Across New York City, residents and visitors alike may find it challenging to navigate the crowded streets and sidewalks. Whether in a car, on foot or on a bike, the realities of sharing the road with a myriad of other vehicles and mass numbers of people are faced every day. In 2019, it seems that pedestrians and bicyclists experienced an exceptionally high level of challenges as last year saw a marked increase in the number of fatalities involving people on foot or on bikes.
According to the New York Post, the city had seen a decrease in the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed for five years after the Mayor’s Vision Zero plan went into effect in 2014. Last year, however, saw that trend take a deadly turn. Large trucks may well be a significant part of the problem. For example, 43 people on bikes died last year after being hit by truck drivers.
In an effort to address this problem and to save lives, the Mayor has announced that the New York Police Department will create a special unit dedicated to pedestrian and bicyclist safety. The team will review and analyze data that identities the intersections or areas with the greatest level of risk for people on bikes or foot. They will then target enforcement and changes in those areas.
Some behaviors that may be specifically focused on by the new unit include impaired driving, exceeding the speed limit and yielding the right of way to pedestrians and cyclists. Work may also involve keeping bus lanes clear and ensuring clearance for buses at designated stops.