New York City drivers are ditching sedans for SUVs with deadly results, safe streets advocates charged on Tuesday.
The number of SUVs registered across the five boroughs jumped 21.2 percent from 2016 to 2020 — as the number of sedans dropped 16.9 percent, according to DMV data obtained by Transportation Alternatives.
Over those four years, SUVs grew from around 50 percent of the city’s vehicles to more than 60 percent of the city’s vehicles, the group said.
That growth was accompanied by an increase in SUV-involved collisions, the group said. Compared to the period from 2014 to 2017, from 2018 to the present, 55 percent more cyclists and 47 percent more pedestrians were killed by SUV drivers.
“Our leaders in Albany need to realize that SUVs are a serious public health problem,” said Transportation Alternatives Deputy Director Marco Conner DiAquoi.
New York City under Mayor Bill de Blasio brought traffic and pedestrian fatalities to an all time low, but that progress has stalled and even reversed in recent years.
Fatalities for motorcyclists and motorists nearly doubled in 2020 compared to 2019, according to city statistics.
Last year’s 25 bike deaths, meanwhile, marked the second-deadliest for cyclists since 1999, behind 28 recorded in 2019.
In 2019 then-city Transportation Commissioner, who now serves in President Joe Biden’s administration, blamed SUVs for that year’s spike in cyclist deaths.
“When an SUV has a collision, it tends to be going at a faster speed, harder stopping distance, and it’s a much wavier vehicle and the center of gravity is higher,” Trottenberg said at the time.
“When it hits a pedestrian or cyclists, it’s much [more] likely to do serious or fatal damage.”