Speeding incidents spike in NYC during coronavirus lockdown

You may have figured far fewer cars on the streets would make New York City safer, but in reality, since the lockdown began the city has found speeding has grown as much as 200 percent in some places. Now, officials are reminding drivers that observing the speed limit is a small, simple sacrifice during the coronavirus pandemic.

“When there’s no cars it is a little bit, unfortunately, of human nature to just keep speeding up,” said Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation. “We have made repeated pleas, our hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed enough right now, we don’t need to have crashes and send more people there.”

While the city fought Albany tooth-and-nail to get speed safety cameras, with far fewer NYPD and DoT personnel on-hand, the cameras are now one of the few ways to keep drivers from speeding recklessly.


Experts say driving habits during the pandemic will only strengthen the case for more cameras. 

“I think right now they are life-saving devices,” Trottenberg said. “They are such a key deterrent.”

The pandemic is also giving urban planners a view of how the city can evolve, with many saying the massive amount of space dedicated to vehicles needs to be better shared.

“It would be good if the Mayor would consider just putting out some jersey barriers and giving pedestrians, bicyclists who want to avoid the subway, giving them some more room on some of the major avenues,” said Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute.


According to Gelinas, a reluctance to return to taxis, for-hire cars, and mass transit is something the city must begin planning for now.

“We really need more protected bike lanes, so when the economy does startup people who feel uncomfortable on the subway, at least many of them would have the option of cycling, even a longer work trip across a bridge and feeling safe in doing so and then keeping the subways and buses less crowded as well,” Gelinas said.


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