More New Yorkers have died in bicycle crashes in 2023 so far than by this point in any other year since Vision Zero began. In total, 10 people have been killed in cycling accidents this year in the city although only one of the traffic fatalities was in Manhattan.
In addition, vehicular crashes in general have killed 32 percent more New Yorkers in 2023 than in 2018, which was the safest year under Vision Zero.
Three died in three separate traffic incidents across just four hours on April 6th–a 23-year-old pedestrian in Borough Park, a 62-year-old man in East Harlem who was walking when he was hit by an SUV, and a 64-year-old cyclist in Morris Park.
“Today, families, loved ones, and entire communities are mourning three preventable deaths on our streets. We send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the three people killed in traffic violence,” said Danny Harris, Executive Director at Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates for changes in public policy and street design to make neighborhoods and streets in NYC safer.
“New York City needs all the tools available to fight the epidemic of traffic violence,” said Amy Cohen, Co-Founder of Families for Safe Streets and mother of 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein, who was killed when he ran into the street to catch a ball he was playing with and was hit by a car.
“We know driving at high speeds is a major factor in four out of every five crashes that kill people in cars, and it’s unacceptable that New York City has to defer to Albany on what speeds are appropriate for our streets. This dysfunctional relationship is preventing us from saving lives.”
The New York Times reported in 2020 that deaths of cyclists in NYC were on the rise. They also wrote that in most of these deaths a driver—not a cyclist—was responsible.
Changes have been made to improve cyclist safety, though much more remains to be done. One recent improvement to pedestrian safety–the so-called ‘supersidewalk’ on the Upper West Side created by expanding pedestrian lanes along 9th Avenue from West 59th St. to West 50th St–also makes the street safer for cyclists by including a protected bike lane. Drivers did not like the move saying taking a lane of traffic away added to congestion, but DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said he is considering rolling out the so-called supersidewalks in other neighborhoods around Manhattan.