Law

Why 2019 Was an Especially Deadly Year for NYC Cyclists

According to their widely publicized Vision Zero initiative, New York city leaders want to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024. That lofty goal seems less attainable than ever after one of the deadliest years on record for local cyclists.

In total, 29 cyclists were killed on NYC streets in 2019 — a number nearly three times higher than last year’s total fatalities. 29 deaths also represents the highest such number in roughly two decades. Cyclists weren’t the only city residents in danger; overall traffic deaths rose from 192 to 205 between 2018 and 2019.

After one of the deadliest years on record, NYC cycling advocates have been speaking out forcefully.

NYC Cycling Advocates Pose Tough Questions

Local cyclists have emphatically voiced their displeasure, taking to the streets over the summer of 2019 to protest a perceived lack of action on the part of city officials. Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to address the situation in July, promising to speed up construction of protected bike lanes in several high danger areas with elevated bike traffic density.

Other steps the city has taken, however, have been criticized as being counterproductive. Local police, for example, have drawn complaints from cycling advocates after stepping up enforcement of local cycling laws. Biking advocates accused the NYPD of engaging in a “ticket blitz” that included citations for some infractions that aren’t on the books, including riding without a helmet, which is legal in the city for anyone older than 14.

Cycling advocates have also criticized city prosecutors for failing to pursue criminal charges in many of 29 fatal cycling accidents recorded in 2019.

City Officials Speak

Sam Stein, a spokesman for de Blasio, called last year’s cycling deaths “deeply troubling” and told the media the city is deploying a wave of new speed cameras, increasing the number of street redesigns and adding to targeted enforcement. Stein refused to answer questions about whether stronger criminal prosecutions are needed, however, and also declined to address questions about the so-called cycling “ticketing blitz.”

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson was more forceful in his defense of cyclists, telling the media that the 29 cycling deaths were “preventable tragedies.”

Johnson said the deaths were also “a reminder that we have so much more work to do when it comes to protecting cyclists and pedestrians in our city,” and pledged he would “be there fighting alongside street safety advocates every step of the way.”

Finding the Right Cycling Accident Attorney

If you’re a cyclist who has been victimized by the negligence of another party, it’s important that you speak with an experienced attorney. At The Frankel Law Firm, we’ve been fighting for the rights of the injured for more than four decades. Injured in an accident? Call for a free consultation at (212) 888-5100 or contact us from our website at www.frankellawfirm.com.

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