A total of 118 people including 39 motorists, 16 motor vehicle passengers, 5 cyclists and 58 pedestrians lost their life in crashes in New York City during the first six months of 2021. This is the highest number of traffic accident fatalities during the first semester since 2013 when 121 people died in crashes. During the 7 following years, after Vision Zero was launched in 2014, auto fatalities declined and oscillated around 100 during the first six months of the year with their lowest at 84 deaths during the first semester of 2018.
New York City auto accident injuries were lower than usual during the first semester of 2021. Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, less people have been on the road in the city which might explain the decline in injuries. A total of 22,898 people were injured. Among them were 10,975 motorists, 6,492 passengers, 2,303 cyclists and 3,128 pedestrians.
Pedestrian fatalities were at their highest since 2014 last semester with 58 deaths compared to respectively, 37, 51, 49, 49, 56, 34, 60 and 72 during the first six months of 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.It is very disappointing that after 7 years of multiple Vision Zero initiatives, the number of pedestrian fatalities is back at its 2014 level. Are more pedestrians dying because the streets are still less busy than usual and more people are speeding or driving in a reckless manner?
The much lower number of pedestrian injuries might support the idea that the roads are more deadly because they are less busy. Many New Yorkers have moved out of the city and visitors have not made a full come back. 3,128 people were injured in car accidents in New York City during the first six months of 2021 compared to 3,011 during the Covid19 lockdown period of 2020 and 4,939 during 2019 which was before the pandemic.
Bicycle accident fatalities were at their lowest since 2015 during this last first semester. This is positive news considering that the number of New Yorkers using a bicycle to commute in the city has been surging since the beginning of the pandemic. 5 people died in bicycle accidents during the first 6 months of 2021 compared to respectively, 8, 13, 6 9 11, 5, 7 and 6 in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.
The surge in people using a bike to commute in the city is reflected in the number of people injured in bike accidents during the first semester. A total of 2,303 people were injured in bicycle accidents in New York City during the first semester compared to respectively 1,749 and 1,907 during the same period of 2020 and 2019. This is a record number of cyclist injuries and also the first time that this number is above 2000 for the first six months of the year.
Motorist fatalities also reached a record high during the first semester with 39 deaths compared to respectively 37, 26, 26, 25, 31, 30, 23 and 29 during the first six months of 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. As mentioned above, speeding and recklessness have been a problem in the city since the pandemic started and it it reflected in the high number of motorists who died on the road in 2020 and 2021.
10,975 motorists sustained injuries in accidents in New York City compared to 8,450 for the same period a year earlier. These numbers might reflect the decline in activity in the city. Before the pandemic, since 2016, the motorist injuries for the first semester were usually above 12,000.
Passenger deaths were at their second highest level since 2015 with 16 motor vehicle passengers dying in crashes during the first six months of the year compared to respectively 10, 11, 3, 13, 9, 18, 7 and 14 in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014 and 2013.
Fewer passengers than usual, except for last year, were injured in New York car accidents. A total of 6,492 passengers were injured in crashes during the first six months of 2021 compared to 5,278 during the same period of 202. Usually this number would oscillate around 9,000.