Bike-on-Ped Update: NYC DOT Confirms Error; NYPD Data a Big Unknown

We have a confirmation from the NYC DOT press office that the stats on bike-on-ped injuries Streetsblog published last week were based on faulty interpretation of data from the state
DOT’s traffic injury database. From NYC DOT spokesperson Seth Solomonow:

We did a search last week that was wrong. We did have information
that we interpreted as pedestrian crashes involving bikes. We’ve looked
at the underlying crash reports, and it’s clear that they all involved
motor vehicles. We take data seriously and regret this error.

We’re aggressively trying to improve the way that bike-on-ped data
is collected. The state DOT database does a really good job of
measuring motor vehicle crashes. We really want to know about these
subsets, and we need to get more detail.

Getting more detail will probably require better data practices on the part of NYPD. In the course of researching our correction, Streetsblog
reporter Noah Kazis asked NYPD’s public information office how the
police report bike-on-ped collisions. In response to two separate queries, police said that department
policy is to generate an MV-104, the same form used to report motor
vehicle crashes.

But it looks like NYPD doesn’t apply this policy at
all consistently. The 78th Precinct, in Brooklyn, uses MV-104s to record bike-on-ped injuries. But officers at the 19th in Manhattan and the 76th in Brooklyn both said they use a form called an "aided report." These are generic cards filled out whenever police respond to a call for assistance when no crime is suspected. According to the 19th Precinct, information from aided reports all gets sent to NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza, while the cards stay at the precinct.

Streetsblog will be following up with NYPD and officials in the public health community to see if we can get firmer numbers.

  • Glenn

    The MV-104 form is downloadable here: http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/forms/mv104.pdf

    I would bet most bike-ped crashes would fall under the $1,000 threshold listed. A totally new form with a different threshold for reporting would seem appropriate. It could include any combination of rolling wheel assisted person (bike, pedicab, skates, skateboard, self propelled scooter, etc vs. pedestrian.

    Getting this data by location, mode, user demographics, etc would be a great tool in combating the underlying problem and preventing future accidents from happening.

  • As I’ve pointed out previously in this space, during 1987-1993 NYPD compiled bike-ped crashes (number of crashes, number of injured peds, number of fatally injured peds) on a monthly basis — and made the data available to all comers, one of whom was yours truly, in his capacity as editor of “City Cyclist” (T.A.’s bimonthly mag) and president of T.A. We published these data fairly regularly. In 1994, Mayor Giuliani stopped making the data available, but so far as I knew the data were still being compiled. Now it seems that the data don’t exist, period. Talk about devolution!

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