In Memoriam

Clockwise from top left: Edwin Ajacalon, Hilda Arocho, Adrian Blanc, Hermanda Booker, Peggy Diaz, Anne Laure Decadt, Ronald Burke, Thomas Bradley Jr.
Clockwise from top left: Edwin Ajacalon, Hilda Arocho, Adrian Blanc, Hermanda Booker, Peggy Diaz, Anne Laure Decadt, Ronald Burke, Thomas Bradley Jr.

Four years into the Vision Zero program and halfway through Bill de Blasio’s tenure as mayor, New York City cyclist fatalities are trending in the wrong direction. The 2017 numbers won’t be official for some time, but preliminary data show that cyclist deaths have increased for the second consecutive year.

The long-term implications of this year’s terrible toll are worse still: More people on bikes were killed by NYC motorists in 2017 than in any year since 2007. This should set off alarm bells at City Hall. With the city aspiring to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024, it’s clear that the de Blasio administration must redouble its commitment to safer streets.

Instead, 2018 will begin with an NYPD crackdown on delivery workers who ride electric bikes. The mayor, prompted by a complaint he fielded on a radio call-in show, has no data to support his assertion that e-bike riders pose a serious danger to the public. But de Blasio insists on scapegoating working cyclists while remaining silent when it comes to actual threats. Operators of oversized big rigs, for example, have killed delivery workers and other cyclists this year, including two victims in the last month, without comment from the mayor.

Telling working cyclists whose lives and livelihoods are at risk to get a car is not just tone-deaf, it’s perverting Vision Zero to score political points with bike-hating NIMBYs. Given de Blasio’s appropriation of Vision Zero to stoke anti-bike sentiment, it follows that his NYPD would arrest children for riding bikes while letting motorists who kill child cyclists drive away without as much as a traffic ticket.

Four years into Vision Zero, NYPD continues to reflexively blame traffic violence victims for collisions. The department’s Collision Investigation Squad, which still works only a fraction of all crashes, has not changed its practice of basing investigation reports on the driver’s version of events in cases where the victim is no longer alive.

No fewer than half a dozen times in 2017, police told the press a cyclist caused his or her own death by running a red light, while citing no evidence to back up the claim. NYPD statements are often proven wrong by video or witness testimony, but blaming victims as investigations are “ongoing” remains standard police procedure.

A bright spot in 2017 was DOT’s progress in reducing injuries and fatalities through better street design and innovations like shared spaces. But DOT projects are still subject to the whims of community board members whose windshield perspective is at odds with public safety. De Blasio could free up city resources and accelerate life-saving street improvements by directing DOT to stop vesting community boards with veto power.

De Blasio can rightfully claim credit for reducing traffic deaths during his time in office. But progress is not happening quickly enough. Beyond the data, Vision Zero requires a cultural shift toward humane streets. That will require leadership that de Blasio has to this point failed to provide.

To recommit his administration to Vision Zero, de Blasio has to stop demonizing working cyclists. He has to recognize that handing out parking placards discourages transit use and sets the stage for more crashes. He has to direct NYPD to stop treating people who aren’t in cars with contempt.

In short, de Blasio has to stop governing like an aggrieved outer borough motorist. He could start by reading up on car ownership data for the city he runs.

Here is our accounting of New York City pedestrians and cyclists known to have lost their lives to motorists in 2017. In the comments, please share remembrances of those named here, and the names and stories of victims we missed.

Alyssa Elsman, Dennis Gandarilla, Gabriel Garcia, Victor George
Alyssa Elsman, Dennis Gandarilla, Gabriel Garcia, Victor George
  • Khavir Ahmed, 84, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Edwin Ajacalon, 14, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Kerwon Alfred, 35, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn (Ghost Bikes)
  • Diego Angelini, 47, Killed Walking in Manhattan (NYT)
  • Hilda Arocho, 82, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
  • Jacob Bavdaz, 84, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
  • Darton Besler, 73, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Adrian Blanc, 34, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Henry Boimel, 67, Killed Walking in Queens (DNA)
  • Hermanda Booker, 29, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Thomas Bradley Jr., 52, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Ronald James Burke, 32, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Corbin Carr, 17, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Richardo Chattergoon, 23, Killed Walking in Queens (CBS)
  • Nicholas Cleves, 23, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (NYT)
  • Feliks Dadiomov, 88, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
Dan Hanegby, Kelly Hurley, Michael Joefield, Fern Jones
Dan Hanegby, Kelly Hurley, Michael Joefield, Fern Jones
  • Anne Laure Decadt, 31, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (NYT)
  • Alan William Diaz, 63, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Bklyner)
  • Peggy Diaz, 52, Killed Walking in Staten Island (Streetsblog)
  • Arkadiy Dibin, 29, Killed Walking in Queens (News)
  • Darren Drake, 32, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (NYT)
  • Alyssa Elsman, 18, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Ariel Erlij, 48, Killed Walking in Manhattan (NYT)
  • Robert Falk, 89, Killed Walking in Queens (News)
  • Hernán Ferruchi, 47, Killed Walking in Manhattan (NYT)
  • Yau-Teg Fung, 84, Killed Cycling in Queens (News)
  • Dennis Gandarilla, 49, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
  • Gabriel Garcia, 28, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
  • Victor George, 58, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (News)
  • Jose Gomez, 71, Killed Walking in Queens (News)
  • Juan Gomez, 46, Killed Cycling in the Bronx (Chronicle)
  • Sergio Gutierrez, 45, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
Michael Mamoukakis, Chaim Miller, Daniel Nelson, Rafael Nieves
Michael Mamoukakis, Chaim Miller, Daniel Nelson, Rafael Nieves
  • Donna Hahl, 70, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Dan Hanegby, 36, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Barbara Horn, 80, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Kelly Hurley, 31, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Yan Jindee, 48, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Michael Joefield, 21, Killed Rollerblading in Brooklyn (DNA)
  • Fern Jones, 60, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Thomas Kelly, 47, Killed Walking in Queens (News)
  • Danielle Leathers, 44, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Michael Mamoukakis, 80, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Clifton Martin, 74, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (DNA)
  • Jose Melogarib, 68, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Hernán Mendoza, 47, Killed Walking in Manhattan (NYT)
  • Edouard Menuau, 59, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Chaim Miller, 28, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
6-pease-perkins-neftaly-ramirezrosa
Nancy Pease, Skylar Perkins, Neftaly Ramirez, Rosa Ramirez
  • Josef Mittleman, 67, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Jeremy Morales, 30, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Daniel Nelson, 59, Killed Walking in Staten Island (News)
  • Rafael Nieves, 85, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Jinhe Niu, 67, Killed Walking in Queens (QNS)
  • Alejandro Pagnucco, 47, Killed Walking in Manhattan (NYT)
  • Marlon Palacios, 43, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Margherita Palumbo, 68, Killed Walking in Staten Island (Streetsblog)
  • Nancy Pease, 55, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn (News)
  • Skylar Perkins, 1, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Iosif Plazinskiy, 70, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Hugo Ramirez, 23, Killed Cycling in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Neftaly Ramirez, 27, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Rosa Ramirez, 60, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Joseph Ranieri, 70, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
Gelacio Reyes, Abu Rifat, Frederick Swope, Alejandro Tello
Gelacio Reyes, Abu Rifat, Frederick Swope, Alejandro Tello
  • Gelacio Reyes, 32, Killed Cycling in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Abu Rifat, 24, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Manikam Srymanean, 50, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Christopher Swanson, 71, Killed Walking in Queens (DNA)
  • Frederick Swope, 21, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Gothamist)
  • Alejandro Tello, 18, Killed Skateboarding in Brooklyn (News)
  • Jason Tseng, 80, Killed Walking in Staten Island (Advance)
  • Carmen Velez, 81, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Xin Kang Wang, 74, Killed Cycling in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Henryk Wdowiak, 68, Killed Walking in Queens (DNA)
  • Kayshawn Whitick, 13, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Ping Xie, 81, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Kevin Zeng, 25, Killed Walking in Queens (News)
  • Unnamed Male, 53, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, Jan. 1 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed M, 65, Killed Walking in Queens, Jan. 11 (Streetsblog)
Carmen Velez, Xin Kang Wang, Henryk Wdowiak, Kayshawn Whitick
Carmen Velez, Xin Kang Wang, Henryk Wdowiak, Kayshawn Whitick
  • Unnamed Female, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, Jan. 18 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Female, 90, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, Jan. 19 (News)
  • Unnamed Female, 67, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, Jan. 30 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 83, Killed Walking in Manhattan, Feb. 24 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn, Feb. 27 (Vision Zero View)
  • Unnamed Female, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, Mar. 7 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 87, Killed Walking in Manhattan, Mar. 7 (DNA)
  • Unnamed Female, 81, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, Mar. 16 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 71, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, Apr. 5 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 29, Killed Walking in Manhattan, May 22 (News)
  • Unnamed Male, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, June 19 (News)
  • Unnamed Female, 73, Killed Walking in Queens, July 1 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 87, Killed Walking in Manhattan, July 2 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 81, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn, July 11 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 53, Killed Walking in the Bronx, July 13 (News)
  • Unnamed Male, 83, Killed Walking in Brooklyn, July 16 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 39, Killed Walking in Manhattan, July 26 (DNA)
  • Unnamed Male, 42, Killed Walking in Queens, Aug. 1 (DNA)
  • Unnamed Male, 73, Killed Walking in Manhattan, Aug. 8 (DNA)
  • Unnamed Male, 36, Killed Walking in Queens, Aug. 10 (News)
  • Unnamed Male, 69, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn, Aug. 14 (Bklyner)
  • Unnamed Female, 88, Killed Walking in Manhattan, Aug. 16 (News)
  • Unnamed Male, 60, Killed Walking in the Bronx, Sep. 12 (DNA)
  • Unnamed Female, Killed Walking in Manhattan, Sep. 13 (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 69, Killed Walking in the Bronx, Oct. 24 (News)
  • Unnamed Male, Killed Walking in the Bronx, Nov. 7 (News)
  • Unnamed Male, 30, Killed Cycling in Brooklyn, Dec. 19 (Streetsblog)
  • AMH

    Thanks for this sobering reminder. The mayor needs to get serious about Vision Zero.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Many problems can be dismissed as other people’s problems, by those not concerned with other people. This problem is shared by all, with victims of all different age, income, and cultural backgrounds. You’d think it would be priority one.

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