Why are more New York cyclists dying?

Bicyclists in New York City experienced the deadliest year on area streets in 20 years. The factors contributing to this tragic reality may well involve the types of vehicles involved in these accidents.

Over the last several years, more and more people are turning to walking or riding a bike as their preferred method of getting around the increasingly crowded streets of New York City. Walking and cycling are more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective options than driving a car. These activities are also supposed to be better for a person's health. Unfortunately, it seems that riding a bike in New York may actually be harmful to a person's health.

2019: A deadly year for cyclists in New York

In early 2020, the New York Post reported that the city's police department would be creating a special force within the traffic division aimed at improving safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. This announcement followed the release of data showing that more cyclists were killed in New York City in 2019 than had been killed in any year since 1999.

The new force will utilize data to highlight the neighborhoods and intersections that expose cyclists to the greatest level of risk. It is these areas where the unit will put its focus and increase enforcement.

Along with increasing enforcement, a sea of new bike lanes and paths will be created this year. In Brooklyn, a suite of 30 miles of such paths will be rolled out Manhattan will get another 10 new miles of bike lanes.

Larger vehicles pose larger risks

Bicycling magazine did an in-depth review of crash data and uncovered some interesting insights into the crashes that result in the greatest harm, including death, to cyclists.

Large commercial trucks and vans were found to be 162% more fatal than standard passenger cars. In 2018 and 2019, these vehicles caused 57% of the cyclist deaths but were involved in only 2.6% of all cyclist crashes.

A far greater percentage of cyclists hit by large trucks and vans died than those hit by sedans or even sport utility vehicles. For example, 50% to 100% of cyclists hit by semi-trucks, tow trucks, delivery trucks, concrete mixers or tanker trucks in 2018 and 2019 died. In contrast, the 2,485 cyclists hit by sedans in that timeframe resulted in three fatalities.

Behavioral risks to cyclists

Distracted driving, failing to yield the right of way, unsafe lane changes or turns and failure to obey traffic signals or signs were just some of the factors found to be involved in the vehicle-cyclist crashes.

The tragic trend of cyclist deaths in New York highlight the need for people involved in these accidents to take action to pursue justice and protect their rights. Contacting an attorney after such an event is recommended so people have the help they need in doing this.