NYC Drivers Injured 1,250 Pedestrians and Cyclists in May, and Killed Seven

Through the first five months of 2017, City Hall reported 46 pedestrians and cyclists killed by NYC motorists, and 5,577 injured, compared to 56 deaths and 5,928 injuries in the first five months of 2016.

Cyclist Xin Kang Wang was doored and knocked into the path of a cab driver on E. 20th Street, which has two lanes for parking but no protected bike lane. Photo: Google Maps
Cyclist Xin Kang Wang was doored and knocked into the path of a cab driver on E. 20th Street, which has two lanes for parking but no protected bike lane. Photo: Google Maps

Ten people died in New York City traffic in May, and 4,888 were injured, according to City Hall’s Vision Zero View crash data map.

City Hall reported 46 pedestrians and cyclists killed by city motorists through May, and 5,577 injured, compared to 56 deaths and 5,928 injuries in the first five months of 2016.

Three motor vehicle occupants died in the city in May, according to City Hall, and 3,638 were injured.

Citywide, six pedestrians and one cyclist were fatally struck by drivers last month. Among the victims were Xin Kang Wang, Alyssa Elsman, Jinhe Niu, Robert Falk, and an unnamed female pedestrian and unnamed male pedestrian, both killed in Manhattan.

Motorists killed three seniors in May: Xin Kang Wang, 74; Jinhe Niu, 67; and Robert Falk, 89.

Across the city, 857 pedestrians and 393 cyclists were reported hurt in collisions with motor vehicles. Per NYPD policy that has not changed since the 2014 launch of the Vision Zero program, few of these crashes were investigated by trained officers.

Of six fatal crashes on surface streets reported by Streetsblog and other outlets, two motorists were known to have been charged for causing a death.

Xin Kang Wang and Alyssa Elsman
Xin Kang Wang and Alyssa Elsman

Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan, was killed by Richard Rojas, who was accused of deliberately striking more than 20 people as he drove on the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue in Times Square. Elsman’s 13-year-old sister was among the injured victims. Rojas was charged with murder for Elsman’s death, in addition to multiple counts of attempted murder and assault. NYPD responded to Rojas’s rampage by placing barricades and other obstacles in the Seventh Avenue protected bike lane, making the street less safe for cyclists.

Jinhe Niu, 67, was killed by an SUV driver as he crossed 149th Street in Flushing, where locals say they’ve repeatedly asked the city for traffic-calming measures to slow speeding motorists. The driver who killed Niu, who was suspected to be under the influence of marijuana, was charged with manslaughter.

Cyclist Xin Kang Wang was doored on E. 20th Street in Manhattan by the passenger of a cab with New Jersey plates and knocked into the path of a TLC driver. The driver of the first cab was ticketed for discharging a driver in the painted bike lane but was not charged for violating the victim’s right of way.

Robert Falk was in the crosswalk when he was struck by a motorist making a left turn at Cross Bay Boulevard and 160th Avenue in Queens. NYPD reportedly filed no charges against the driver.

The 60-year-old unnamed female pedestrian killed in Manhattan was hit by the driver of a private garbage truck in Greenwich Village. Reports suggested the victim was in the crosswalk and had the right of way, but NYPD filed no charges and released scant details about the crash. Drivers of private trash trucks, which have the highest pedestrian kill rate of any type of vehicle in NYC, have fatally struck at least eight people since 2015, according to data tracked by Streetsblog.

Historically, nearly half of motorists who kill a New York City pedestrian or cyclist do not receive so much as a citation for careless driving.

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