When Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in New York City, one of his goals was to reduce the number of traffic-related deaths in the city. Mayor de Blasio has pledged to completely eliminate traffic deaths by the year 2024. Over the past two years, the Big Apple has seen a substantial decline in traffic deaths. However, last year, pedestrian and cyclist deaths rose. Officials admit that the number of traffic deaths is at its lowest point in the past 100 years; however, the increase in pedestrian and cyclist deaths prove that the mayor’s ambitious goal will be a difficult one to achieve.
Traffic Deaths Are Falling, But Not Enough
Last year, 229 people, including motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists, were killed in crashes.
In 2015, 235 were killed. Pedestrian deaths made up the highest portion of fatalities, increasing from 139 in 2015 to 144 in 2016. Cyclist deaths crept up from 14 in 2015 to 18 in 2016.
Mayor de Blasio, who will seek re-election this year, has praised his traffic model, which is called Vision Zero. The mayor designed the city’s plan after a similar one implemented in Sweden.
The mayor said, “We are very committed. I believe in Vision Zero 110 percent, and now we have three years running where it’s produced better results each year.”
However, safety advocates note that the mayor’s team must work faster to redesign city streets. Many community leaders have criticized proposals for crosswalks and bicycle lanes when removing vehicle lanes would be required. State Senator Tony Avella, who is running for mayor, commented that Mayor de Blasio is an “anti-motorist” and that Vision Zero is a failure.
According to Polly Trottenberg, New York City’s transportation commissioner, 105 street improvement projects were finished last year. Eighteen miles of protected bike lanes were added, and the commission also raised awareness about the risks pedestrians face at sundown during the darkest days of the year.
Trottenberg noted that, in the rest of the country, traffic fatalities have actually increased. She said, “I think it’s remarkable that the city has seen three years in a row of reduced traffic fatalities, very much bucking the national trend.”
Motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and cycling accidents may all have serious, long-term effects on victims. Many may no longer be able to work, to go to school, or even to shower or get dressed without assistance. Although New York City has clearly improved safety in some areas, others are still at risk of being involved in deadly accidents. At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our injury attorneys aggressively pursue all avenues of recovery on behalf of our clients to ensure their current and future needs are taken care of.
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