Traffic deaths decline in NYC so far this year, except in the Bronx

A two motorcycle accident left a person dead and two others wounded.
The chaotic aftermath of the double motorcycle and car crash at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 45th Street in Edgemere, Queens, on July 17.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Fewer people died on New York City’s streets so far in 2022 compared to the same time last year, but the Bronx bucked the trend and was the only borough that saw a bump in traffic fatalities. 

There were 113 road deaths citywide in the first six months of the year, a 7% decline over 2021, while the Big Apple’s poorest borough registered a 22% increase, according to an analysis by advocacy groups Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets.

“This is the clear outcome of decades of unequal investment in street redesigns. Every borough deserves safe streets and the Bronx is no exception,” said Monique Williams, a Bronx resident and member of Families for Safe Streets, whose father was killed in a hit and run in 2020.

The Bronx had 28 deaths during through the end of June, up from 23 last year and double the 14 people killed in 2014, when former Mayor Bill de Blasio took office and launched his Vision Zero initiative.

The citywide numbers are a slight improvement compared to the 121 people killed during the first six months of 2021, but that year ended up setting a record for the most traffic deaths since 2014 at 273 people.

Of the 113 people killed on streets during first six months, there were 50 pedestrians; 48 motorists; and 15 people on bikes, e-bikes, or scooters — each down compared to 2021 by 21%, 7%, and 6% respectively.

However, the numbers went up among certain groups. 

The share of New Yorkers aged 18 or younger who died in the streets more than doubled from 5% of total deaths to 11% — and that’s not counting the horrific high-speed crash on Staten Island’s Hylan Boulevard on July 10 that killed three teenagers and critically injured another youngster.

In Manhattan, fatalities spiked among drivers with 10 people in cars killed in the borough, up from two last year, and Brooklyn had a rash of seven fatalities among people on bikes, e-bikes, or scooters, more than three times the amount of last year.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said this year has been one of the safest on record for pedestrians, and blamed reckless drivers for fueling the increases in the northern borough. 

“In the face of a national uptick in traffic violence, we remain steadfast in our commitment to Vision Zero, and that’s why the administration has made historic investments in safer streets,” said Vin Barone in a statement. 

Thirteen people in cars have died as of July 6 in the Bronx, double the average for that timeframe between 2019-2021, according to the DOT rep. 

The agency plans to add 30 miles of new bike lanes to three sections of the borough, such as the Fordham Area Bike Network, along with the new bus priority lanes as part of the MTA’s borough-wide bus network redesign, Barone added.  

“DOT is focused in delivering projects equitably in underserved communities and is making significant investments in the Bronx, where the DOT is planning miles of new dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes to support efficient, sustainable travel options that improve safety for everyone on our streets,” he said.