37 motorists died in car accidents in New York City during the first semester of 2020 compared to respectively 26, 26, 25, 31, 30, 23 and 29 during the first semester of 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. This record number of motorist fatalities occurred over a period of 6 months during which most New Yorkers stayed at home between the end of March and the end of June to comply with the Covid-19 lock-down order. Most of these fatalities indeed occurred during the lock-down. Among the 37 motorists who died in crashes, 10 died between January and March and 27 died between April and June. Empty streets and roadways lead to all kinds of reckless driving behavior and many of the deaths recorded during the lock-down were related to speed and drag racing.
While motorist fatalities were at a record high, pedestrian fatalities reached a record low. Bicycle accident fatalities were lower and passenger deaths stayed almost the same during the first semester of 2020 than during the first semester of 2019. Globally a total of 92 people died in traffic accidents during the first semester of 2019 compared to respectively 101, 84, 96, 107, 107, 97 and 121 during the first six months of 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.
Motor vehicle accident injuries reached a record low during the first six months of the year. Motorists and passengers accounted for more than two thirds of them.
1,997 bicycle accidents were reported to the police during the first six months of 2020, compared to 2,458 during the same period of the previous year. The decrease of activity during the lock-down and the new NYPD policy that “vehicle collisions resulting only in property damage are not required to be reported to the police” are most probably the two main factors leading to this significant decline of bicycle accidents.
8 people were killed in bicycle accidents during the first semester of 2020, compared to respectively 13, 6, 9, 11, 5, 7 and 6 during the first semester of 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 2014 and 2013. Last year was the worst year for cyclists. Because of the decrease of activity during the coronavirus crisis it is difficult to compare numbers from one year to the other.
Bicycle accident injuries also decreased during the first semester of 2020 compared to the first semester of 2019 but stayed above 1,700 keeping the trend of bicycle accident injuries rising over the last 8 years.
Both pedestrian deaths and injuries were significantly lower during the first six months of 2020. The main factor in this decrease was the Covid-19 lock-down that kept New York City streets almost empty during almost 3 months. 37 pedestrians died and 3,011 were injured in traffic accidents between January 1st and June 30 2020 compared to respectively 51 deaths and 4,939 injuries for the same period a year earlier. Since Vision Zero started in 2014 both pedestrian fatalities and pedestrian injuries have been on a declining trend.
With no tourists visiting the city, all schools closed and MTA buses running on a lighter schedule during the covid-19 lock-down in addition to the new NYPD no report when no injury policy, the number of bus accidents reported by the NYPD during the first semester of 2020 was significantly lower than usual. 1,590 bus accidents were reported during this period of time compared to 3,475 during the same period of time a year earlier.
A similar decline was observed in the number of truck accidents reported by the NYPD during the first semester of 2020 with a total of 4,264 truck accidents compared to 8,340 during the first semester of 2019.