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Taking Action for Safer Streets

A recent analysis by Transportation Alternatives reveals the alarming rate of serious traffic-related injuries occurring on the streets of New York City. The research showed that over 4,200 people endured significant bodily harm from January 2022 to June of this year alone, equating to an average of 8 people per day. It is evident that urgent action is needed to address the safety concerns plaguing our transportation infrastructure.

From January to September of 2023, there have been 170 traffic-related deaths in New York City. It has been a more fatal year for cyclists, with 22 killed thus far, compared to the 14 fatalities during the same period last year. Data collected by Transportation Alternatives shows that, on average, during the first six months of the year, 15 pedestrians, seven cyclists, and 27 drivers were seriously injured in crashes… each week.

Transportation Alternatives’ analysis examined crashes involving various road users, including cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, passengers, and individuals on motorized bikes and scooters. The data revealed that a significant number of accidents resulted in dismemberments, fractured bones, miscarriages, and permanent organ damage. These life-altering consequences highlight the urgent need for safer streets.

The analysis also exposed the disparities faced by particular communities. According to the crash data, the ten council districts with the highest populations of people of color faced a 15% increased likelihood of experiencing traffic injuries, while residents of the ten council districts with the highest poverty rates were nearly a quarter more likely to be gravely injured. Both of these statistics were in comparison to the average district. These contrasts underscore the need for equitable access to safe transportation options and more significant protection for vulnerable communities.

Councilmember Selvena Brooks-Powers, chair of the Council’s transportation committee, commented, ‘This data is alarming, but not surprising. Our transportation infrastructure forces those in our outer borough and lower-income neighborhoods to be disproportionately reliant on cars and bikes, putting them at the highest odds of being in harm’s way.’

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero program, launched in 2014, aims to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries in New York City. However, Transportation Alternatives argues that the focus often rests solely on fatalities, neglecting the severity of serious injuries.

Some aspects of the analysis have been argued by the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT has cited that specific neighborhoods typically have a heavier concentration of people during the day and fewer people at night.

Mona Bruno, a spokesperson for the DOT, wrote, ‘Throughout Vision Zero, NYC DOT has worked to ensure all New Yorkers benefit from our safety projects— and we’ve seen the greatest decreases in pedestrian fatalities both in neighborhoods with high poverty rates and the highest levels of non-white residents.’ She argued that an ‘equity formula’ that helps determine where to make street safety improvements has helped Transportation Alternatives focus more intently on the neighborhoods with high poverty rates and people of color.

Regardless of opinion or bias, the facts speak for themselves. Within the first six months of the year, Manhattan led the boroughs in pedestrian injuries with 289. Within this same period, Brooklyn led the boroughs in cyclist injuries with 204, while Queens led the boroughs in motorist injuries with 567.

The alarming number of severe injuries on New York City streets demands immediate attention and action. As we strive for safer streets and improved transportation infrastructure, it is crucial to support those who have suffered due to negligence or inadequate safety measures. Belluck & Fox stands ready to assist accident victims in pursuing justice, ensuring their voices are heard and their rights are protected.  With their extensive experience and expertise, their team will guide you through the legal process, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you or someone you know has been affected by a serious accident, contact Belluck & Fox today for expert legal counsel and representation. Together, we can work towards a safer and more secure future for all New Yorkers. Please reach out to Belluck & Fox today for a free consultation.

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