Local Data Confirm: NYC Bike-on-Ped Injuries Declined as Cycling Rates Rose

While the number of cyclists heading into Manhattan's central business district has soared since 2007, the number of pedestrians injured in collisions with bicycles in New York City has fallen almost ten percent. Both measures are indexed to 100 for the year 2007.

When Hunter College professors Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski released a report finding that 1,000 pedestrians were injured in collisions with bicycles each year in New York state, Streetsblog noted that the injury trend was downward. Even though bicycling is booming in New York City, fewer New Yorkers seemed to be getting injured each year. The media hysteria over “bike bedlam” looked even more like pure fantasy.

Tuckel and Milczarski’s original report, however, did not provide year-by-year data broken down geographically. We could only see what was happening statewide over time, not the changes in NYC. We could reasonably assume that the NYC injuries were also declining, but we didn’t know for sure.

Now, Tuckel and Milczarski have graciously provided Streetsblog with New York City-specific data broken out by year. Indeed, the number of pedestrians injured in crashes with cyclists fell in New York City by around nine percent between 2007 and 2010. The injury rate fell more quickly outside New York City than inside it.

The graph above compares the change in cycling into the Manhattan central business district — a proxy for overall cycling, if an imperfect one — with the change in pedestrian injuries sustained in collisions with cyclists. The amount of cycling has soared while the injuries have declined.

This should put to rest the notion that efforts to boost cycling in the city somehow jeopardize pedestrian safety. It’s just not anywhere in the data. We won’t hold our breath waiting for the Post or the Daily News to get the memo, though.

  • Academic

    When even the Nation, in an otherwise excellent piece, reports the original Tuckel/Milczarski study as a justification for some anti-bike sentiment, it’s clear that no amount of new info will undo what they unleashed.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for Nancy Gruskin to go back on the Fox morning show to announce this encouraging data either.

    Here’s the Nation:

    “Where safety is concerned, the backlash seems more justifiable. A study
    released in September found that 1,000 pedestrians are injured by
    cyclists in New York State every year, with New York City accounting for
    roughly half of that figure. The findings bolstered longtime complaints
    that New York bicyclists routinely run red lights and bike illegally on
    sidewalks.”

    http://www.thenation.com/article/163671/rise-urban-biking

  • People, keep tweeting and fb’ing this story.  It’s necessary because of the anti-bike frenzy the local media misguidedly went on when the Hunter study came out.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I said it before:  to put this data into context a record of how many pedestrians go to the hospital due to trips and falls, or collisions with other pedestrians, on streets and sidewalks is required.

    Is the number, say, 500 a big one or a small one?  Data on how many people get hurt just walking around, along with motor vehicle injuries, would answer that question.

    Also, about 20 people per year die on the subway, not including jumpers, mostly due to trips and falls.  Not sure about the number injured.

  • Fact Check Unit

    Someone should tweet Ben Adler and let him know that, while his “Rise of Urban Biking” piece in the nation was great, he totally got the Hunter data (it’s not a “study”) wrong.

    He’s @ badler on Twitter.

  • Larry — does this help?

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/ip/ip-hosp-inj-rank.pdf

    Some of the descriptions are vague or confusing. “Unintentional pedestrian” etc.

  • Larry Littlefield

    That’s great SteveO, I went looking for something like that and couldn’t find it.

    The only problem is definitions.  The falls 91,114 falls with 364 deaths probably include all falls, including those on private property.  Not just people walking on streets, sidewalks and in parks.

    Injuries classified as pedestrian (6,129) include those in collisions with motor vehicles according to the footnote (and probably bicycles too).  I get the feeling that pedestrains falling or their own or colliding with other pedestrians would be in the fall category, not this category, but I’m not sure.

    The purported 500 pedestrians hospitalized by collisions with bicycles is a pretty high percent of the 6,779 total pedestrian injuries, if that includes falls and pedestrian/pedestrian collisions as well as pedestrians injured by bicycles and motor vehicles.  It would be about 7.4% of all walkers hospitalized.

    On the other hand, if even one-third of the 91,000 unintentional falls were also pedestrians on the streets or sidewalks, that would mean the hospitalizations of walkers falling on their own or colliding with other walkers would be 60 times the number injured by bicycles.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I just checked went to the DOH and checked the glossary.  

    Note the codes — there is more than one under falls, motor vehicle, pedestrian and bicyclist.  Although for falls, it is only a decimal place.  Could it be falls at home, falls on the job, falls on the street, falls while shopping?It may be that pedestrian-only hospitalizations could be isolated from other falls, and pedestrian collisions with motor vehicles and cyclists could be isolated from each other.  Perhaps Streetsblog could follow up.Falls any accident in which an individual sustains an injury after an unintentional descent from any height E880.0-E888.9 

    Motor Vehicle any accidents involving a motorized vehicle and at least one injured individual, where that individual is a vehicle 

    occupant, passenger, or driver; a motorcyclist  

    E810-E819 (.0-.3;.9)           

    Pedestrian injuries caused in transport and non-transport related crashes 

     

    E810-E819 (.7) 

    E800-E807(.2) 

    E820-E825 (.7) 

    E826–E829 (.0)           

    Bicyclist injuries caused in transport and non-transport related crashes 

     

    E810-E819 (.6) 

    E800-E807(.3) 

    E820-E825 (.6) 

    E826.1-.9  

  • Urban Interest

    Nice to see that the bicyclesare upcoming in de NY. I am from Holland and evereybody has at least 1 bicycle 🙂

    Urban Interest