Local Data Confirm: NYC Bike-on-Ped Injuries Declined as Cycling Rates Rose

While the number of cyclists heading into Manhattan's central business district has soared since 2007, the number of pedestrians injured in collisions with bicycles in New York City has fallen almost ten percent. Both measures are indexed to 100 for the year 2007.

When Hunter College professors Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski released a report finding that 1,000 pedestrians were injured in collisions with bicycles each year in New York state, Streetsblog noted that the injury trend was downward. Even though bicycling is booming in New York City, fewer New Yorkers seemed to be getting injured each year. The media hysteria over “bike bedlam” looked even more like pure fantasy.

Tuckel and Milczarski’s original report, however, did not provide year-by-year data broken down geographically. We could only see what was happening statewide over time, not the changes in NYC. We could reasonably assume that the NYC injuries were also declining, but we didn’t know for sure.

Now, Tuckel and Milczarski have graciously provided Streetsblog with New York City-specific data broken out by year. Indeed, the number of pedestrians injured in crashes with cyclists fell in New York City by around nine percent between 2007 and 2010. The injury rate fell more quickly outside New York City than inside it.

The graph above compares the change in cycling into the Manhattan central business district — a proxy for overall cycling, if an imperfect one — with the change in pedestrian injuries sustained in collisions with cyclists. The amount of cycling has soared while the injuries have declined.

This should put to rest the notion that efforts to boost cycling in the city somehow jeopardize pedestrian safety. It’s just not anywhere in the data. We won’t hold our breath waiting for the Post or the Daily News to get the memo, though.