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Bicycle Safety

The New York Times Comes Correct… Almost

2:32 PM EDT on August 18, 2006

On Monday Streetsblog wrote that the New York Times had under-reported the number of New York City bicycle fatalities in 2005. A correction appeared in the Times today: 

A report in the Metro Briefing column last Friday about the death of a bike messenger in Manhattan misstated the number of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents in New York City in 2005. It was 21, not 12, according to the police. Page A2, August 18, 2006; Late Edition

Unfortunately, the correction is still incorrect. The New York City Department of Health counts 24 cyclists killed on the streets of New York City in 2005, not 21, not 12. Why the discrepency? "The NYPD stat only counts cyclists who died in crashes with moving vehicles," according to Noah Budnick at Transportation Alternatives. Cyclists who, say, crashed into parked cars or on a greenway are not counted by the police. Apparently, they are not counted by the New York Times either.

Now if we could just get the Newspaper of Record to stop using the word "accident" to describe every instance of motor vehicle death and destruction, we'd be making some real progress. How about a more neutral and objective term like "crash?"

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