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In Spite of Vision Zero, More Cyclists Are Dying on NYC Streets

In Spite of Vision Zero, More Cyclists Are Dying on NYC Streets

A huge surge in the number of bicycle riders killed on New York City streets has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the Vision Zero program. In 2019, throughout the five boroughs, 29 bicycle riders were killed in accidents. The majority of these fatal collisions (18) occurred in Brooklyn, almost twice the number in the previous year.

With more people using bikes to get around than in the past, the city is enacting new safety measures and stepping up programs already in place. Still, bike-safety advocates are calling for a comprehensive overhaul that gives cyclists the ability to travel without undue fear. As the warm weather approaches and more riders take to the streets, city officials are striving for significant safety improvements in 2020, considering such issues as:

  • Record-high ridership — The New York City Department of Transportation has reported that cyclists now take almost 500,000 trips daily. This record-high ridership is due in large part to the popularity of the Citi Bike service and to residents’ increased awareness of the environmental harm caused by motor vehicles.
  • Green Wave — In mid-2019, Mayor de Blasio announced the “Green Wave” plan, part of a global movement to make streets more welcoming to bikes. It called for new protected bike lanes and increased enforcement against motorists who block these lanes unlawfully. Unfortunately, NYC bike deaths continued at a similar pace.
  • Protected bike lanes — Though portions of many streets in the five boroughs have been reserved for cyclists over the past five years, not all of these bike lanes offer the same protection. While some lanes separate motor vehicles from bicycles with a physical barrier such as a plastic bollard or a curb, others merely have pavement markings.

Even within city government, mixed messages have been sent regarding cyclist safety. Mayor de Blasio has put some of the blame for bicycle accidents on the injured victims, stating that “they have to follow the rules.” No matter what may contribute to a particular crash, cars and trucks have a massive advantage in size, speed and power. Accordingly, drivers of motor vehicles have a special responsibility to act responsibly when sharing the road with bicycles.

Barasch & McGarry represents victims of New York City bicycle accidents as well as people hurt in other types of vehicle collisions. For a free consultation about the compensation you might be entitled to after a crash, please call 888.746.8212 or contact us online.

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