An alarming statistic is raising concerns in the city: more bicycle riders have died this year than in all of 2015. According to data from the Department of Transportation, 17 bicyclists have been killed by motorists on New York City streets so far this year, a number that surpasses the 15 cyclist deaths in 2015. If the pace continues, 2016 could be one of the deadliest years for bicycle riders.
The increase in bicyclist fatalities comes during the age of Vision Zero – a road safety program designed to improve streets and change driving culture in hopes of reducing traffic deaths to zero. According to safety advocates and friends and families of riders who have died, the City has been slow to implement measures that could be saving lives. This includes measures like:
- More protected bike lanes
- Reduced speed limits in certain zones
- Motorist education on safe road-sharing habits
- Raising awareness about safe passing distance
- Increased traffic law enforcement
Another barrier to changing this dangerous trend rests in the fact that DOT statistics can be somewhat misleading. For example, despite the increase in deaths this year, DOT claims risks for riders have never been lower. This is because the agency calculates bicyclists’ “risk indicator” by taking the number of dead and catastrophically injured riders and factoring in the estimated number of daily bike trips.
By calculating stats in this way, the city can publicize and PR claims that riders have lower risks, even though this may be credited to the fact that more New Yorkers are opting for transportation by bike. In fact, statistics from 2014 placed the number of daily bicycling trips at 420,000. A DOT study from May of this year state more than 775,000 adult New Yorkers ride a bicycle at least a few times per month.
Ultimately, statistics and number manipulation do little in comparison to actively taking measures that can prevent injury and death – that requires timely work from the city and increased awareness of all residents. After all, a large number of bicycle accidents are caused by driver error or negligence, including:
- Distracted driving
- Unsafe speeds
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failure to yield
- Impaired driving
When drivers negligently injure bicycle riders, they can be held accountable for their actions and liable for the damages victims suffer. At Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices, our Brooklyn personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources to help injured riders and families navigate the legal process in order to recover the compensation they deserve. If you have questions about your rights following a bicycle or pedestrian accident, contact us for a FREE consultation.