NY1 Poll: 68% Correctly Believe Drivers Cause Most NYC Traffic Crashes

Image: ##http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/nycpolls/c120410/Accidents/Complete%20May%2017,%202012%20NYC%20NY1-Marist%20Poll%20Release%20and%20Tables.pdf##Marist##

NY1 today announced the results of a traffic safety poll, conducted by Marist, which asked New Yorkers whom they blame for most city traffic crashes.

The results, as reported by the affable Roger Clark and Pat Kiernan: 68 percent of those polled city-wide believe motorists are responsible for the majority of crashes, 19 percent think cyclists cause the most collisions, and 13 percent say pedestrians are most often to blame.

In Manhattan, though drivers still lead at 59 percent, 31 percent of respondents cite cyclists as the number one danger on city streets, with pedestrians a distant third at 10 percent.

The fact that a huge majority of New Yorkers get that motorists pose the most danger could indicate support for improved enforcement by police and district attorneys. It helps that the public perception is supported by hard data.

In 2010, the city issued a report indicating that driver actions are the primary cause of 78.5 percent of crashes that killed or seriously injured pedestrians. As we reported, motorist inattention was a leading factor in 36 percent of such crashes, 27 percent involved failure to yield, and driver speed was cited in 20 percent of those incidents. A vast majority of serious crashes, 79 percent, were caused by the drivers of private vehicles.

Overall, according to DMV data [PDF], there were more than 78,000 car crashes, with over 77,000 people injured, in New York City in 2010. Meanwhile, the best available data on crashes involving only cyclists and pedestrians, collected from hospital records, shows that only 524 pedestrians were injured in bike collisions in the same year.

While the story is presented in a light-hearted way, Kiernan and Clark acknowledge that street safety is serious business. Which makes it somewhat curious that they reported this poll without comparing its results to readily-available data.

NY1 will be taking a closer look at the poll and street safety issues on “The Call” tonight. Streetsblog editor Ben Fried will be one of the guests on the program, which airs live at 9.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m really looking forward to comprehensive data, probably from hospital records, on pedestrians seriously injured by motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrian only crashes (falls on the street or sidewalk).  Wasn’t there a City Council bill some time back? 

  • I dunno, those 31 percent of people in Manhattan who think bicyclists cause the most accidents…  are these people sane? That’s rather alarming. Even a side-by-side visual comparison at a dead stop would make me think that cars had to be the most dangerous road users… even considering the foolish moves that many cyclists and pedestrians take while in movement on the streets, is there anything about the way most vehicle traffic moves that would make me feel safe? Many (not all) drivers are quite obviously racing out-of-control! And half of them are distracted. And many of them are quite willing to assert their unencumbered passage by making aggressive maneuvers or playing “chicken” with other road users, whether or not they have the right of way. And let’s not forget, some of the worst offenders are driving heavy vehicles and commercial trucks! What Manhattan do these people live in? The one where barreling private sanitation trucks and psychotic taxi drivers are invisible, but annoying delivery guys on e-bikes are a CONSTANT DEADLY THREAT? 

    Well, at least everyone in NYC votes for Obama.

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bike Share

    the 31% in manhattan who think it is cyclists’ fault is Reason #23043 why making policy decisions based on poll results is stupid.  Exhibit B is found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/what-people-dont-know-about-the-supreme-court–in-one-chart/2012/04/18/gIQA5w6gQT_blog.html

  • Pollster

    @brianvan:disqus Thankfully, the 31% of people in Manhattan who think bicyclists cause the most accidents all serve on Upper East Side community boards or write for the New York Post.

  • Joe R.

    To the 31% of Manhattanites who think bikes cause the most accidents-pick up your own food and the “problem” will largely disappear. Most of the bikes you complain about are only on the street because Manhattan residents asked for fast, “free” delivery.

  • fj

    Blaming cyclists and pedestrians is like saying road kill causes accidents.  The roads, laws and infrastructure are made for the benefit of transportation systems based on cars and they are way too dangerous.  There would be virtually no traffic lights or all the contrived and convoluted many totally unenforceable regulations for cars and non-cars.

    To be street-certified cars have to conform to all sorts of regulations and even then they are not safe; and in huge numbers of instances don’t even conform to these regulations and laws.  It seems like it’s an entitlement among drivers to do U-turns, cross the double yellow line, ride on sidewalks, not yield to pedestrians and cyclists, speeding and rapid acceleration especially near people and especially in dangerous actions attempting to make lights, etc. all of which are very dangerous actions that if done during a driver’s test the driver would fail immediately.

    People and cyclists just go out to do what they do and if cars did not exist the vast amount of complexity in getting about — rules and regulations, etc. — would disappear.

    This is manmade stuff and the normal thing is to make it safe.  Machines and machine systems that are not safe should not be used.


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