October 29, 2019
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and NYPD officials today launched the City’s fourth annual Dusk and Darkness campaign with a citywide “Day of Awareness” to draw attention to the increased risks to pedestrians and cyclists during the fall and winter. The campaign is part of the Vision Zero initiative.
“Fall and winter continue to be the most dangerous times of year for pedestrians and cyclists, but darker days don’t have to be darker times on our streets,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “For the past few years, we’ve seen that the Dusk and Darkness campaign works, and bringing back a proven, effective tool will help us step up our Vison Zero initiative and ensure that New York City streets become even safer.”
“As a cycling commuter, I can attest there is no better time of year to travel by bike than in the fall,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “However, after clocks fall back, the evening hours become especially dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists. People on bikes should of course prepare for the seasonal changes in their evening commute, but this year’s Dusk and Darkness campaign is expanding our messaging to remind drivers about both pedestrians and cyclists – who are also on our roads year-round.”
“Judicious enforcement of traffic laws and regulations always serves as a major and necessary component of any traffic safety campaign,” said Thomas Chan, the NYPD’s Chief of Transportation. “During the Dusk and Darkness initiative, the NYPD will be stepping up its efforts to protect pedestrians and cyclists by taking appropriate action against those violations by motorists that are most likely to result in collisions, such as failure to yield.”
After daylight saving time ends—as it will at 2 a.m. this coming Sunday—crashes involving pedestrians historically have dramatically increased, especially during evening hours. Cyclists are also at increased risk during evening and nighttime hours.
Part of the Vision Zero initiative, the “Dusk and Darkness” campaign launched today at a press conference with DOT officials includes the following elements:
Dusk and Darkness 4.0
At today’s event, officials cited the encouraging fatality statistics from Dusk and Darkness campaigns over the previous two years. In the five years before the campaign began, New York City averaged 63.4 traffic fatalities in the period between November 1 and March 15—many of them in the evening hours. In the first year of Dusk and Darkness, the overall fatality number declined from 67 to 51; in the second year, fatalities declined further to 44.
However, during the past year, pedestrian fatalities during the same period rose to 59. Over 20% of this year’s cyclist fatalities have occurred after sundown.
“Bicycling and walking are healthy and sustainable ways to get around our city,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “With fewer hours of daylight in the fall and winter months, drivers need to slow down and be aware of fellow New Yorkers who are also using the road. The Health Department is committed to reducing traffic fatalities and injuries in New York City, working together with sister agencies to advance road safety for all.”
“As evenings get darker earlier, the Dusk and Darkness campaign offers an important reminder to drivers to be extra cautious when sharing the road with cyclists and pedestrians,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “This campaign and the City’s broader focus on outreach and enforcement efforts will help keep New Yorkers safe during the fall and winter months.”
“With the end of Daylight Saving Time and visibility decreasing in the evenings, trade waste drivers must be extra cautious during their routes and heighten their awareness of pedestrians and cyclists,” said Noah D. Genel, Commissioner and Chair of the New York City Business Integrity Commission. “Safety on the streets must be trade waste companies’ top priority.”
“We remind our 130,000+ licensed drivers that safety is and must always be at the heart of what they do, especially now as we approach the end of Daylight Saving Time and the added risks to cyclists and pedestrians that it brings,” said Acting TLC Commissioner Bill Heinzen. “Having just honored a record high number of drivers with a place on the TLC’s Vision Zero Safety Honor Roll, we are again inspired by the commitment they and their fellow drivers have made to sharing our roads safely.”
“People in Queens and across New York City need to be aware of the potential dangers of driving in the early evening, especially following the end of Daylight Saving Time as we adjust to the earlier onset of darkness,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The Dusk and Darkness 4.0 campaign reminds us that we must all be careful and look out for each other on the roads.”
“When daylight saving time ends on November 3rd, the potential for pedestrian-involved automobile collisions will increase as the evening rush hour will occur after sunset,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “NYC DOT is taking steps to ensure motorists and pedestrians alike are aware of hazards and the consequences of dangerous actions, like speeding and failing to completely stop at stop signs, which are all the more perilous at night. I commend Mayor de Blasio, as well as Commissioner Trottenberg and her team, for taking a proactive approach to keeping New Yorkers safe this winter. I look forward to doing my part to get the information to folks in the 14th Senate District.”
“We all have a part to play in making our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. When daylight savings time ends this weekend, the evening hours have the potential to become increasingly dangerous for everyone traveling around New York City,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “That's why I am pleased to join Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Department of Transportation to raise awareness around the fourth annual Dusk and Darkness campaign. I urge all our fellow New Yorkers to travel safely and stay vigilant as they travel around the city in the evening hours.”
“This year we have seen an increase in pedestrian and cyclists fatalities. As the cooler months lie ahead, we must begin preparing cyclist and pedestrians for the change in daylight times. We must continue working with advocates and our City agencies to ensure drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all take the appropriate precautions,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I am happy to see that the DOT and NYPD will be hosting their annual “Dusk and Darkness” event to ensure that all New Yorkers remain safe during these upcoming months.”
“It cannot be stressed enough that safety is a priority for New Yorkers. As we approach one of the most dangerous times of the year on our streets, it is critical to focus on safety. I am supportive of increased efforts by DOT, the NYPD, and TLC to make VisionZero a reality and for doubling-down on the ‘Dusk and Darkness’ campaign,” said Council Member Keith Powers.
“The recent surge in pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths are very concerning. The Dusk and Darkness campaign as well the other Vision Zero initiatives will go a long way in combatting this trend,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller. “In Southeast Queens, we want to ensure safe streets this season as we look to increase foot traffic around the district, and especially in bustling Downtown Jamaica.”
About Vision Zero: In 2014, New York City became the first City in the United States to implement Vision Zero. Through a combination of enforcement, education and engineering, New York City made dramatic changes that have helped drive down fatalities for five consecutive years, bucking national trends. To maintain progress, since the beginning of 2019, New York City has released a Vision Zero Year 5 Report, as well as a major update to its Pedestrian Safety Action Plans.
For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.