Traversing New York City’s crowded streets can be a nightmare for motorists. Thanks to traffic congestion, a short journey of a few blocks can take what feels like hours. One way people circumvent the congestion problem is by biking. Commuters, environmentally conscious individuals, couriers, and delivery “drivers” have turned to bicycles to help them quickly and effectively navigate New York streets. Unfortunately, an upswing in bicyclist fatalities across the city has outraged cyclists and has them calling on government officials to stand up and act.
In the New York Vision Zero Era, why are there more fatal bicycling accidents, not fewer? Cyclists want answers.
Cyclists Demanding Change
Recently, dozens of cyclists hit the streets of Manhattan to demand change from city leaders. At least 26 people have died while riding their bikes in New York City this year. News reports indicate on October 4th, the 26th cyclist was hit and killed by a large box truck as the cyclist was heading westbound on Clarkson Avenue in Brooklyn. Both the truck and the bicycle stopped at a red light. When the light turned green, the cyclist entered the roadway, and the truck driver turned into the bicyclist, knocking the cyclist to the ground. The truck’s rear wheels ran over the cyclist.
Following the latest bicyclist death, cyclists across New York rallied in Washington Square Park, holding a vigil for fallen riders and asking the city and Mayor Eric Adams to do more to prevent bike fatalities and make New York City streets safer for riders. Riders claim New York City is on track to hit its second deadliest year for cyclists on record.
New York’s Vision Zero Plan
Although cyclists are demanding change, there needs to be an indication of what specific changes they are asking the mayor to make to increase bicycle safety throughout the city. In 2014, New York instituted a Vision Zero program to decrease traffic-related deaths in the city. The Vision Zero plan seeks to decrease the number of preventable traffic crashes and improve street safety, bringing the city closer to its goal of zero deaths and serious injuries. The city’s program combines comprehensive engineering, educational strategies, traffic enforcement, and citizen interaction to meet its goals.
As recently as November 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced the return of the city’s annual “Dusk and Darkness” traffic enforcement and educational campaign to help curb pedestrian and cyclist deaths during the dark fall and winter evenings. The mayor also marked the expansion of the city’s speed camera program to help keep all New Yorkers sake around the clock, especially in busy school zones, allowing speed cameras to operate 24/7 for the first time.
According to city officials, traffic safety has always been a top priority.
Most Cyclist Deaths in the Vision Zero Era
Recently, cyclist death rates have climbed in New York. This year’s 26th death in October marks the most cyclist deaths in the Vision Zero era. Why? Despite the huge number of cyclists roaming city streets, New York is not considered a bicycle-friendly city as fatalities continue to surge.
Although Mayor Adams has been at the forefront of numerous safety programs, some claim the mayor needs to ramp up his bicycle safety efforts. Earlier in the year, Mayor Adams delayed a protected bike lane project on McGuinness Boulevard in the face of opposition. Some officials say the new watered-down McGuinness Boulevard project is not ideal for pedestrians and cyclists and that donors are being prioritized over public safety.
In another stumbling block for road safety, top NYPD Transportation Chief Kin Royster was forced into retirement, creating an opening in a key city position. Without a leader in place, the city may struggle to hold its ground in the war on traffic violence and fatalities as several road safety crises continue to plague New York. Activists say delayed, canceled, and watered-down road safety plans can’t be the norm when at least 93 percent of bike fatalities in the city occur in streets with no bike infrastructure or unprotected bike lanes.
Critics say New York City’s safety plans are just words and not enough is being done to move toward attainable safety goals.
Bicycling By the Numbers
Vision Zero says over 550,000 bike trips are made in New York City daily. Biking is an increasingly popular transportation mode in New York; at least a quarter of New Yorkers now ride a bike.
Bicycle crash data shows that in 2022, there were 18 bicyclist fatalities and 5,018 bicyclist injuries citywide. With 26 fatalities already recorded for 2023, the surge in accidents across the city shows Vison Zero efforts alone may not be enough to protect vulnerable bikers traveling dangerous New York City streets.
Can You Get Compensation for a New York Bicycle Accident?
Bicyclists injured in accidents caused by a careless driver may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. However, pursuing compensation can be challenging, and you may need assistance from an experienced New York bicycle accident attorney to recover maximum compensation for your injuries. A knowledgeable attorney can help adequately position a claim by:
- Thoroughly investigating the cause of the bicycle accident
- Identifying all potentially liable parties
- Collecting vital evidence to strengthen your claim
- Documenting your injuries and financial losses
- Accurately evaluating the value of your claim
- Negotiating with an insurer for maximum compensation
- Preparing your case for court when necessary
The New York bicycle accident lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C., have been litigating bicycle accidents for over 35 years. We understand the unique aspects of bicycle accident cases that can make them more challenging than other accident cases. We’ll listen to you and build a case with the best chance of getting you the money you need to cover your financial losses.
A Bicycle Accident Attorney with Finz & Finz, P.C. Can Help
Do you need someone to look out for you? At Finz & Finz, P.C., we’ve been actively protecting the rights of injured New York cyclists for decades. Contact our New York bicycle accident lawyers today at (855) TOP-FIRM to arrange a free case review to discuss your case and learn more about your legal rights.