Residents all throughout New York City often find themselves on foot amidst a sea of cars, trucks and other vehicles. In addition, more and more people are finding that riding a bike can offer them a great alternative means of transportation on congested city streets. Unfortunately, both pedestrians and bicyclists seem to be facing an increased risk of being hit by a driver in a motor vehicle, despite the Vision Zero program that was launched more than five years ago.
The New York Post recently reported that the Vision Zero program was created with the intention of eliminating all vehicular fatalities within the city. For the first few years, it seemed that efforts were paying off. Unfortunately, last year saw a significant slip backwards, especially for bike riders and foot traffic. In 2019 alone, 43 cyclists were killed by some type of vehicle in New York City. It has been at least 20 years since the city has experienced this many bicyclist deaths on area streets in a single calendar year.
In response to the tragic trend, the New York Police Department has announced that it will create a special unit within its transportation bureau. This unit will be comprised of approximately 3,000 police officers. Their mission will be to increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrians at locations that have been identified as especially dangerous for these people.
The unit’s work may include a crackdown on drivers who exceed the speed limit, fail to obey traffic signal devices or signs or who may be driving under the influence of alcohol.