Traffic fatalities in New York City were up again last year after five years of decline (see previous blog). A recent article in the New York Times takes an in-depth look at the NYC motor vehicle accident crashes to find out if it was possible to identify specific patterns in the accidents that lead to injuries and deaths. The findings show that despite the common perception that pedestrians are not careful enough while crossing the street and that cyclists ride like dare-devils, most pedestrian and bicyclist deaths were caused by distracted driving or failure to yield. Pedestrian and cyclist errors were only cited in 5% of the fatalities.
When a driver fatally hits a pedestrian or a cyclist in New York, there is a good chance that he or she will not face serious consequences as long as the driver is not drunk and stays at the scene of the accident. Last year 28 cyclists died after being struck by vehicles but only 4 drivers were arrested . 8 others received a summons. The police often blame the victim. Last year, Susan Moses, a 63 year old woman was killed by a Lyft driver on a busy street with no bike lane. In their report, the police blame Ms Moses for moving across the road to turn left and not wearing a helmet. They did not charge the driver despite camera footage showing the Lyft driver recklessly crossing the double line in the middle of Kings Highway to try to pass the cyclist as she was trying to turn. Later on in a very rare move, a judge from the Department of Motor Vehicle reviewed the footage and revoked the driver’s license. The judge said that she didn’t agree with the police statement and that the driver was responsible for the accident. Previous to working for Lyft, The driver who killed Ms Mos used to work for Uber but he accumulated so many complaints from passengers that Uber removed him from the App in 2018.
Some locations such as Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Third Avenue and Southern Brooklyn are among the most dangerous areas for cyclists to ride. Brooklyn has the most cyclist deaths among all New York City boroughs. Other locations such as 125th Street and Chelsea in Manhattan as well as the South area of Prospect Park have a high rate of pedestrian accidents. A significant part of the accidents are caused by trucks and large vehicles such as SUVs.
A pedestrian was killed by a car and a cyclist was seriously injured after being struck by a van in New York City last week. Both accidents were caused by reckless drivers.
A man walking his dog in Bay Ridge died after he was struck by a speeding 19 year old driver. 66 year old Frank Decolvenaere was crossing in the crosswalk at the intersection of Fourth Ave and 101 Street around 7:00 pm on Thursday when he was struck by a speeding Mercedez Benz 350. Since 2019, the car had 4 school speeding violations, 4 parking tickets and an expired inspection sticker. Frank was found lying in the crosswalk covered in blood. His dog ran 10 blocks home to alert his wife. (Read more in Street Blog)
Earlier during the week, on Tuesday, a 25 year old driver backing her car out of a driveway hit a 57 year old pedestrian. The accident occurred at a private driveway locate at 30-23 69th Street in Elmhurst, Queens. The man was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The woman stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged (Read more in QNS)
24 cyclists, 116 pedestrians, 17 motor vehicle passengers and 57 drivers were killed in 209,291 auto accidents in New York City in 2019. The total number of accidents recorded last year was significantly lower than the 3 previous years during which it was above 227,000 however traffic fatalities were higher last year than the two previous years.
After reaching a record low at 199 in 2018, crash fatalities in New York increased to 214 last year. Since 2013 traffic fatalities gradually went down every year. This is the first year since Vision Zero was implemented in 2014 that fatalities went back up from one year to the other. While fatalities are globally on a declining trend despite the recent increase last year, the number of people injured in car accidents in New York is on a rising trend. NYC Auto accident injuries reached a record high last year and were above 6,000 for the first time. They slightly decreased in 2019 but kept around the 6,000 level. The increase in injuries sustained in car crashes is mostly due to a rising number of drivers being injured. One reason might be that because the speed limit was lower in the city, less people are dying in car accidents but more are injured. Distracted driving might be another reason why more drivers are getting injured in auto accidents in New York.
Bicyclists are the only category of New York road users who continue to experience a rising trend of accidents, injuries and deaths. After cyclists fatalities reached a record low at 9 in 2018, they reached a record high at 24 in 2019. Last year as bicycle fatalities were surging quickly, Mayor de Blasio announced a new bike safety plan entitled the Green Wave. The plan is:
A 7 year old male pedestrian was fatally struck by a car in New York City on Thursday.
Payson Lott was walking to school with his mom. They were in the crosswalk with the light in their favor at the intersection of Blake Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue when a Jeep recklessly struck them. Payson died in the accident. Her mother Shadeen Lott suffered personal injury.
On Monday we wrote about the death of 3 pedestrians over the weekend and now we learned that two additional female pedestrians died after being struck by cars in New York City on Sunday and Monday. Since last Thursday, NYC recorded one pedestrian death everyday and two on Sunday. This is intolerable.
No charge in the Bronx fatality
On Monday night a 59 year old female pedestrian was struck by a car while she was crossing at the intersection of Sampson Ave and Tremont Ave in the Bronx, around 7 pm. The woman whose identity has not been released so far, was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged. The police are still investigating the cause of the accident. Read more in PIX11
3 pedestrians died and two other were injured after being hit by motor vehicles in New York City over the weekend. Another pedestrian also died from injuries he sustained earlier in the month last Thursday.
The police are still looking for the reckless speeding hit and run driver who killed a pedestrian in Bensonhurst on Sunday morning around 7:25 am
26 year old Jose Contla was standing next to his vehicle parked on 19th Avenue near 86th Street when a driver hit him and took off. He was on his way to open the family bakery where he was working part time to pay for his degree in criminal justice at John Jay College. Contla fell on the ground and was found unconscious on the road by the EMTs. He was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved. The police are still looking for the driver of a black sedan (see picture).
A pedestrian died after being rolled over by a car backing out of a driveway in NYC. The accident occurred at 30-23 69th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens around 6:15 pm on February 2nd. The driver of a Honda backed out of his driveway, struck a 57 year old man who was standing on the sidewalk and rolled over him. The man was rushed to the hospital but he could not be saved. His identity was not released by the police. The victim is the first pedestrian to die in a car accident in February 2020. Last month 14 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in New York City: 5 in Brooklyn, 5 in Queens, 2 in the Bronx and 2 in Manhattan.
The driver whose identity wasn’t released either, stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged.
Drivers must exercise due care while backing out of a driveway especially when it is dark outside
Last year 28 cyclists died in traffic accidents in New York City and more than half of them were killed by trucks and SUVs. Most of the time the driver was a man.
Last Friday, the DOT announced that it invested 4 million in a new campaign targeting men driving trucks and SUVs. The “Was it Worth it?” campaign depicts images of pedestrian and bicycle accidents with a male driver in shock and the message “Was it worth it?” in various languages. Additional audio campaigns will also be run in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole on several local radio stations during commuting time.
Since Mayor de Blasio launched Vision Zero in 2014, traffic fatalities decreased over the years except for last year. 203 people died in car accidents in 2019. More than half of them were pedestrians. On average over the last few years, men were found to be responsible for 75% of the fatalities with 41% of them driving a truck or a SUV.
29 cyclists and 122 pedestrians were among the 219 victims who died in traffic accidents in New York City last year. The yearly number of traffic fatalities in the city increased last year for the first time since Vision Zero was launched in 2014. The year earlier, in 2018, 203 people died in NYC motor vehicle accidents.
Brooklyn had the highest number of fatalities with 74 victims including 18 cyclists and 34 pedestrians. 64 people died in vehicle crashes occurring in Queens. 41 auto accident deaths were recorded in Manhattan, 27 in the Bronx and 6 in Staten Island. According to Streetblog, reckless driving remains the main cause of fatal crashes but drivers are rarely charged. It is often difficult to understand why some drivers are charged when others are let off the hook. Among the 148 drivers who killed a pedestrian or a cyclist 76 were not charged. In a tribute to those who have passed in NYC auto accidents, Street Blog listed all the accidents by months with the name of the victims if released, a description of the accident and if the driver was charged or not.