Articles Posted in Traffic Accidents

New York City Council candidate John Sanchez recently laid out his plan for making the streets of The Bronx safer for cyclists and pedestrians. In an essay on StreetsBlog NYC, Sanchez described the key elements of his plan, which include protected bike lanes, curtailing parking, and better street design. “As a lifelong resident of The Bronx, I want my neighborhood to be one in which a family can ride bikes safely,” he wrote, “in which no one dies or become seriously injured simply for walking in the neighborhood or for performing the job of delivering food — left and discarded on the road by a hit-and-run driver.” Continue reading

A new study by the transportation safety nonprofit organization Transportation Alternatives found that traffic violence is “a near-universal experience” for people living in New York City. According to the group’s research, 30% of New Yorkers have been injured in a traffic collision, while 70% of New Yorkers know someone who has either been injured or killed in a traffic collision.

Transportation Alternatives’ data shows that someone dies of traffic violence every 36 hours in New York City. The victims of traffic violence include pedestrians, drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists. Transportation Alternatives attributes much of the risk of traffic-related fatalities to “unsafe streets,” “urban avenues built to encourage speeding,” and “lanes that are unprotected, disconnected, or entirely missing.” Continue reading

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10 of 26 NYC cyclist deaths in 2020 took place on streets with a median income less than $45,000.

Many of the cyclists killed by motor vehicles in 2020 were low-income essential workers, according to a recent analysis by StreetsBlog. There were 243 victims of vehicle-related deaths last year, 26 of whom were cyclists. As StreetsBlog notes, 2020 was “the second deadliest [year] for traffic violence during Mayor de Blasio’s seven years in office.” The analysis argues that the mayor’s administration did not do enough to protect cyclists, many of whom died in “neighborhoods that have historically been neglected and underinvested in for street-safety improvements.” Continue reading

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Reckless driving and speeding increased during the coronavirus pandemic, including in New York City.

2020 was the deadliest year for traffic crashes in New York City since Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced his Vision Zero plan in 2014, according to a recent report by the New York Times. There were at least 243 deaths in traffic crashes in the city last year, despite a downturn in actual traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic. As the Times report observes, this spike was at odds with historical trends, in which “Economic downturns and reduced congestion typically lead to fewer fatal crashes.”

During the pandemic, however, there was an increase in reckless driving, as motorists went over the speed limit on sparse turnpikes, drag-raced, and rode motorcycles. As such, there was a stark increase in driver, passenger, and motorcyclist deaths over the last year, from 68 in 2019 to 120 in 2020. Pedestrian fatalities fell, according to the Times, while bicyclist fatalities remained steady. Continue reading

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Federal data shows increasing car crashes and crash-related injuries.

Newly released federal data indicates that in 2019, vehicular crashes and injuries rose while pedestrian and cyclist fatalities fell. StreetsBlog, a website covering transportation issues and pedestrian safety, suggests that this data reflects “that doctors are getting better at saving lives after collisions while our streets remain as dangerous as ever.”

According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019 there was a total of 36,096 deaths resulting from vehicle crashes, down from 36,835 in 2018. There were 630 fewer passenger vehicle occupant fatalities; 169 fewer pedestrian fatalities; 25 fewer pedalcyclist fatalities; 568 fewer alcohol-impaired driving fatalities; and 813 fewer urban fatalities. Continue reading

On average, there are about 200 bridge strikes—incidents in which a truck collides with a bridge—every year in New York. Bridge strikes put drivers and other motorists at risk of injury, cause traffic disruptions, and can require expensive repairs to the bridge that gets struck. Since 2015, according to officials, there have been over 1,100 bridge strikes in the state. That’s why Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced an “enforcement and education campaign” to combat bridge strikes.

The campaign, a joint effort between the state Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, and the State Police, took place between November 9th and November 15th. It involved state troopers monitoring areas “where there have been documented bridge strikes by large commercial vehicles.” Continue reading

A study of American travel habits by Longwood International found that “half of American travelers are currently planning to stay home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year’s Eve,” and that about the same number feel that the Covid-19 pandemic “will greatly impact their travel decisions in the next six months.”

The study also found that 40% of Americans are planning to travel by car during the holidays, and less than 25% are planning to travel by plane. The research indicates that Americans’ holiday travel plans are divided evenly between the four major winter holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa. In a statement about the study, the company’s President and CEO, Amir Eylon, said: “With the number of new COVID cases rising in more than half the states, we can expect further disruption in family holiday travel plans… The number of actual holiday travelers in 2020 will likely be driven by the perceived safety and/or risk of taking such trips during the holiday period.” Continue reading

A deadly crash in Queens has sparked heated discussions about bicycle safety in New York City. As Gothamist reports, a 35-year-old delivery worker driving a motorized scooter, Alfredo Cabrera Liconia, “was killed by the driver of a Bud Light truck” last Thursday. Video of the incident shows Liconia’s Scooter “trapped under the wheels of the semi-truck, which appears to be making a right turn onto Crescent Street.” The collision occurred while the driver “appeared” to be turning right from Astoria Boulevard to Crescent Street, where trucks are not permitted unless they’re making deliveries. Gothamist reports that it was not clear whether Liconia was using the bike lane when struck.

One image of the truck reportedly captured it “crushing the flexible posts” separating the lane from vehicle lanes. These “flexi-posts” have been criticized by cycling accidents as too insubstantial to prevent vehicles from passing into protected bicycle lanes. A group of local lawmakers reportedly asked the city’s department of Transportation to replace the flexi-posts with “concrete jersey barriers” as a way of protecting cyclists from cars. Continue reading

One curious feature of the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects on American roadways is that while there were fewer vehicles on the roads, there was also an increase in reckless driving, accidents, and deaths.

As Axios reported in October, data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found “traffic fatality rates increased 30%” in the second quarter of 2020. Officials attributed this spike to an increase in “risky behavior.” When researchers looked at patient data in trauma centers, they found that many “seriously injured or fatal crash victims” had been speeding, driving under the influence, and/or not wearing seatbelts. Researchers found specifically a higher presence of “alcohol, cannabinoids, and opioids” than in the same time period in previous years.

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Research conducted by State Farm Insurance indicates that the autumn months are when motorists are most at risk of crashes involving deer. Deer-vehicle accidents reach their peak in October, per a recent article by New York Upstate, though the risk persists until the end of January. As the article notes, the risk is so high in those months because they constitute both the mating season for deer, as well as a period of heightened activity as deer forage in advance of the winter months.

A 2018 analysis by State Farm estimates that the risk of hitting deer or other large mammals “doubles in the fall.” The risk of hitting deer is highest at the dawn and dusk hours, raising the need for drivers to be vigilant. State Farm advises drivers take a number of precautions, including: driving slowly, especially at dawn and dusk; wearing seatbelts; anticipating additional deer to follow any deer they see; using high beams, unless oncoming traffic are approaching; and avoiding distractions, such as phones or food. In the event that a driver encounters a deer, State Farm advises braking if possible, but not swerving, which “can result in a more severe crash.”

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