Last year, we saw 10 cycling fatalities, a low count that signaled that Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative was working.
In 2019, that number nearly tripled. Twenty-nine cyclists have been killed on city streets this year, an alarming surge that forced the mayor and transportation officials to redouble their efforts to keep bike riders safe.
Last week, six pedestrians were killed over the course of just three days. The fatal crashes took place in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The perpetrators were both private vehicles and sanitation trucks.
According to reports, 114 pedestrians have been killed in car crashes in 2019, compared to 110 last year.
The good news is that the city has begun to respond more aggressively. In July, de Blasio unveiled a new “Green Wave” plan to expand protected bike lanes, increase police enforcement and use signal-timing to allow for smoother rides at intersections.
The $58.4 million initiative should boost protections for cyclists at a time when biking is becoming more popular.
In the fall, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson helped shepherd the passage of his streets master plan bill, which directs city officials to create a five-year transportation master plan that promotes mass transit, accessibility and safety.
When you consider that street cameras significantly expanded in school zones throughout the city this year, 2019 should have been a banner year for safety. Instead, it was one of the deadliest under the de Blasio administration.
That should change in 2020. Next year, elected officials should aim to have our safest year on record, not only for crime, but also in terms of street safety.
We hope no more families have to suffer the pain of losing a loved one to something so preventable.