I met someone Tuesday night who told me that, in his time as a pedestrian and cyclist in New York City, he's been hit by cars on seven separate occasions. Seven. Seven. (7!). Incredible.
When one gets hit by seven cars in situations wholly independent from one another, it's hard not to wonder whether this man might be doing something wrong. Perhaps he should stop drunkenly meandering down the middle of highways? Perhaps he should stop doing the Dougie in the presence of ice cream trucks?
Seven may seem like a lot, but according to CrashStat.org, a new website launched Wednesday by the advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives, getting mauled by cars on city streets is alarmingly common.
The goal of CrashStat is to pinpoint New York's most hazardous intersections by way of an interactive Google map, which uses multi-colored dots of varying sizes to illustrate where, when and how collisions occured between 1995 and 2009.
Though the map is well-organized, user-friendly and highly customizable, CrashStat's downside is its lack of data, which was culled from state agencies and not entirely comprehensive. According to Gothamist, more accurate data is locked away in the custody of the NYPD, unlikely to be glimpsed by the outside world anytime soon.
Still, the map does offer some insight into which Little Neck intersections are probably best avoided.
Thirteen pedestrians (between one and two each year) were hit at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway. Make that fifteen at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Little Neck Parkway.
A total of two pedestrians lost their lives, both in 2008: One near the intersection of Douglaston Parkway and Northern Boulevard; the other near Morenci Lane and Horace Harding Expressway.
Cyclists have had their share of accidents, but they've been sporadic in both location and time-frame, disbursed over the years everywhere from low-speed streets to major roadways. Thankfully, the area has seen zero fatal cycling accidents.
But the goal of CrashStat isn't to scare people back into their cars. On the contrary, it's to eliminate such accidents altogether, said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White.
“By revealing where and why motor vehicle crashes occur, CrashStat gives all New Yorkers the information they need to demand better enforcement of our traffic laws," he said. "This is critical to changing behavior on our streets."
It's optimistic. But I bet if you asked the guy who's been struck seven times in one city, he'd tell you it's certainly worth a shot.