Although traffic fatalities decreased for pedestrians, drivers and their passengers in 2007, last year saw an uptick in motorcycle and bicycle deaths. The numbers announced yesterday by the mayor at a press conference in Brighton Beach add up, overall, to the lowest number of traffic deaths since the city began keeping track almost a century ago.

Chart via Streetsblog.

As Streetsblog notes, the number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries is unknown. Last year the DOT announced a comprehensive study of pedestrian injuries and deaths, which was supposed be completed by the end of 2007. Good studies take time? And the mayor’s announcement also glossed over the fact that those responsible for cyclist fatalities rarely incur more than a summons.

Some attribute last year’s 5 extra cyclist fatalities – which is only 1 higher than 2005 – to a steady increase in cyclists (over 75% since 2000) as the city becomes more bike-friendly. By 2009, the DOT promises 200 additional miles of “new on-street bicycle facilities (paths, lanes and routes).” That also includes the bike boxes you may have noticed at some intersections.

For pedestrians, whose average deaths dropped to one every two-and-a-half days, Bloomberg announced the “Safe Routes for Seniors” program, intended to lessen the disproportionately high percentage of senior citizens traffic fatalities. A pilot program in Brighton Beach has retimed the lights and pedestrian signals, improved pedestrian islands and moved stop bars further away from crosswalks, among other changes, which are now planned in select neighborhoods around town.

85-year-old Brighton Beach resident Anita Fruchtman told the Post: “Everyone is very frightened crossing the street. There have been many accidents. I don't know why.” How would you explain it to Ms. Fruchtman?