New York City has added miles and miles of protected bike lanes over the last couple decades as ridership has increased many-fold.
The combination of the two as well as improved general awareness has consistently kept bicyclist deaths steady; between one and two dozen people a year over the last 20 years. Here’s how many biking deaths have occurred in New York City’s five boroughs since 2010:
New York City hasn’t had a bike death tally any fewer than 12 people in one year since 1996. The fewest fatalities of 12 happened twice — in 2009 and 2014, whereas the highest number of cyclist deaths hit 40 in 1999. Here’s an extended list of reported Bicyclist deaths in New York City by year:
The data above comes from Bicyclist Fatalities and Serious Injuries in New York City: 1996–2005, a collaborative project by the City’s health, parks and recreation, transportation, and police departments to better understand, and ultimately improve, bicycle safety.
As you can see from the numbers, outside of a couple outliers on both sides, the amount of biking fatalities has remained steady (between 15-22) for the most part. Of course, no death is good, but considering that ridership is grown significantly, it does show that the city is adapting to the increased ridership and responding along the way.
This is especially true when considering the introduction of Citi Bike back in 2013. When the program was introduced, many expected a lot more traffic problems, injuries and frankly, more deaths. This hasn’t been the case, in fact cyclists on Citi Bike has yet to have their first fatality.
No Citi Bike Deaths Since the Inception of the Program
One would think that the influx of thousands of bicyclists via the City’s Citi Bike program would increase the number of bike fatalities when Citi Bike first opened in 2013.
The assumption is that the riders were less-experienced, less familiar and/or tourists, that the number of deaths would jump dramatically, but that clearly hasn’t been the case. On the three year anniversary there have been ZERO deaths. Here are the number of Citi Bike fatalities since the bike share started in Manhattan:
The truly amazing part of this is that the program continues to grow and expand and hit record numbers of rides. Still (cross fingers) this hasn’t impacted how many bike deaths the city experiences on a yearly basis. It’s especially impressive as the program is adopted by more and more of the city’s denizens.
Despite some friction, this quote from Kate Fillin-Yeh, the Bike Share Program Director for the National Association of City Transport Officials, basically sums up how well the city has adapted to cyclists on the road:
“Since 2000, the number of cyclists in NYC has gone up 4-fold. At the same time, the number of cyclists killed in NYC has remained effectively flat, and the number of cyclists severely injured has gone down. That is a 72% reduction in risk to cyclists overall since 2000 in NYC.”
Let’s hope that New York City continues to add more bike lanes and reduce risks for the ever increasing number of cyclists.