When New York Mayor Bill de Blasio came to office two years ago, he pledged to eliminate all traffic fatalities in the city within 10 years. His plan for doing so, known as Vision Zero, relies on a familiar arsenal of traffic “safety” tools designed to make driving as onerous as possible. These include dropping the default speed limit to 25 mph, more ticket cameras, more bike lanes and more traffic enforcement.
No place has been hit harder than Staten Island. With the advent of Vision Zero, police have issued twice as many speeding tickets, and the island is now blanketed in speed cameras. Yet, in 2015, the number of traffic fatalities doubled versus 2014.
A key tenet of Vision Zero is that road users shouldn’t be held responsible for their own safety. Vision Zero supporters wrongly believe that ticket cameras, low speed limits, etc. will keep everyone safe. This thinking gives rise to the notion that pedestrians and cyclists can never be at fault in an accident—a theory that advocates for those groups actively promote.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, according to a NYC Department of Transportation study, pedestrians have at least some culpability in nearly half of the accidents in which there are pedestrian fatalities. Another key tenet of Vision Zero is that no road user should die or suffer serious injury in an accident. We agree, but encouraging certain road users to give up responsibility for their own safety makes everyone less safe, not more.
The vast majority of motorists drive responsibly and don’t go out of their way to endanger anyone. Traffic accidents will always occur, and we need to work toward solutions that balance the needs of all road users while preserving our cherished driving freedoms.
To that end, we encourage all New York members to get involved with the issues. Reach out to your localcity council members and tell them you’re tired of the unrealistically low 25 mph speed limit coupled with speed cameras and overbearing enforcement. Also, make your voice heard by joining these Facebook groups and signing these petitions: