Pedestrian Deaths Decrease While Traffic Fatalities Increase
In 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio created the Vision Zero program with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in New York City streets by 2024. The program was based on a similar program that had been instituted in Sweden. Focusing primarily on pedestrian deaths, the program hypothesized that pedestrian deaths were the fault of bad street designs. Although the number of pedestrian deaths has deceased under Vision Zero since its induction in 2014, the number of traffic accidents has steadily increased. 2019 looks like it may be a failure for Vision Zero, as AM New York reports.
For the first time since the implementation of Vision Zero, traffic deaths are on the rise in 2019.
According to the most recent police data, there have been 65 traffic deaths in New York City through April 28th. At the same point last year, there were 50 traffic deaths, representing a 30% increase.
Cycling deaths are also figuring into the equation. There have been sixth cyclist deaths in the city through mid-March. In all of 2018, there were only 10 cyclist deaths. In addition, there have been 968 cycling injuries this year, which is up 9% from the same time period last year.
Instead of faulty street design, distracted driving, speeding, and failure to yield are to blame for a majority of the accidents.
Since 2014, the city has completed 139 street improvement projects under Vision Zero, but critics argue the improvements are not taking place fast enough.
While some criticize the slow pace of the street redesign, others are blaming the use of the police force under Vision Zero. Following a tragedy in which bicyclist Aurilla Lawrence was struck and killed, police began targeting and ticketing cyclists. Some of these citations came as cyclists were on their way to a memorial ride to honor Aurilla.