Study Says Left Turning Traffic Causes the Most Bicycle Accidents in New York City

A new study by the NYC DOT takes a much closer look at the correlation between left turning traffic and fatal bicycle accidents in New York City. Between 2010 and 2014 there were just over 800 pedestrian and cyclists fatalities in New York. 108 of the victims were killed by left turning traffic-almost 13% of all the pedestrian and cyclists fatalities in New York.

The five-year DOT study examined over 1,000 accident reports and found that left turn crashes account for three times as many fatal bicycle accidents in New York City than right turns. They examined the details in each of these cases and determined that there were three major contributing factors:

  1. Left turns are taken at a wider radius (which means drivers tend to speed through the turn)
  2. Visual obstructions (support "posts" at the edge of a windshield) can completely block cyclists and pedestrians from a driver's view.
  3. Left turns require more mental effort and drivers are less likely to spot cyclists to correct a collision course).

The DOT also discovered that all of these left turning traffic bicycle accidents in New York occur at just 18% of intersections which will allow the city to focus accident avoidance efforts at these troublesome intersections.

As part of this five-year study, the DOT selected a handful of the most dangerous intersections and applied one or more of the following safety "treatments" to the intersection to test whether they would have a positive effect on the number of injuries and fatalities observed.

DOT "treatments" included:

  • Left turn restrictions (which dropped injuries by 41%)
  • Left turn bays (which decreased injuries by 15%)
  • Protected bike lanes (which decreased injuries by 15% and more than halved the number of fatalities--53%)
  • Left turn only signals (eliminated 33% of injuries)

If you've been injured by a careless driver while riding your bike, call an expert New York City bicycle accident attorney without any further delay. Call at the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 today.

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