There were nearly 200,000 motor vehicle accidents on New York City streets last year. That’s according to the preliminary data collected by the New York Police Department between January of 2012 and December. Of those 200,000 accidents, over 3,800 involved cyclists. That total number of bicycle accidents is up 8% from last year’s tally of 3,500. Thankfully, the number of cyclist killed by motorists is down but only just: there were two fewer fatalities in 2012.
Cycling On the Rise & So Are Accidents
The increase in auto accidents involving bicycles is due (at least in-part) to the surge in the popularity of cycling as a mode of transportation across NYC. Traffic studies show that the number of commuter bicyclists more than doubled in just four years between 2007 and 2011. It climbed 8% in 2011 alone to an estimated record high of over 18,000.
Forced to share crowded streets with nearly 2 million vehicles including almost 50,000 taxis, those 18,000 cyclists are at great risk while crisscrossing New York City. Nearly one in four was involved in an automobile accident last year. Those 3,800 reported automobile/bicycle collisions resulted in nineteen fatalities.
As tragic as those deaths were, long-term injuries from collisions can be a greater financial burden for families to bear. However, the NYPD doesn’t keep statistics concerning the number of debilitating injuries involved in such cases. Indeed, the city’s police force has been criticized for regarding these accidents – even fatal ones – far too nonchalantly.
Bicycle Accidents Involving Fatalities
Brooklyn was by far the deadliest borough for cyclists with seven fatalities reported. Queens came in second with six cyclists killed at the hands of motorists. Manhattan (the deadliest borough for pedestrians) came in third with just three bicycle fatalities. The Bronx and Staten Island were the safest for bike riders with just three deaths between them.
The circumstances surrounding many of the bicycle accidents are even more shocking than the number. Roughly one third of all last year’s pedestrian and cyclist accidents involved hit-and-run drivers that were never identified. Just under 10% involved intoxicated drivers. Yet nearly half of the fatal auto accidents involving cyclists ended without criminal charges being brought against drivers or even citations for imprudent operation of a motor vehicle. Only ten drivers were criminally charged with taking the lives of their victims.
If you or a loved one has been involved in any kind of motor vehicle accident, call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777. Learn your rights and find out what benefits and compensation you are entitled to.