In Memoriam: The Lives We Lost to Road Violence in 2018 [UPDATED]

Madison Lyden's ghost bike, commemorating where she was killed by a driver in 2018. Photo: David Meyer
Madison Lyden's ghost bike, commemorating where she was killed by a driver in 2018. Photo: David Meyer

As the ball prepares to drop, it looks like 2018 will be the safest year ever on the roads of New York City. As of Dec. 31, 199 people died in vehicle crashes this year, according to unofficial statistics.

That’s the lowest figures since the city began keeping tally in 1910, as the Automobile Age began [PDF]. The total number of traffic deaths is down nearly 12 percent from the 222 deaths in 2017. The 199 deaths include 114 people walking and 11 people biking. The cycling deaths are the lowest since 1996 at least, even as ridership has increased dramatically.

Pedestrian fatalities, meanwhile, increased slightly, from 106 last year to 114 through Dec. 31 this year. All of the cyclists and all of the pedestrians were killed by car, truck or bus drivers.

But in the almost five years since Mayor de Blasio unveiled his multi-agency “Vision Zero” effort, the overall trend is clear: The combination of broad policy reforms like speed cameras and the citywide 25 mph speed limit and targeted interventions like street redesigns and fleet modernization have brought cyclist and pedestrian fatalities to all-time lows.

The de Blasio administration should take credit for hundreds of saved lives. So should the members of Families for Safe Streets, who have spent the last four years campaigning to end the carnage.

Still, reckless drivers continue to wreak havoc on city streets. Far too often, drivers who injure and kill are absolved of responsibility by police and district attorneys.

To honor the dead, even if local prosecutors do not, we present our annual tribute to the people lost this year to violent drivers. Please share your remembrances in the comments section.

Kevin Flores, Jun Sum Yim, Mercedes Dearmas, and Phil O’Reilly
Kevin Flores, Jun Sum Yim, Mercedes Dearmas, and Phil O’Reilly
  • Myriam Nino, 82, Killed Walking in Queens (Post)
  • Jun Sum Yim, 77, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Mercedes Dearmas, 61, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Post)
  • Phil O’Reilly, 71, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Kevin Flores, 13, Killed Biking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Basid Miah, 23, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (News)
  • Toolia Rambarose, 70, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Female, 83, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Sumiah Ali, 27, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Steven Morales, 36, Killed Biking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Troy Williams, 50, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
  • Abigail Blumenstein, 4, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Joshua Lew, 1, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 50, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Elise Hellinger, 58, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Lucille Raphael, 75, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Paper)
  • Willy Dominguez, 27, Killed Walking in the Bronx (AMNY)
  • Dorothy Parker, 65,  Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Paper)
Steve Morales, Basid Miah, Dorothy Parker, Giovanni Ampuero, and Luz Gonzalez.
Steve Morales, Basid Miah, Dorothy Parker, Giovanni Ampuero, and Cellou Diallo.
  • Juan Pacheco, 57, Killed Biking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Carlos Vasquez, 20, Killed Biking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Cellou Diallo, 8, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
  • Leon Clark, 72, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Giovanni Ampuero, 9, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Olympia David-Ocvi, 85, Killed Walking in Manhattan (News)
  • Carlos Gavilanes, 47, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Shevon Bethea, 7, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Aaron Padwee, 45, Killed Biking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Shaena Sinclair, 33, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • David Bloomer, 32, Killed Walking in Staten Island (Advance)
  • Luz Gonzalez, 4, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Madeline Sershen, 17, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Heriberta Ramirez, 42, Killed Walking in Staten Island (Streetsblog)
  • Jose Cardoso, 32, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Robert Craigwell, 26, Killed Walking in Staten Island (Advance)
  • Valerie Razack, 63, Killed Walking in Queens (News)
  • Xellea Samonte, 23, Killed Biking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Razija Dreskovic, 57, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Madison Jane Lyden, 23, Killed Biking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)

Luz Gonzalez

  • Eucario Xelo, 65, Killed Biking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Mitchell Agront, 52, Killed Biking in the Bronx
  • Francisco Avila, 70, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Raymond Bolan, 57, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
  • Filiberto Coalt, 35, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Female, 50, Killed Walking in Queens (Gothamist)
  • Nissen Krakinowski, 90, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 71, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (News 12 Brooklyn)
  • Maureen Meloy, 80, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Nahid Taghinia-Milani, 84, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Post)
  • Elina Sokolov, 45, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Alberto Leal, 37, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Jinsheng Wu, 65, Killed on a Scooter in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Bing Wan, 45, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Tamika Johnson, 39, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 73, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Ruizhen Dong, 69, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Isabel Duarte, 90, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Alvaro Gutierrez, 52, Killed Walking in the Bronx (News)
  • Juana Alland, 78, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Male, 86, Killed Walking in Queens (News)
  • Niklas Ahern, 29, Killed Walking in Queens (Post)
  • Ngan Leung, 90, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Monica Holmes, 81, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Patch)
  • Jorge Segundo, 52, Killed Walking in Queens (Queens Eagle)
  • Zhang Chun, 56, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Albert Poyser, 82, Killed Walking in Queens (QNS)
  • Beatrice Kahn, 89, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Iosif Morgenshteyn, 65, Killed Changing a Tire in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Pedro Jimenez, 63, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (USA Today)
  • Francine LaBarbara, 57, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (CBS New York)
  • MD Rajon, 21, Killed Biking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Yimei Gao, 73, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Yaw Acheampong, 55, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Jong Kim, 64, Killed Walking in Manhattan (Streetsblog)
  • Maria Frasca, 85, Killed Walking in the Bronx (Streetsblog)
  • Gerard Gorsuch, 90, Killed Walking in Staten Island (SI Live)
  • Ebenzer Edwards, 74, Killed Walking in Brooklyn (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed pedestrian, Killed Walking in Queens (Streetsblog)
  • Nabil Hakim, 91, Killed Walking in Staten Island (Streetblog)
  • Joe R.

    Just wondering out loud what are the numbers of indirect deaths caused by the effects of motor vehicle use in this city? Heart disease and cancers combined kill about 30K NYC residents annually. A significant portion can be attributed to environmental pollution. You also have upper respiratory diseases. While I’m glad the numbers of direct deaths are under 200, let’s not lose sight of the fact easily 10 times this many, possibly up to 100 times as many, die by the indirect effects of motor vehicles.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Pollution is also down, probably to all time lows, on a local impact basis. Wood smoke isn’t that healthy either, especially in enclosed areas.

    Factor in a lower level of workforce accidents in today’s industries, the long term impact of sitting and grinding behind a keyboard for eight hours a day excepted, the low murder rate, and (for now) the absence of epidemics the health care industry cannot contain, and you’d have to say NYC is a pretty safe place.

    The good news is that deaths of pedestrians and cyclists are finally being thought of as a real problem. Back in the day, almost every effort to improve motor vehicle safety was focused on those in the motor vehicles.

  • Robert Lancer

    Think your missing people from the end of December

  • Joe R.

    We probably should eventually see the effects of reduced pollution/traffic violence in increased lifespans, if we haven’t already. Have NYC’s numbers still be trending upwards, despite the downward trend nationally?

    That said, it’s also important to remember most of those alive have suffered decades of exposure to pollution at much higher levels than today.

    …the long term impact of sitting and grinding behind a keyboard for eight hours a day excepted…

    In my opinion working 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, is what really has a long-term effect on health. Look at the average lifespans of those born into wealth, versus the working class, for example. Not having to structure your life around a job is easily good for 15 to 20 years of additional life, and even more additional healthy years:

    It’s not just access to health care which matters. It’s also avoiding the stress of having to do something you hate 5 days a week, with barely enough time off to recharge your batteries before having to start all over again.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I believe that continuing to make a contribution of some sort is associated with longer lifespans. The better off are working more and living longer, though the correlation with health could go either way.

  • Joe R.

    Note that “making a contribution”, and plugging away at a 40 hour a week job, aren’t the same thing. If you do anything for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, eventually you’re going to hate doing it, even if you once loved it. People should always be doing something, but the key is being able to do what they want when they want, not being tied to an employer’s schedule. The worst thing is when people retire like my late father did, basically just sitting in front of television all day long. However, I attribute a lot of that type of retirement to decades of employment in jobs which require no skill or no initiative. Eventually the jobs kill your spirit. You’re no longer a self-starter, even if you began that way. Once you no longer have a job, you just idle away the hours doing nothing productive.

    The very wealthy usually keep active, but it’s doing stuff they enjoy doing. A working person doesn’t have that option until they retire. By the time they do, many are mentally and/or physically unable to pursue their interests.

  • walks bikes drives

    I wonder what computing the average mean age of the victims would show? Or a histogram showing decade of age. Simplistic look at seeing what engineering could change. From a quick look, it seems like the average age of victim is senior citizen, 65+.

  • walks bikes drives

    I popped the numbers in quickly, as side from the unknown Male, the mean age was 52yrs and the median age was 57yrs. So half of all pedestrians, etc, killed were over 57. Some thing tells me this does not match the median age of a NYC resident.

  • Joe R.

    From a physiological viewpoint, the age distribution makes sense. Far too often in this city, the only reason a person isn’t a victim of automotive violence is because they’re nimble enough to get out of the way of an approaching vehicle. That ability diminishes with age. So does the ability to judge when oncoming vehicles represent a threat. Same thing with the ability to cross a street during the light cycle. Back before my mother was unable to walk on her own, she couldn’t walk fast enough to cross during the light cycle. I had to judge if things were safe, and start her crossing before the walk signal. Even then she often didn’t make it before cross traffic got the green. In general, if I didn’t physically block the cars and put up my hand, they would have ran her down just to save a few seconds. The elderly who have nobody to walk with them can easily be victims of traffic violence.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Given an aging society, businesses are going to have to find ways to offer flexible schedules and other measures to keep older workers on the job.

    If a job kills your spirit, you just need a different job.

  • Joe R.

    If a job kills your spirit, you just need a different job.

    Like one which is less than 40 hours and 5 days. Back when I did that grind, I really couldn’t have much of a life outside of work. Leave the house at 7AM, get back no earlier than 5PM, often much later, and dead tired. Then one or two days off a week, barely enough to recharge my batteries for the following week. Same routine 52 weeks per year. Even on jobs that offered paid vacation (none of mine did) it was at the employer’s whim. If you’re lucky enough to have 4 or 5 weeks vacation, you can rarely use most of it in one shot. It’s typically little, shitty one week vacations which are good for virtually nothing. Maybe you’re finally feeling almost normal when the week is up, but then you’re back to work.

    A good work-life balance is 10 to 20 hours a week work, preferably on your schedule. Ironically, that’s exactly what they were saying the future would be when we were kids, except all the benefits of increased employee productivity accrued to the business owners, not the employees. I’m still hopeful we’ll see that future eventually when automation means we need to implement a universal guaranteed income. At that point work will be something you do part-time to get extra money, not something you need to do full-time just to survive.

    Here’s a good read on the subject:


269 People Killed in NYC Traffic Crashes Last Year

According to DOT data, 269 people died in traffic crashes on the streets of New York City last year, 11 more than in 2009. While that total shows New York City’s streets to be the safest of any major American city and less deadly than a generation ago, as Mayor Bloomberg said when announcing the […]