It was another bloody year on New York City streets — with fatalities for motorcyclists and motorists almost doubling, according to city statistics.
Fifty motorcyclists and 70 car or truck drivers died in crashes in 2020, according to city records as of Wednesday, compared to 25 and 43, respectively, in 2019.
The year’s 25 bike deaths, meanwhile, marked the second-deadliest for cyclists since 1999, behind 28 recorded last year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his “Vision Zero” program in 2014 with the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths by 2024. City officials and experts blame the spike in car deaths on the COVID-19 pandemic’s emptying effect on streets, which led to more speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors.
“This was a very bad year for Vision Zero, mainly due to increased speeding that we saw on our roadways with the reduced traffic,” Acting Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Forgione said at a press conference Tuesday.
The bulk of crashes involved young male drivers, according to Transportation Alternatives, which monitors the city’s data.
Men typically account for 78 percent of city car crashes — in 2020, that number was 90 percent, the group said. Drivers in more than half of the year’s crashes were under 34.
The death surge comes as the city experienced its lowest number of pedestrian deaths on record — 98 last year, compared to around 300 per year in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Hizzoner has called 2020’s tragic statistics “a call to arms.”
But safe-streets advocates expressed disappointment that de Blasio’s 2024 goal of “zero” deaths appears out of reach.
“Expanding the speed camera program in Albany is a critical tool that will save lives,” said Transportation Alternatives spokesman Cory Epstein.
“But Mayor de Blasio controls the streets here in the city, and he has only one year left to turn back the tide of rising traffic violence and fulfill the promises he made when he launched Vision Zero at the start of his administration.”
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