After years of decline, traffic injuries up slightly in New York City

Longtime residents of New York have been witness to a changing urban landscape over the past decade; it wasn't long ago when there were no painted bike lanes on major avenues. But now, the efficacy of innovative engineering solutions to motor vehicle injury is being tested in The Big Apple, the world's largest real-world safety laboratory.

The data is promising. While traffic injuries and deaths were up slightly last year, and many are still falling victim to negligent drivers, the long term trend seems to be safer roads, sidewalks and bike lanes for New Yorkers.

Just over 4,000 New Yorkers were seriously injured in traffic over last two years

The addition of more dedicated bike lanes has been one of the most visible - and controversial - aspects of New York's street level safety makeover. More subtle changes have included designating more vehicle lanes as turn-only lanes, increasing the distance between corners and parked cars to improve visibility, and narrowing certain streets to reduce traffic in key areas. Pedestrians may also have noticed some changes, with pedestrian islands having been installed at wide avenues to cut the length of crosswalks and pedestrian walk signals at traffic lights having been adjusted to give walkers more time.

These strategies are not without their critics, and some New Yorkers question modifications to the character of some areas; Manhattan streets in particular have been home to some of the most dramatic changes. But, statistics from the New York City Department of Transportation seem to show that the streets are becoming safer with the implementation of the changes.

In 2001, 5,897 people were killed or severely injured in traffic accidents in New York City. By 2012, that number had fallen to 4,203. In fact, the annual serious injury and death total in New York City has fallen year to year in eight out of the last ten years.

The number of New Yorkers killed or seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents was up slightly in 2012 compared to 2011, from 4,044 to 4,203. But, from January to September of 2012, the New York City Department of Transportation recorded 218 fatalities; from January to September of this year, there have been only 209 traffic fatalities, indicating that 2013 could end with fewer roadway deaths and injuries than last year.

If you were harmed by a negligent motorist, talk to a New York City personal injury lawyer

While the number of traffic injuries and deaths in New York City has been on a gradual decline, thousands still suffer the disastrous consequences of a serious crash every year. Engineering solutions are only one part of the equation, and they can never completely eradicate the threat posed by motorists who are not dedicating their full attention to safely operating their vehicles.

If you have been injured on a New York City street, talk to a personal injury attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your injury, and only an experienced attorney can ensure you receive the full payout you deserve.