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NYC sees lowest all-time number of pedestrian deaths

Vision Zero – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s public safety campaign geared toward improving street safety and decreasing traffic accidents – seems to be working. In 2017, New York City had the fewest traffic fatalities on record.

Safer street designs, improved signage, increased enforcement and the lowering of speed limits have helped make the streets seemingly safer, especially for pedestrians, in this attempt at a cultural shift from drivers to walkers. Last year, pedestrian deaths in the city dropped to an all-time low. The 101 pedestrians killed represented the lowest number since 1910.

Contrasting numbers with rest of country

New York’s numbers contrast with a nationwide increase in traffic deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported a 13 percent increase in nationwide traffic fatalities from 2013 to 2016. Between 2013 – when Vision Zero was introduced – and 2017, New York City’s traffic fatalities dropped 28 percent and pedestrian deaths fell 45 percent.

Still there’s more work to do as Mayor de Blasio told The New York Times: “Not even a single tragedy on our streets is acceptable.” But one such tragedy did occur in early March, highlighting the perils pedestrians continue to face while walking in our city.

In that incident, a motorist ran a red light in Brooklyn and struck a group of pedestrians, killing a 4-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy. The girl’s mother, Tony Award-winning actress Ruthie Ann Miles, also was injured.

Bicyclist, motorcyclist fatalities increased

While fatalities among pedestrians have fallen in the city, the numbers rose slightly in other categories. In 2017, a total of 23 bicyclists and 33 motorcyclists were killed.

New York is a great city to walk. It’s meant to be experienced while on foot, visiting parks, neighborhoods, retail shops, restaurants, and – if you’re a tourist – Times Square. Still you must take precautions when taking it to the streets while wearing a pair of walking shoes.

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