Bike-on-Ped Update: NYC DOT Confirms Error; NYPD Data a Big Unknown

We have a confirmation from the NYC DOT press office that the stats on bike-on-ped injuries Streetsblog published last week were based on faulty interpretation of data from the state DOT's traffic injury database. From NYC DOT spokesperson Seth Solomonow:

We did a search last week that was wrong. We did have information that we interpreted as pedestrian crashes involving bikes. We've looked at the underlying crash reports, and it's clear that they all involved motor vehicles. We take data seriously and regret this error.

We're aggressively trying to improve the way that bike-on-ped data is collected. The state DOT database does a really good job of measuring motor vehicle crashes. We really want to know about these subsets, and we need to get more detail.

Getting more detail will probably require better data practices on the part of NYPD. In the course of researching our correction, Streetsblog reporter Noah Kazis asked NYPD's public information office how the police report bike-on-ped collisions. In response to two separate queries, police said that department policy is to generate an MV-104, the same form used to report motor vehicle crashes.

But it looks like NYPD doesn't apply this policy at all consistently. The 78th Precinct, in Brooklyn, uses MV-104s to record bike-on-ped injuries. But officers at the 19th in Manhattan and the 76th in Brooklyn both said they use a form called an "aided report." These are generic cards filled out whenever police respond to a call for assistance when no crime is suspected. According to the 19th Precinct, information from aided reports all gets sent to NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza, while the cards stay at the precinct.

Streetsblog will be following up with NYPD and officials in the public health community to see if we can get firmer numbers.