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The Forecast Calls for Traffic Safety: City Relaunches "Warm Weather Weekends" Campaign

March 29, 2019

NYPD will strengthen enforcement tomorrow and on warm weekends throughout spring, when data show an increase in speed-related crashes.

The Mayor's Office, along with the NYPD and NYC's Department of Transportation have announced a re-launch of the Vision Zero "Warm Weather Weekends" spring safety campaign. According to crash data, motorists and motorcyclists drive more dangerously on warmer spring weekends. This weekend's weather forecast calls for a high in the 60s.

"Springtime weather is no excuse for dangerous driving that puts New Yorkers at risk," said Mayor de Blasio. "Warm Weather Weekends are targeted enforcement derived from our data-driven Vision Zero campaign that helped make 2018 the safest year ever on our streets. The NYPD will be out in force to make sure everyone is more mindful of road safety, so we can save lives across our city."

Drivers should expect heightened enforcement this weekend, from NYPD Highway Patrol and local precincts, each of which now has its own speed detection equipment. Officials will remind drivers that they should continue to obey the speed limit, turn slowly and yield to pedestrians. They will also be calling on drivers to "Look twice for motorcycles," while reminding motorcyclists — who ride in greater numbers over weekends — to make sure they have the right licensure and registration, avoid risky passing between vehicles, and get practice before riding the open road.

"As the temperature rises and being outdoors becomes more inviting, the NYPD will continue to ensure that drivers watch for the additional pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists who will be on the road, especially when making left turns," said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan. "Drivers need to be mindful of the harm caused by not yielding to these vulnerable road users. Motorcyclists can also prevent serious injuries by obeying the rules, especially our speed limits."

"Through the Warm Weather Weekends campaign, we and our Vision Zero partners are taking preventive action after seeing far too many tragedies accompany the rise in temperatures, especially among drivers and motorcyclists," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "Our message to New Yorkers is simple: we're all excited that spring is here, and we want you to get out there and enjoy it — but if you are driving a car or riding a motorcycle, please do so safely."

Warm Weather Weekends: Officials were originally spurred to action by the events of April 29, 2017: In a year that was the overall safest-ever on New York City streets, that Saturday was the second deadliest day of the entire year. The first warm weekend day at the end of an unusually cool month, April 29th was sunny with a high temperature of 87 degrees. In a number of different serious crashes around New York City that day, many of which involved speeding, 4 New Yorkers lost their lives and 204 were injured.

DOT then conducted a detailed analysis of traffic fatalities and severe injuries from 2007 to 2016, observing the rate of traffic deaths and serious injuries on warmer days in March through June. Comparing crash data to weather records, DOT studied days where temperatures were 60 degrees or higher, and uncovered the following clear correlative trends:

  • The average number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in traffic crashes on weekends starts to rise in March and peaks during June. In April, the weekend KSI rate is 28 percent higher than in January/February.
  • The danger in the spring is most pronounced for motor vehicle occupants and motorcyclists: on warm weather Saturdays and Sundays in April, the KSI rate for drivers and car occupants is 41 percent higher than the winter weekend rate. For motorcyclists, the KSI danger on weekends rises by 88 percent.
  • Data appear to show that higher KSI rates on warmer spring days are limited to Saturdays and Sundays. On weekdays, DOT data show that the average number of KSI annually during April warm weather weekdays is only 4% higher than the January/February winter weekday rate.
  • In response to this data, NYPD and DOT will bring back season-specific efforts to deter reckless behavior to keep all New Yorkers safe.

FOR MOTORCYCLISTS

  • Ensure Proper Licensure and Registration - Motorcyclists must carry a Class M or Class MJ New York State driver's license. The most common license, the Class D passenger vehicle license, is not sufficient to legally operate a motorcycle. Riders also need to verify that their bike is properly registered and insured. Improper documentation can lead to seizure of the motorcycle by the NYPD.
  • Stay off the White Line - Passing between vehicles is risky, especially this time of year when cars are not used to seeing motorcyclists out on the highways. Stay in middle of travel lane, and be predictable when passing.
  • Pass on the Driver's Side - You are much more visible in the driver's side mirror than the passenger's side. Make sure you are seen.
  • Get Practice Before Riding the Open Road - As motorcycling season begins, you should not expect to be at 100%, and should take your time getting on the open road. Take your motorcycle to a parking lot or out-of-the-way street to gradually get your bike under you again. If possible, take a refresher class.
  • Watch the Tires for Turns - The car in front or you may turn unexpectedly. Look to their front tires for sudden turns and keep a safe distance. Expect the unexpected.

FOR DRIVERS

  • Be Mindful of Motorcyclists — Especially on warm weather weekends when the number of bikers on the road increase, car drivers should always check their mirrors, look twice for motorcycles and deliberately use direction signals, giving ample time before making turns.

About Vision Zero

Vision Zero is the de Blasio administration's initiative to use every tool at its disposal to end traffic deaths and injuries on New York City streets. In 2018, New York City experienced its safest year on record with the fifth straight year of fatality declines. Since the program's inaugural year in 2014, when New York City became the first American city to adopt Vision Zero, the city's traffic fatalities have declined more than 30 percent — bucking national fatality trends, which have increased 15 percent over the same period.