Recent years have seen notable improvements in traveler safety throughout New York City. Unfortunately, 2019 broke that encouraging trend.

According to a report from the New York Times, NYC saw an overall increase in traffic fatalities in 2019. Total deaths jumped to 219 last year, up from 203 the year prior. That overall figure includes a rise in deadly accidents among:

  • Vehicle occupants: 44 fatalities
  • Bicyclists: 28 fatalities (the highest number in two decades)
  • Pedestrians: 122 fatalities

One year does not make a trend. However, the sudden uptick – particularly among bikers – is troubling. What might be behind it?

Possible reasons for the increase in fatalities

The New York Times report cites a few potential factors in the sudden rise in traffic fatalities last year.

For one, cycling is much more popular now than just a decade ago, with nearly twice as many people pedaling on the roads in recent years compared to 2010. In addition, there are many examples of obstructions in bike lanes that force cyclists out into less safe areas.

The report also cites an increase in truck traffic due to our rising reliance on delivery services. Low gas prices may also play a role, as cheap fuel encourages people to drive large vehicles such as SUVs, which can do more damage when involved in an accident.

But the most likely culprit? Reckless driving, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told the paper. She said cases of speeding, failing to yield and driving without a license were quite prevalent last year.

Compensation for injuries

Traffic crashes can leave victims and loved ones to cope with devastating consequences. That can include serious injuries with long-term health impacts. Motorists, cyclists or pedestrians hurt by the actions of a negligent driver can consider seeking compensation to help pay for things such as medical bills and property damage. There may even be an opportunity to pursue additional compensation.

Hopefully, however, there will be far fewer individuals that need this type of help in 2020.