A new release by the nonprofit transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives reveals that New York City has experienced “the deadliest year for traffic violence” since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014. According to Transportation Alternatives, at least 200 people have died in traffic incidents in the city this year, with a projected total of 243 deaths by the end of 2020.
The report, released on October 22nd, notes that by that date in 2019, 188 people had been killed in traffic crashes in the city. In 2018, that number was 175; in 2017, 183; in 2016, 185; in 2015, 193; and in 2014, 212. Transportation Alternatives notes that historically, New York City’s traffic fatality rate “tends to spike between Halloween and the end of Daylight Saving Time in early November.”
The report goes on to note that the rise in traffic fatalities coincides with the De Blasio Administration’s funding cuts to its Vision Zero and Green Wave initiatives, which aimed to reduce traffic fatalities and make New York City safer for cyclists. According to Transportation Alternatives, the city has also “ignored” recommendations by the mayor’s Surface Transportation Advisory Council “to help the city use its streets as a pathway to recovery and to avoid growing traffic violence.”
This week the New York Post reported that the spike in traffic fatalities—which coincides with a decline in cars on New York City’s roads—consists largely of motorcycle- and car-related fatalities, which have risen over the last year while cyclist and pedestrian fatalities have fallen.
In a statement to the New York Post, Danny Harris, director of Transportation Alternatives, said: “This is shaping up to be the deadliest year for traffic violence during Mayor de Blasio’s tenure,… If the rate of death on our streets continues unchanged through the remainder of the year, we will see 243 total deaths in 2020.” A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation, however, said the nonprofit’s data was not inaccurate, telling the post that “eight of the fatalities this year were not caused by the crashes during which they occurred.”
In a statement included in Transportation Alternatives’ press release about the data, Amy Cohen, co-founder of advocacy group Families for Safe Streets, said in part: “Every crash is preventable, but only if city leaders take responsibility for safety on their streets—and take it seriously… While we mourn for those who have died, we continue to fight so that not another life is lost. As deaths are increasing, we need Mayor de Blasio to fight even harder with us for Vision Zero. As families who know first hand the impact of traffic violence, we will never rest until we have eliminated this preventable carnage on our streets.”