Traffic fatalities surged in the first three months of 2022, according to data collected by Transportation Alternatives. Their research shows that the first quarter of 2022 was deadlier than any first quarter since New York City’s Vision Zero project first commenced in 2014, both overall and for children specifically. Particularly tragically, the quarter saw the 100th child killed in a traffic accident since Vision Zero began.
Transportation Alternatives noted that traffic fatalities increasing by 44 percent relative to the same time period in 2021, and are expected to increase for the fourth year in a row, a phenomenon that hasn’t occurred since at least 1990. Pedestrian safety advocates are calling on both the Mayor’s office and Albany to get serious about enacting real reforms to protect New Yorkers amid this dramatic increase in pedestrian fatalities.
What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a New York City initiative that aims to improve traffic safety in every borough of the city and reduce (and ultimately end) traffic fatalities. The initiative operates under the belief that motor vehicle accidents are far from inevitable; rather, they are preventable crashes that can be averted through “engineering, enforcement, and education.” As part of the initiative, the city has expanded their enforcement of particularly dangerous traffic infractions such as speeding, redesigned streets to increase safety, and heightened the penalties for dangerous motorists.
You can read more about Vision Zero on the project’s website.
Major Takeaways From NY Crash Data – Q1 of 2022
Some main takeaways from the first quarter of 2022 in New York include:
- Traffic accident fatalities significantly spiked in Queens and Manhattan – Per Transportation Alternatives, traffic accident fatalities in Queens are 125 percent higher than they were at the same point in 2021. They also noted that 60 percent of traffic accident deaths in Queens were pedestrians. In Manhattan, traffic accident fatalities were up 120 percent from Q1 of 2021. More motorists were killed in February and March than in any two-month period since 2013 in Manhattan.
- Almost half of all traffic-related deaths were pedestrians – According to Transportation Alternatives, 29 of the 59 traffic deaths that occurred in the first quarter of 2022 were pedestrians. In Brooklyn, more pedestrians were killed in February than in any other February since the beginning of Vision Zero.
- Moped, scooter, e-bike, and other motorized vehicle fatalities have increased – Only one person was killed while riding an “other motorized” vehicle in the first quarter of 2021. In 2022, the number of moped/scooter/e-bike fatalities drastically increased to nine. The study notes that the victims in these accidents are often poor, working class individuals, including delivery cyclists.
- Roughly one-fourth of all traffic deaths happen on streets where the speed limit exceeds 25 mph – Although only a small portion (10 percent) of New York City streets have a posted speed limit greater than 25 mph, the organization reported that approximately 24 percent of traffic deaths in Q1 happened on these roads.
In response to the alarming rise of traffic accident fatalities in New York City, Transportation Alternatives is calling on Mayor Adams, the city, and the state to take direct action by fully funding the NYC Streets Plan, which would require the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to construct hundreds of miles of new bike and bus lanes, upgrade existing pedestrian infrastructure, improve intersections, and create one-million square feet of space that is exclusively for pedestrians. These zones would be entirely car-free.
Furthermore, Transportation Alternatives is recommending that the city should fast-track a pledge it made in January to redesign 1,000 intersections for safety purposes. They expressed support for strengthening the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program as well, with the goal of decreasing the number of repeat traffic violations.
The organization is also calling for the state legislature in Albany to swiftly pass The Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act this session. The Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act would enable cities, villages, and municipalities outside of New York City to redesign streets and make safety upgrades, lower the speed limit to 25 mph, educate motorists on driving safely around cyclists and pedestrians, and obtain funding for “complete streets.”
The act also includes a Safe Passage bill that requires drivers to leave at least three feet of space between their vehicle and cyclists. It would also expand legal rights for traffic accident victims and their loved ones after a crash.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in New York
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident in New York, there are several steps that you should take after the crash to protect yourself and your right to pursue compensation:
- Call the authorities – If anyone is injured or killed in the accident, New York State law requires that you immediately notify the police.
- Collect evidence at the scene – If possible, you should gather as much evidence at the scene as possible. Snap photos of injuries you sustained, any damage to the vehicle that hit you, and the full scene from different angles. Talk to any witnesses who saw the accident happen and ask for their contact details.
- Seek medical attention – You should be evaluated by a medical professional within 72 hours of the accident. This is vital not only for the sake of your health, but also if you have to make an insurance claim.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer – You stand a much better chance of securing the coverage you deserve by consulting with a skilled New York car accident attorney. An attorney can handle the entire claims process for you by managing all communications with the insurance company and even negotiating with the insurance claims adjuster on your behalf.
Contact a New York Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
Were you hit by a car in New York? If so, the New York pedestrian accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. can help you pursue the financial relief you deserve for medical expenses, lost income, and more. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 855-TOP-FIRM.