The epidemic of traffic violence in New York City continued last week, with at least eight deaths from traffic accidents in four days, according to a report by Spectrum News NY. Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, which tracks traffic violence in the city, said data shows a “13% increase year over year in traffic fatalities,” with city and state interventions struggling to keep up.
One of the most recent fatalities, as of the report’s publication, was a 55-year-old man riding an electric bicycle when the driver of a “white van” hit him while turning left from 4th Avenue onto 21st Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, on Friday, May 6th. “At that intersection,” according to Spectrum, “there’s a big sign specifying no left turns.” Police officers did not arrest the driver at the scene, though they are reportedly investigating the incident. Another tragic fatality occurred that same night, when the driver of a motorcycle hit a “38-year-old woman” as she crossed a Queens street, according to Spectrum.
A press release by Transportation Alternatives detailed the onslaught of traffic violence in the city last week. On Thursday, a 35-year-old bicycle driver was struck and killed by the driver of a privately owned garbage truck in Brooklyn. On Wednesday, a 21-year-old New York University student named Raife Milligan was struck and killed by a driver as he crossed Houston Street in Manhattan. On Tuesday, a delivery truck driver in the Bronx struck and killed a 16-year-old as she walked to school. The unnamed cyclist, the release notes, was on a street “with an incomplete and unprotected painted bike lane,” highlighting the city’s inadequate response to the dangers on its streets.
“Paint is not protection,” said Transportation Alternatives in a statement. “A person walking or biking stands no chance against a 4,000-pound sports car or a 12,000-pound truck. As more people die on our streets, we need our city and state officials to do everything in their power to protect our most vulnerable road users as they traverse the city.”
To stem the tide of traffic violence, which is far deadlier for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users than vehicle operators, Transportation Alternatives called for New York City to expand its traffic calming architecture, and for state legislator to pass the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act, which, among other things, would give New York City increased power to enforce traffic violations on its own streets.