“Bike Bedlam” Fact Check: NYC Bike-Ped Injuries Drop From Low to Lower

Editor’s note: Streetsblog has retracted this post. The information on bike-on-ped crashes is not accurate. Read the full correction for an explanation of how we acquired the erroneous data and how we determined it was incorrect.

ped_injury_table.jpgPedestrian injuries sustained citywide in collisions with bicyclists pale beside the more than 10,000 pedestrian injuries and deaths sustained each year in collisions with motorists. Sources: New York State DMV (motor vehicle injuries) and New York State DOT (bike injuries)

One of the claims on Monday night’s "Bike Bedlam" segment that seemed off to me was reporter Tony Aiello’s assertion that "the city doesn’t keep a central database of bike versus pedestrian accidents." The first reason it seemed skewed is that the number of bike-on-ped crashes causing injury is minuscule compared to the violence visited on New Yorkers by auto traffic. The second reason is that the state, not the city, is the authoritative source for traffic injury data.

Getting up-to-date information about traffic crashes out of the state can indeed be maddeningly slow. CrashStat, the web site operated by Transportation Alternatives that
shows the pedestrian and cyclist injury history of NYC streets and intersections, doesn’t have
data more recent than 2005 for a reason. So on that score, street safety advocates would probably agree with Aiello 100 percent.

I asked the city DOT press office yesterday if they could furnish some numbers on the volume of bike-on-ped injuries in New York. They sent over a table of citywide data from the state DOT covering the last nine years. The table clearly shows a consistent drop in bike-on-ped injuries. It pretty much shreds the whole "Bike Bedlam" premise that pro-bike policies are putting pedestrians in danger.

The DOT press shop also said that they’d received no inquiries from Aiello about bike-ped crashes. So I emailed Aiello to ask who he’d turned to for crash data. He emailed back to say he’d been on a nice bike ride with TransAlt’s Caroline Samponaro today (for tonight’s cyclist perspective, I assume), and that he’d check his notes. I emailed again to make clear that I had some bike-ped crash information, and that city DOT said they’d never received an inquiry.

He emailed back:

The city DOT press office has no business talking to you – or to me, or to anyone, about inquiries made by other journalists.

I disagree with Tony. If you’re going to skew the facts and traffic in sensationalism, other reporters have every right to find out what sort of inquiries were made. Or not made.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

New Data Debunks “Bike Bedlam” Sensationalism

|
New data is online about the extent of bike-on-ped crashes in New York City, and it adds some much-needed perspective to the public discourse about the “safety crisis” on city streets. According to reports collected by NYPD and compiled online by NYC DOT [PDF], police responded to 27 bike-ped collisions citywide in the last three […]

Correction: State DOT Keeps No Records of NYC Bike-on-Ped Injuries

|
Last week we ran a post in response to CBS2’s “Bike Bedlam” series in which we published a table showing a downward trend in NYC bike-on-ped injuries. In response, we received a few inquiries about how the data was collected and what it represents. After following up with agencies and organizations involved in crunching crash […]

What’s Causing the Drop in Bike-on-Ped Injuries?

|
Well, it didn’t take long for our local media to mangle the Hunter College study measuring bike-on-ped injuries in New York state. Statewide hospital data compiled by professors Peter Tuckel and William Milczarik plainly show a drop in pedestrian injuries caused by cyclists between 2007 and 2010 — the same period when NYC doubled the […]