As bicycles become more and more integrated into New York City (with more integration still to come!) one of the biggest issues facing both cyclists and pedestrians is safety. Enter CrashStat, the newest website from the folks at Transportation Alternatives. A simple enough idea, CrashStat overlays reported bicycle and pedestrian accidents from 1995-2009 onto a Google map which you can then explore in all the expected ways and then some.

"For too long, dangerous and lethal drivers have gotten off with minimal or, astonishingly, no charges at all," TA's executive director Paul Steely White said of the new site. "By revealing where and why motor vehicle crashes occur, CrashStat gives all New Yorkers the information they need to demand better enforcement of our traffic laws. This is critical to changing behavior on our streets."

What is interesting about CrashStat is how deep you can dig into the data that TA has collected (which is lacking in some areas, which we'll get to in a sec). Want to sort the data by congressional districts or community boards? No problem. Want to just see a map of crashes that occurred in which senior citizens were involved and the pedestrian had been crossing the street without the light? You can see that map. As long as TA has the data, they'll let you map it.

The problem for the TA is actually getting the data. Even though the NYPD is supposed to now be collecting detailed info on pedestrian and cyclists accidents, they still refuse to share it. Which means that TA has had to cull the majority of its statistics from state agencies. On the plus side, the Daily News last night was finally able to get some data out of the NYPD: In August there were 16,784 accidents in the city, with six motorists killed as well as three vehicular passengers, three bicyclists and three pedestrians. 877 pedestrians were injured and 366 cyclists were hurt in that period.

Just going through the maps, some interesting things emerge. For instance, here are the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in each borough:

  • Manhattan: Park Avenue and East 33rd with 163 crashes;
  • Brooklyn: Utica Avenue and Eastern Parkway with 141 crashes;
  • The Bronx: Webster Avenue and East Fordham Road with 123 crashes;
  • Queens: Union Street and Northern Boulevard with 92 crashes;
  • Staten Island: New Dorp Lane and Hylan Boulevard with 36 crashes.

Meanwhile, the map also brings some heartening information. The closer to the present you look, the safer things appear. There may in fact be more dangerous bike/pedestrian accidents than previously thought, but the addition of bike lanes and cyclist, car and pedestrian education programs seem to be helping. As DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow puts it, "Hidden in these totals is the fact that year to year, safety actually increased at these very locations, with citywide traffic fatalities at their lowest levels in a century."