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Thread: NYC Fail?

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    NYC Fail?

    After a five year reduction in traffic deaths, which perhaps not coincidentally enough corresponded to a noticeable rise in fuel prices, New York City has seen it's first increase in road fatalities since 2007. Not surprisingly, some city officials are considering a rethink of the infrastructure changes recently installed by Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. I find three things of interest here:
    1. Sadik-Khan claims that zombie-not-so-smart phone behavior is involved here.
    2. Sadik-Khan also claims that most of the increase in fatalities is occurring on roadways far removed from the infrastructure changes. However, there has still been a measurable increase in cyclist and pedestrian deaths. Whatever happened to our safety in numbers?
    3. Well, I'll just quote from the article:
    Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a cycling and pedestrian advocacy group, called the new statistics “alarming” and attributed much of the uptick to what he deemed lax police enforcement of traffic laws.

    “Anyone who walks or bikes across a New York City street knows that motorists are getting away with reckless driving, day in, day out,” he said.
    So, is this just an uptick on an overall downward trend, or is there something else going on here?

    By the way, if someone finds a breakdown in the pedestrian/cyclist death figure that separates peds and cyclists, please give it up.

    Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/ny...s-rise.html?hp

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    If more people are cycling or walking, it follows that cyclist and pedestrian deaths will increase as well.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    As well as more folks walking and cycling, thus increasing the numbers of potential victims, driving went down in 2007 due to the economic decline... in fact NHTSA also indicated both a decrease in driving and a lower number of deaths. As the economy recovers, folks are driving more... hence motorist "owning" the roads again.

    I suspect it is as simple as that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    If more people are cycling or walking, it follows that cyclist and pedestrian deaths will increase as well.
    First of all, I doubt if there has been any increase in walking in NYC this year relative to the past five. Secondly, the cheer leaders for Sadik-Khan have touted the "Safety in Numbers" hypothesis that the more cyclists there are, the less likely they are to be mowed down. I believe that up to this year the number of cyclists killed in NYC has not increased even though city officials have documented a substantial increase in the number of cyclists.

    Just to be extreme, if we take the extreme case of "more people walking or cycling", which would be everyone walking and cycling and no cars at all, I think it is clear that NYC would see very few, if any, traffic fatalities. Of course, if we take the other extreme, we could see zero cycling fatalities if no one rode (as is the case in far too many neighborhoods in this country). However, it is a bit difficult to conceive of a way to have zero pedestrians since those folks have to leave their cars to access the buildings they are going to.

    I would suspect that the shape of the curve as we plot deaths of cyclists vs. cyclist numbers would start at the origin, have an increasingly positive slope for some range which would then turn over and become a negative slope until the reached back to near zero again at 100% cyclists. I sure wish some city would be willing to test this; I'd move there in a New-York-minute once they got well into the negative slope side of the curve.

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    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    One year of rise after several years of decline could also just be a fluke. It's rash to read too much into it at this point.

    Also note that most of the additional deaths were motorists, not cyclists or pedestrians.
    Last edited by lostarchitect; 09-26-12 at 01:15 PM. Reason: typo
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    genec genec's Avatar
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    B Carfree... in your thought experiment regarding what would happen if there were no bikes or no cars... consider that if there were no cars, there would also be no car to car crashes that result in deaths. So this would carry further than if there were no bikes.

    Cars are the main hazard out there... consider too that if there were no cars, there would be plenty of room for both cyclists and peds.

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    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    From what I've heard of Janette Sadik-Khan, she's instituted some pretty large changes in how roads are being handled in NYC (I don't live there, so this is all second hand information), and has gained a lot of enemies along the way.

    So it could very well be that these enemies will leap upon any statistics they can find, no matter how cherrypicked or premature they may be, if they can be used to show that her policies have any flaw at all that can be blown up into a case of "they're not working and need to be repealed".

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    From what I've heard of Janette Sadik-Khan, she's instituted some pretty large changes in how roads are being handled in NYC (I don't live there, so this is all second hand information), and has gained a lot of enemies along the way.

    So it could very well be that these enemies will leap upon any statistics they can find, no matter how cherrypicked or premature they may be, if they can be used to show that her policies have any flaw at all that can be blown up into a case of "they're not working and need to be repealed".
    Pretty much what Janette Sadik-Khan has done from the opposite end of the spectrum.

    Without very specific data, the speculation is pointless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Pretty much what Janette Sadik-Khan has done from the opposite end of the spectrum.

    Without very specific data, the speculation is pointless.
    From what I've read, she's consulted Danish and Dutch experts. People who actually know a thing or two about traffic and safety (and bikes). In my book, that's not exactly cherry-picking.

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    Senior Member Essex's Avatar
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    The uptick in fatalities doesn't seem overly disproportionate? The increase in motorist death being statistically larger than cyclist / ped deaths. I will say that there have been some spectacular crashes this year which involved large number of passengers (families) which might add to the higher motorist death count. Also some passengers killed in bus crashes etc.

    That said - I was riding in Central Park / the Bronx today (the UN is in town) and the traffic was murder. Especially in the Bronx where several drivers cut me off on several occasions. It was so dangerous in the Bronx that I decided to head back to the safety of Central Park where there was no vehicular traffic due to either Yom Kippur, or the UN in town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
    From what I've read, she's consulted Danish and Dutch experts. People who actually know a thing or two about traffic and safety (and bikes). In my book, that's not exactly cherry-picking.
    No, it's not cherries at all, it's apples and oranges, as in comparing the two. Things that will work on your side of the pond, such as door zone bike lanes, are failures here simply because our motorists receive almost no training at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
    From what I've read, she's consulted Danish and Dutch experts. People who actually know a thing or two about traffic and safety (and bikes). In my book, that's not exactly cherry-picking.
    He's back with the Danish/Dutch propaganda. Right in line with Janette Sadik-Khan. Maybe she will have to install special cycle lights to back up NYC traffic even more, just the way Hagen likes it.
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    Wow -- amazing linked article in the OP, especially when you read the comments from all the drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Any time I think I live in the big city, I just have to look at New York to realize I live in a small sleepy town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    He's back with the Danish/Dutch propaganda. Right in line with Janette Sadik-Khan. Maybe she will have to install special cycle lights to back up NYC traffic even more, just the way Hagen likes it.
    And you're back with your Hawaiian perspective on how we should do things in New York. Pot and Kettle.
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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    And you're back with your Hawaiian perspective on how we should do things in New York. Pot and Kettle.
    As long as you keep it in NYC, have a ball. But too many want to force it on everyone.
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    Senior Member Essex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
    Wow -- amazing linked article in the OP, especially when you read the comments from all the drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Any time I think I live in the big city, I just have to look at New York to realize I live in a small sleepy town.
    The Big Apple should be on everyone's short list for a visit. There is waaay too much that happens every second in Manhattan. The outer boroughs less so, but they are no cakewalk either. In retrospect I think the city has better law and order than say two, to three decades ago. Back then you could do almost anything you wanted and corruption was off the Richter scale.

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    It appears drivers have gotten even worse and more distracted, not that pedestrian and bicycle traffic improvements in New York City are a problem.

    every study i've seen indicates an improvement in traffic safety along modified street corridors in NYC - lower traffic speeds and safer conditions for every class of user - ped, bicyclists and motorist alike.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    the uptick is probably because the cops have been cracking down on cyclists and ignoring the carnage caused by motorists

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    I'm sorry, was there anything in the data claiming an uptick in the percentage of cyclist and ped deaths (per trip, or similar), rather than simply a raw number uptick, that I missed somewhere?
    ‎"A man may lie to prevent himself from being killed, but although against his will he either lies or is killed, it does not follow that he lies or is killed against his will." - Anselm of Canterbury

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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    He's back with the Danish/Dutch propaganda. Right in line with Janette Sadik-Khan. Maybe she will have to install special cycle lights to back up NYC traffic even more, just the way Hagen likes it.
    May I advice you to read a little about what dutch traffic planning is really about (you know, like, bringing down the traffic fatality rate from American numbers to a third of it today), or perhaps even visit the Netherlands, OR perhaps both?

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    No, it's not cherries at all, it's apples and oranges, as in comparing the two. Things that will work on your side of the pond, such as door zone bike lanes, are failures here simply because our motorists receive almost no training at all.
    There are, in fact, very, very few of the Danish door zone bike lanes that are on "the outside" of the parked cars. They're still a hazard on the inside, though not potentially fatal in remotely the way the outside ones can be. But of course still not very good practice. The Dutch, of course, don't have them at all. The videos I've seen from the new bike lanes in New York seem to show them to be based on the Dutch model.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    As long as you keep it in NYC, have a ball. But too many want to force it on everyone.

    You have a funny idea of what "force" is.
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    another cat...FAB! stevesurf's Avatar
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    It's all about volume; I parked two days ago by the 9th Av greenway for a quick ride on the west side path. The amount of riders on both greenway and west side path has seemed to increase after rush hour, which indicates there's more folks like store owners and employees riding. I was in downtown Brooklyn for a few hours Monday late afternoon and saw three shop owners pull out their bike and skoot home.

    And a word about those [useful] cycle lights at intersections: the real traffic backups come from arbitrary check points and poorly manned road construction. I know, yesterday there was a 20 block backup on the west side from lane reduction, and NYPD had it down to one lane, then another 20 blocks on the BQE with no one at the roadwork site.

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    You have a funny idea of what "force" is.
    NYPD seems to be pretty good about forcing cyclist into bike lanes. Maybe it is you that has a funny idea of what force is not.

    Maybe you have also missed how the Federal government has forced things upon states and cities if a state or city would like to get back some of the tax money that their citizens were forced to give the federal government.
    Last edited by CB HI; 09-27-12 at 08:59 PM.
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    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    NYPD seems to be pretty good about forcing cyclist into bike lanes. Maybe it is you that has a funny idea of what force is not.

    Maybe you have also missed how the Federal government has forced things upon states and cities if a state or city would like to get back some of the tax money that their citizens were forced to give the federal government.
    I have never been "forced" into a bike lane. I believe there is a law that says you must use a bike lane when it's available, unless it's obstructed or you're making a turn, etc. I have no issue with that. You are aware that laws and codes are created by elected officials and their appointees, yes? I don't consider that being "forced." If you don't like what your elected officials are doing, vote them out.

    I'm not even going to get into the Federal government "forcing" states to actually follow the law by witholding funds
    Last edited by unterhausen; 09-29-12 at 05:48 AM. Reason: removed some politics
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