A rash of deadly accidents involving bicycle riders in 2019 has cast serious doubt on the effectiveness of New York City’s Vision Zero initiative to improve street safety. Through mid-August, cyclist fatalities are nearly double those from all of last year. This sobering fact prompted Mayor de Blasio to announce the “Green Wave” program on July 25 that will increase bike lanes, make intersections safer and heighten the enforcement of traffic laws that protect bike riders.
The 19 reported fatalities in 2019 touched every borough except The Bronx, the victims ranging from teenagers to men in their seventies. The deadly accidents reveal some of the main causes of collisions in the “crisis” described by the mayor, such as:
- Vehicle doors opening into traffic — Yisroel Schwartz, 16, was riding on 17th Avenue in Borough Park when a door opened on a parked car in front of him, knocking him to the ground in a traffic lane where he was hit by a van. In another case, Em Samolewicz, 30, was biking in Sunset Park when she swerved to avoid a parked vehicle’s open door and was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer.
- Speeding and impaired drivers — A driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, criminally negligent homicide and other counts when her vehicle killed Mohammad Abdullah, 29, on Avenue D in Brooklyn while traveling “at a high rate of speed.”
- Dangerous intersections — Robert Spencer, 53, was cycling on Borden Avenue in Queens on a March morning when he was killed by a car traveling on Second Street. Following the accident, the city’s Department of Transportation adjusted the timing of the traffic light to make the intersection safer for bike riders and pedestrians.
The increased focus on New York City bicycle accidents hasn’t stopped deaths and injuries among cyclists over the past few years. Hopefully, the Green Wave measures will be more successful, but when harmful collisions do occur, riders deserve full compensation from the parties liable for their injuries.
[ln::firm_name] advocates for clients who have been hurt while riding bicycles, traveling in cars or walking on New York City streets. If you or a loved one has been injured in such a collision, please call us at [ln::phone] or contact us online for a free consultation.