Photo: Andrés Correa Guatarasma / Courtesy
Although outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio stated throughout his term that road safety was one of his top priorities, the numbers show just the opposite.
Last year 275 people – including 123 pedestrians – were killed in road crashes, while New York police enforcement of traffic laws fellrevealed the City Council in a report published on Friday.
It is the highest number of deaths on the streets of NYC since 2014 – De Blasio’s first – when 285 people died, he said. New York Post.
The dramatic increase in deaths and the decline in law enforcement come seven years after the initiative “Vision Zero” (Vision Zero) from the mayor, who lowered speed limits in the city and proclaimed the goal of achieving “zero traffic-related deaths” on the streets of America’s largest city.
But that rhetoric has not been matched by action, according to pedestrian and bicycle advocates, who allege that the City Council’s plans are regrettably far from achieving those goals.
“Mayor De Blasio promised to make the streets less deadly and it is a true leadership failure that during his last year in office we are significantly backtracking in progress,” denounced Cory Epstein, spokesman for the activist group. Transportation Alternatives, supporting the expansion of the city’s bike lane and stricter regulations on drivers.“If all levels of the de Blasio government are not doing their job to suppress reckless drivers, the result will be more deaths on the streets.”
Transportation officials and pedestrian and bicycle activists have been sounding the alarm about a dramatic increase in speeding and reckless driving on city streets for months, according to the aforementioned 524-page mayoral management report.
But as the deadly driving shot up, the number of citations issued by the police dropped by a staggering 57% from pre-pandemic levels. The NYPD reported writing only 298,377 driving law violations between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, the twelve-month period covered by the report.
That’s just a fraction of the 696,012 police citations issued during the same period in 2019, when NYC recorded 218 traffic-related deaths.
The data of the Department of Transportation (DOT) show that each category of traffic-related death jumped during the reporting period from the previous year:
- 123 pedestrians died, compared to 107.
- 25 cyclists deceased (previously 22).
- 52 motorcyclists died, compared to 31.
With fewer cars on the asphalt during the pandemic, the streets of NYC became a terrain of speeding and recklessness, according to statistics from another recent report by the Manhattan Institute. In addition, Extended outdoor restaurants in the name of social distancing they have generated more improvisation in the already narrow spaces shared with pedestrians, riders, garbage bags and vehicles.
But cars are not the only threat: actress Lisa Banes died in June after being hit by a scooter. Also since the pandemic there are more cyclists – delivery men and walkers – in the streets, who go up to the sidewalks and disrespect the traffic lights and the direction of the roads, surprising pedestrians. The rental and purchase of motorcycles and bicycles has been experiencing a boom in the city for some time.
A record of 124 people died in NYC traffic from January 1 to June 30, 2021: 64 pedestrians, 52 car occupants and 8 cyclists. It has been the deadliest semester on asphalt and sidewalks since Mayor De Blasio took office in 2014.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.