It may be caused by our overly wired, “go go go” mentality, but over the years, New York City has earned a notorious reputation for reckless driving.
According to the NYPD, there were 203,390 motor vehicle crashes in 2013. 16,059 cyclists and pedestrians were injured; 168 were killed. Roughly once every 48 hours, a cyclist or pedestrian is killed in a car crash. Though the Department of Transit released an anti-speeding campaign in 2010, the above 2013 numbers are still unacceptable.
There are several social projects raising awareness about this epidemic:
Mean Streets documents motor vehicle related deaths that occurred over the past year, subdivided by borough and person affected (cyclist, driver, pedestrian, adult, child).
The Ghost Bike Street Memorial Project creates memorials for cyclists killed in the form of ghost bikes- bikes painted white and chained to poles on site where the cyclist was killed.
These social campaigns have been very effective in raising awareness. It is clear that something needs to be done.
Vision Zero is a plan issued by Mayor de Blasio to reduce deaths and injuries caused by motor vehicles on New York City streets. Vision Zero takes a multifaceted approach to achieving this goal through law enforcement, legislation, street design and regulation, and public dialogue.
Spaces that the Department of Transit (DOT) has already redesigned, such as first and second avenues in Manhattan, have shown a 34% decrease in fatalities.
The Vision Zero View is an interactive map that displays the monthly and yearly deaths and injuries caused by motor vehicles, dating back to 2009.
Getting to Zero, an educational pamphlet discussing how to safely share the streets was also released.
Though these statistics are chilling, if we work together in raising awareness and advocating for change, we will find ourselves in a safer city. To a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly cities; to resiliency!