From January 1 through March 15, 2015, a total of 24 pedestrians and cyclists were reported killed by motorists and 2,778 injured on New York City streets, compared to 33 deaths and 3,246 injuries for the same period in 2014, according to recent New York Police Department crash data. These figures represent a 27 percent decline in fatalities and a 14 percent drop in injuries thus far in 2015, compared to the same period in the preceding year.
While the NYPD said it is too early to credit the city’s speed camera program for the decline in injuries and deaths to pedestrians and cyclists, the data so far this year strongly suggests that vehicle speed cameras are certainly a factor in making city streets safer, an NYPD spokesperson who coordinated the new report said.
“I think the data tells us a lot,” Mitchel Ashley, founder of The Ashley Law Firm, a top New York bicycle accident injury lawyer, said. “I’m a cyclist myself. When the weather is nice I often take my bike to work in Manhattan from my home in Brooklyn. If you ask me what’s making streets safer? I think it’s a combination of things. I definitely credit the drop in injuries and fatalities to the lowering of the speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour; that paired with the installation of the speed cameras is definitely making a difference.”
A related Department of Transportation study found that in the last four months of 2014, speeding decreased by almost 60 percent at locations within 500 feet of fixed camera locations, compared to the same period in 2013.
According to the DOT, there were 20 functioning speed cameras in the city as of last fall, and by the end of 2014, 49 cameras were operational. According to a report by The New York Daily News, in 2014 speed cameras nabbed almost four times as many speeding drivers than the NYPD, despite Albany-imposed restrictions that limit camera tickets to school zones during school hours. The NYC DOT is now using 63 of the 140 cameras allowed by Albany, and plans to have all cameras operating by the end of 2015.
“The longer it takes the city to install all of the allotted cameras,” Ashley said, “the more people will get hurt, or worse.”
Streetsblog and other safety watchdog outlets have reported that in six of the fatal crashes on surface streets since the first of the year, only two motorists have been charged for causing a death. One driver struck and killed a pedestrian reportedly during a high-speed police chase. The driver was charged with manslaughter. The other motorist was charged under the Right of Way Law. Both pedestrians were on a sidewalk when they were run down.
“Unfortunately, “Ashley said, “half of motorists who kill a New York City pedestrian or cyclist don’t receive so much as a citation for careless driving.”
If you are injured by a motor vehicle when riding a bicycle in New York City, we recommend you contact the top New York bicycle accidents lawyers at The Ashley Law Firm immediately.