2021 Named the “Deadliest Summer” for NYC Streets


New data shows that summer 2021 was one of the deadliest seasons for New York City traffic related incidents, with over 20 pedestrian deaths and 77 deaths resulting from car accidents.

An analysis by transit safety group Transportation Alternatives found that the summer of 2021 was the “deadliest summer” of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, which launched its “Vision Zero” program to eliminate traffic violence deaths in the city seven years ago. According to Transportation Alternatives, 77 people died in car crashes over between June and August, with 23 dying in Brooklyn alone.

Breaking down the data by year, Transportation Alternatives found that 70 people died of traffic violence in the summer of 2014; 61 died in the summer of 2015; 73 died in 2016; 72 died in 2017; 51 died in 2018; 62 died in 2019; and 66 died in 2020. Breaking down the data by victim, Transportation Alternatives found that 42 motorists and vehicle passengers were killed by car crashes in the summer of 2021; 24 pedestrians were killed; and seven cyclists were killed. Ten of the people killed in traffic violence so far in 2021 were delivery workers.

A press release published by Transportation Alternative notes that Brooklyn has seen a disproportionate spike in traffic violence in 2021, with 63 deaths as of September 30th. The group attributes this trend “to the skyrocketing number of SUVs in the borough,” citing National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data suggesting that “pedestrians struck by SUVs are 2.5 to 3 times more likely to be killed (and child pedestrians are as much as four times as likely).”

Drawing on its findings, Transportation Alternatives suggested that the next NYC mayor “must recommit to Vision Zero” by prioritizing safer street designs and implementing programs to “convert 25 percent of space for cars into space for people by 2025.” As Executive Director Danny Harris said in a statement, “New Yorkers need a mayor who can prevent cars from killing babies in strollers and essential workers on bikes. With fatal crashes reaching record levels under his term, Mayor de Blasio has squandered the success he achieved on street safety. Our next mayor must prioritize and fast track our path to Vision Zero. The next mayor must immediately take steps to reduce driving, including redesigning dangerous corridors and building streets that prevent speeding and take the most reckless drivers off the road.”

More information on 2021’s summer of deadly traffic violence in New York City is available via Transportation Alternatives.

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