This week has brought a wave of PR-department-approved good news to New York City residents. We have less crime! We are healthier! We might just live…forever! And…we’re better at driving and/or walking, apparently. Mayor Bloomberg along with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan released stats today showing that New York has hit an all-time low in traffic fatalities — the fewest since records started being kept in 1910. According to data for the year up to December 27, there were 237 traffic fatalities in 2011, 40 percent fewer than there were in 2001. This includes 134 pedestrian fatalities (involved in crashes with vehicles), 47 senior pedestrian fatalities, and 3 child pedestrian fatalities.
Note, bicycle lane naysayers, a/k/a, the New York Post: “Bicycle fatalities have held within the same range over the last decade, despite bike ridership quadrupling during that time period.”
By the numbers, there were 21 cyclists killed in the last year while 260 miles of bike lanes have been added to the city over the last four years. Capital New York reports, “Janette Sadik-Khan said she didn’t have exact figures for the number of accidents involving cyclists, but said the number is down compared to previous years.”
Traffic safety improvements are being attributed to various safety engineering initiatives — neighborhood slow zones, pedestrian countdown signals, etc. — and public education efforts, as well as the NYPD’s boost in enforcement against speeding and drunk driving. Grand Army Plaza has had, for example, a 40 percent reduction in crashes in the last three years, and overall, New York City’s traffic fatality rate has gone from 4.87 fatalities for every 100,000 residents (in 2001) to 2.8 fatalities per 100,000 residents (in 2011).
This is all awesome. But our perfection is starting to scare us a little. Someone, bump into a parked car while texting, please (not too hard).
Mayor Bloomberg Announces All-Time Record Low in Traffic Fatalities in 2011 [MikeBloomberg.com]