Injuries to pedestrians caused by cyclists are something that, anecdotally, we all know must happen somewhat frequently—say, on the Brooklyn Bridge or maybe even, as some claim, on Prospect Park West—especially with the steadily increasing number of daily cyclists in the city. But until now there hasn’t been an especially rigorous study of such collisions; Hunter College profs Peter Tuckel and William Milczarski have just published one such paper (embedded below) based on statewide hospital records, and their findings may surprise you.
Firstly, the number of pedestrians who go to hospital after collisions with cyclists every year in New York State is around 1,000. Tuckel and Milczarski’s study spans 2007 to 2010, in which time there were a total of 4121 out- or in-patients at hospitals in New York state being treated for injuries caused by an encounter with a bicycle.
Of all the reported pedestrians injured by cyclists in the state—so not accounting for the many who presumably walk away from a collision and never report it—about 55 percent occurred in New York City, the study says. Of those, 34.4 percent took place in Brooklyn, although zip copes in East Harlem (10029) and the Lower East Side (10002, which includes deadly Delancey Street, and 10009) had more pedestrian injuries from bike-on-walker collisions than Brooklyn’s most injurious zip codes, South Williamsburg and Bushwick’s 11206, and Greenburg’s 11211.
But amidst all these ominous stats about injuries caused by reckless cyclists is this heartening fact: while the number of bike riders in New York City has steadily increased (by 262 percent since 2000), the number of pedestrians injured by them is steadily decreasing. Statewide the number of pedestrians injured by cyclists has dropped from a high of 1,112 in 2008 to 927 in 2010. Let’s hope the number of cyclists getting injured (or worse) continues to follow a similar trend.