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Annual Cyclist Death Toll Largely Unchanged for About 20 Years, Data Shows

By Aidan Gardiner | July 10, 2017 5:03pm | Updated on July 11, 2017 8:43am
 The number of cyclists on the streets has increased, but bicyclist deaths remain constant.
The number of cyclists on the streets has increased, but bicyclist deaths remain constant.
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NEW YORK CITY — The number of cyclists killed on the road each year has remained relatively the same since 2000, even after three years of Mayor Bill de Blasio's landmark Vision Zero initiative, city statistics show.

Numbers released by the city Friday showed a rise in bike deaths since 2013, but additional numbers show a more consistent flatlining with the year-end death toll between 12 and 25.

Cyclist deaths were at a four-year low in 2013 with only 12 killed, but that number climbed up to 14 in 2015 and 18 in 2016 with a dramatic spike up to 20 in 2014, according to the city's numbers.

Vision Zero began in 2014 and has ushered in a slew of new bike lanes and a decreased speed limit among other safety initiatives that city officials have touted as a success.

In that time, pedestrian deaths have plummeted, but cyclists deaths have risen, partly because there's been an overall surge in biking throughout the city, meaning that statistically speaking, the death rate has actually dropped, city officials said.

About 45,000 people rode to work or school every day in 2015, up significantly from the 31,500 who did so back in 2012, according to city data released in January.

That's the highest number of daily riders since 1990, when only about 9,600 people were daily bike commuters, statistics show. Ridership has steadily increased since then.

Despite the city's ability to keep bike deaths relatively low, advocates said more still needs to be done to ensure their safety.

"Per mile and per capita, cycling is getting safer, but absolutely not safe enough. We can make cycling much safer by expanding the network of bike lanes," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

"We simply want these proven safety measures applied to all New York City streets," Steely White added.

The DOT refused to comment for the story because DNAinfo New York refused to change a previous story about an increase in cyclist death since the Vision Zero legislation was passed.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of the story incorrectly reported that the rate of cyclist deaths has remained the same. The number of biker deaths has remained the same, however because the number of bicyclists on the road has increased, the rate has gone down.