths with 15 fatalities while motorist deaths slightly decreased compared to a year ago but remained high with 8 fatalities. No bicycle accident fatalities were reported to the NYPD in April. Such a high number of pedestrian fatalities at a time when tourists have not even come back to the city and a high number of New Yorkers are still working from home is alarming.
4,035 people were injured in car accidents in the city in April 2021 compared to 1,281 a year ago during the Covid19 lockdown and 4,701 in April 2019. While the number of people injured in car accidents was slightly lower this April compared to April 2019, the city is still not as active as it was in April 2019, therefore statistical comparisons are difficult.
Traffic accident injuries were on a rising trend until the beginning of the Covid19 crisis. Now the decline of activity in the city has lead to a decline in injuries that was significant enough to reverse the trend to a slightly declining one.
Among all road users, motorists had the highest number of injuries in April with 1,950 of them being injured in car accidents in New York City , followed by motor vehicle passengers with 1,144 injuries. Pedestrians came third with 529 injuries and cyclists recorded the lowest number of injuries among all road users with 385 bicycle accident injuries.
Reducing pedestrian fatalities has been on the top of the agenda of the Vision Zero program launched by the de Blasio administration at the beginning of 2014 and globally since then, pedestrian fatalities have been on a declining trend with a monthly average of pedestrian deaths now below 10 per month while it used to be between 10 and 15 before Vision Zero. Hopefully the high number of pedestrian fatalities in April was an exception rather than the beginning of a trend reversal.
After recording their lowest during the lockdown in April 2020, injuries sustained by pedestrians in April 2021 remained lower than the years that preceded the pandemic. Before Vision Zero, monthly pedestrian injuries were usually around 1000. This number gradually declined to around 700 before the covid19 crisis. It was back to 529 in April 2021 after a drop to 139 in April 2020.
Only one bicycle accident fatality since the beginning of the year
For the third consecutive month, no bicycle fatalities were recorded in April. This is only the second time since 2013 that there were not fatal bicycle accidents over a three-month period. The first time was in October, November and December of 2018. Since the beginning of the year, only one cyclist died in January compared to respectively 2, 7, 4, 4, 7, 3, 3 and 1 during the first four months of 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. The trend of fatal bicycle accidents in New York City is however still on the rise, mostly because of the high number of fatalities recorded in 2020. Last year saw a surge in newbies riding bicycles around the city because they were scared to catch the virus in public transportations. 2020 was the only year during which the monthly number of bicycle accident fatalities reached a record number of 6 fatalities twice: once in September and once in November.
412 people were injured in bicycle accidents last April in the city. This is the highest number of bicycle accident injuries ever recorded during the month of April. Cyclists injuries have been on the rise over the last few years as more and more New Yorkers are using bicycles to commute around the city while at the same time safe infrastructures for biking are still lagging in many area of the city. Last year, the summer months saw a boom in bicycle accident injuries. The high number of injuries recorded last April might be an indicator that the same will happen this summer again.
8 motorists were killed in car accidents in April 2021, compared to respectively 9, 6, 2, 8, 4, 10, 6 and 3 in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Despite a decline in activity in the city, more motorists deaths were reported during the pandemic due to recklessness and speeding. On the long term motorist deaths remain high despite being on a slightly decreasing trend.
After dropping last year, motorists injuries were back above 1800 in April and continue to be on a rising trend. Distracted driving is the main cause of this rise in motorist injuries.
Last April was a bad month for passengers. 4 passengers died in motor vehicle accidents in New York. This is the highest monthly number of passenger deaths since the beginning of the year. April passenger deaths had not been that high since April 2017 when 4 passengers died as well and were only once higher in April 2014 when 6 passengers died.
Passengers injuries were much lower than usual last April with 1,144 passengers injured in motor vehicle accidents in NYC. Usually the monthly number of passengers injuries oscillate a little below or above 1500. This number indicate that the activity in the city is not fully back to normal. Additionally, because of the Covid19, people might be more reluctant to travel with others in small confined spaces such as cars, vans or buses.
Motorcycle accidents were back above 217 last April. Since Vision Zero started, the number of motorcycle accidents in April had remained under 200 except for April 2016 when 231 motorcycle accidents were reported by the NYPD. This increase also occurred under the NYPD policy of not responding to minor accidents. Because motorcycle accidents most of the time result in bad injuries, the new NYPD policy doesn’t affect too much the statistics related to these accidents.
Other categories like bus and truck accidents statistics might be more affected, however it is difficult to know if the decline in accidents is related to the decline of activity because of the Covid19 pandemic or to the new NYPD policy that was enacted at the beginning of the lockdown. Last April 269 bus accidents were reported by the NYPD compared to 47 last April at the peak of the pandemic.
642 truck accidents were recorded in New York City last April compared to 246 one year before. As mentioned above, the decline in activity related to the pandemic and the new NYPD policy make these numbers difficult to compare.