Jan. 26, 2022 By Christian Murray
The number of people killed on New York City streets in 2021 was the highest it’s been since 2013, according to city data released by Transportation Alternatives.
There were 273 people killed on New York City streets in 2021, a 33 percent increase over 2018, the safest year in recent history, according to city data. Last year, crashes killed 124 pedestrians, 50 motorcyclists, 19 cyclists and 15 people on mopeds and e-bikes.
Transportation Alternatives, the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, provided a breakdown of the fatalities based on Council District. Council District 31 in Queens saw the most deaths with 11, while District 17 in the Bronx, Districts 33 and 43 in Brooklyn and District 30 on Staten Island had 10 fatalities.
There were several council districts in Queens where large number of deaths occurred last year. There were seven deaths in Council Districts 26 and 34, while there were six deaths in Council Districts 30, 32 and 19.
“We cannot let another year go by with traffic violence killing a record number of New Yorkers,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “Our leaders must use every tool available to address this preventable public health crisis.”
Harris said that Transportation Alternatives is encouraged by Mayor Eric Adams' commitments to redesigning intersections for pedestrian safety and fortifying 50 percent of plastic-protected bicycle lane barriers with sturdier protection.
Last week, Adams pledged to redesign 1,000 intersections for safety, noting that 50 percent of all traffic fatalities and 70 percent of all injuries are at intersections.
“We must also permanently fix dangerous corridors, expand automated enforcement and create more car-free spaces,” Harris said, adding that legislators in Albany need to expand the speed camera program and pass the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act, which would allow New York City to put in place speed limits below 25 mph where it deems necessary.
“Every single traffic fatality is a tragedy,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Last year was a difficult one for Vision Zero. That’s why Mayor Adams and I declared last week that intersections should be sacred spaces and outlined a plan to make targeted changes at more than 1000 intersections this year.”
The DOT is also working on the NYC Streets Plan that will see the construction of 150 miles of dedicated bus lanes and 250 miles of protected bike lanes over the next 5 years.
Transportation Alternatives is calling on the mayor and DOT to take additional steps, such as identifying one dangerous corridor per borough and overhauling it to make it safer. The group is also calling on the city to install Intelligent Speed Assistance devices—which limit the top speed of vehicles—on all municipal vehicles.
The organization is also calling on Mayor Adams to strength the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program—to make it easier to impound vehicles owned by serial reckless drivers. Furthermore, it calls for taxing vehicle owners at a higher rate if they have larger cars—as a means of encouraging New Yorkers to own smaller vehicles.
The advocacy group Families for Safe Streets is also advocating for these changes.
“Early steps from Mayor Adams and his administration give us reason to hope that this deadly trend will be reversed,” said Families for Safe Streets member Rhondelle Booker Adams. “Our members look forward to partnering with Mayor Adams, the city council and state lawmakers to advance life-saving safety improvements to all corners of the city.”