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While the Vision Zero program in New York City has clearly helped to reduce pedestrian deaths, the program does seem to have had much impact on bike accident fatality rates in the city.
In fact, according to recently released data, the Big Apple is now more dangerous for cyclists than it was five years ago.
Vision Zero, a comprehensive traffic safety plan, was pushed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and approved by the city council in 2014. It has succeeded in cutting pedestrian deaths almost in half, from 83 in the first six months of 2013 to 48 in the same period this year. The goal is to ultimately eliminate pedestrian deaths in the city.
The numbers for bicyclists are nowhere near as rosy. In 2013, there were only 12 cycling deaths the entire year. Fatality rates have climbed steadily since—and nine cyclists were killed in the first half of 2017 alone.
Some city officials believe that part of the reason bike accident deaths have increased is that there are simply more people riding in the city compared to several years ago. They hypothesize that the rate of deaths has actually improved when considering the number of cyclists, even if the total figures have risen. However, all officials agree the city can do more to make streets safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.
In general, traffic death totals have fallen, with 93 in the first six months of this year versus 128 during the same period in 2013.
Steps being taken to protect cyclists
Efforts to make New York’s streets and sidewalks safer for pedestrians have been largely successful to date. Numerous activists have pushed the city to create more protected bike lanes, which would make it safer for cyclists to ride on city streets.
One advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, presented a plan to create more than 400 miles of bike lanes. The city’s Department of Transportation data indicates that streets in Manhattan that have bike lanes saw cyclist injuries decrease even when total numbers of cyclists increased. Accidents causing injury decreased by 17 percent, while pedestrian injuries decreased by 22 percent.
There was also no information to indicate the bike lanes caused traffic congestion. In fact, travel times for drivers even improved in some locations where the bike lines were incorporated into the streets.
The hope of safety advocates is that these protected bike lanes can be created in all five city boroughs. As the most recent bicycle fatality statistics show, there are still certain elements of the Vision Zero safety plan that could use some work.
To learn more about your options if you have been injured in a bike accident, work with an experienced New York personal injury attorney at Robinson & Yablon, P.C.