The sheer volume of cars and other vehicles in Bed-Stuy alone is enough to make pedestrians tread carefully when crossing the street.
But who would have thought bicycles could become a menace when taking a casual stroll to the park or corner store?
According to a new study released Monday by professors at Hunter College, more than 500 pedestrians in New York City alone required a trip to the hospital each year after getting struck by a bicycle, with Brooklyn topping the list for the most accidents of the five boroughs and Bedford-Stuyvesant as the neighborhood leading the pack.
The study finds that the zip code in Brooklyn with the highest frequency of patients is 11206 in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The second and third place zip codes in Brooklyn are 11211 and 11220, in the Greenpoint and Sunset Park neighborhoods. Fourth is 11221, again in Bed-Stuy, and fifth is 11212 in Brownsville/East New York.
The study, which collected data over a four-year period, found that approximately 1,000 pedestrians require hospitalization in New York state each year due to bicycle accidents-- a surprisingly higher number, the study’s authors said, because it was believed that about 1,000 pedestrians need hospitalization annually throughout all of the United States.
Also, not surprisingly, the study showed a seasonal pattern to bicycle and pedestrian accidents, with most accidents occurring during the summer months – June, July, and August. The fewest number of accidents occur in the winter months – December, January, and February.
Almost three-fifths of the patients (58 percent) were white; 25 percent were Hispanic; 16.7 percent were black; and 4.1 percent were Asian, the study found.
And across age and gender, there was a similar correlation with the type of victims requiring in-patient and out-patient care (with in-patient being more critical). Patients needing only out-patient service were skewed younger (72.3 percent were under the age of 40, versus 34.5 percent under-40-year-olds requiring in-patient).
Among out-patients in the highest age category, fully 62 percent were female, compared to just 38 percent who were male.
But even before the study's findings, the problem of "rogue cyclists" had not gone unnoticed by the Department of Transportation. This past May, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan launched the “Don’t Be A Jerk” bike safety ad campaign, featuring celebrities Mario Batali, John Leguizamo and Paulina Porizkova on bikes humorously highlighting essential do’s and don’ts for bicyclists when riding New York City streets.
The new ads combine satire and humor to convey the need for bicyclists to follow the rules of the road, including always yielding to pedestrians; riding with traffic, not against it; and riding on the street, not on the sidewalks (unless the rider is age 12 or younger).